Constable is to publish the first biography of Thin Lizzy’s lead singer Phil Lynott written with the approval of his estate.
Publishing director Andreas Campomar bought world rights to Cowboy Song from Matthew Hamilton at Aitken Alexander Associates.
Lynott was the lead singer and principal songwriter in Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, who sold more than 15m records worldwide.
At 36 Lynott died from health issues relating to severe drug and alcohol abuse.
Constable said: “On one level Lynott’s story is the ultimate tale of rock excess. It involves epic scales of violence, alcohol, women and hard drugs. But Lynott’s talents made him much more than a mere rock cartoon. Cowboy Song will explore Lynott’s extraordinary cultural and personal context. He was a black child with an unmarried mother raised in 1950s’ Catholic Ireland. His music connects Ireland’s folk heritage and poetic romanticism with hard rock, heavy metal, punk, the ballad tradition, folk-rock and even the New Romantic movement.”
The book will be written by Graeme Thomson, who will have “uninhibited access to all the main players in the Lynott story for the first time”, as well as to personal effects, private letters and direct insights into the family’s complicated history, and to studio vaults to hear rarities and previously unreleased recordings from the Thin Lizzy years, as well as solo recordings and home demos.
Campomar said: “January 2016 will mark the 30th anniversary of Lynott’s death; an ideal opportunity for the life and music of Ireland’s first rock star to be given the serious, in-depth treatment it has never before had. Graeme Thomson is the perfect writer to tell this fascinating story.”
Image by Helge Øverås
Thomson said: “Philip Lynott packed a huge amount of living into his 36 years. As well as being the first bona fide Irish rock star, and still the most charismatic, he was an inimitable singer and a deeply soulful songwriter. He was also a poet, icon and wildman; a father, husband and son; and a fascinating blend of cultural influences. Approaching the 30th anniversary of his death, I’m excited to be writing the definitive account of his extraordinary life and music for Constable, and delighted that, for the first time, such a book has the full support of the Lynott Estate.”
Thomson has previously written books about Kate Bush and George Harrison among others.
Cowboy Song will be released in January 2016.