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If Thin Lizzy got a bit too grand and florid on Johnny the Fox, they quickly corrected themselves on its 1978 follow-up, Bad Reputation. Teaming up with the legendary producer Tony Visconti, Thin Lizzy managed to pull of a nifty trick of sounding leaner, tougher than they did on Johnny, yet they also had a broader sonic palette. Much of this is due, of course, to Visconti, who always had a flair for subtle dramatics that never called attention to themselves and he puts this to use in dramatic effect here, to the extent that Lizzy sounds stripped down to their bare bones, even when they have horns pushing them forward on “Dancing in the Moonlight” or when overdubbed vocals pile up on the title track. Of course, they were stripped down to a trio on this record, lacking guitarist Brian Robertson, but Scott Gorham’s double duty makes his absence unnoticeable. Plus, this is pure visceral rock & roll, the hardest and heaviest that Thin Lizzy ever made, living up to the promise of the title track. And, as always, a lot of this has to do with Phil Lynott’s writing, which is in top form whether he’s romanticizing “Soldiers of Fortune” or heading down the “Opium Trail.” It adds up to an album that rivals Jailbreak as their best studio album.

-Stephen Thomas Erlewine,

Thin Lizzy-BAD REPUTATION (1977)



  1. Came out in 1977 not 1978.

  2. I disagree and like their first three albums *much* more than the rest. Just heard them for the first time in my life! Cannot believe how much better the songwriting and how much more interesting and diverse the music was. Thank you anyway as you inspired me to listen to their early albums.

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