Jailbreak (album)

Studio album by Thin Lizzy
Released 26 March 1976
Recorded December 1975 – January 1976, Ramport Studios, London
Genre Hard rock
Length 35:52
Label Vertigo (UK)
Mercury (USA)
Producer John Alcock
Thin Lizzy chronology
Johnny the Fox

Jailbreak is the sixth studio album by Irish hard rock band Thin Lizzy, released in 1976. This album proved to be the band's commercial breakthrough in the US. The singles include "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back in Town", the latter being Thin Lizzy's biggest hit.


Choice of singles

Initially, the song "Running Back" was chosen to be a single ahead of "The Boys Are Back in Town", the latter being seen as possibly too aggressive for some radio stations to play. Frontman and songwriter Phil Lynott and producer John Alcock decided to employ session musicians to add more commercial elements to some of the tracks to try to produce a hit single, and Tim Hinkley was brought in to add keyboard parts to "Running Back".[1] Guitarist Brian Robertson was against the idea, as he liked the song as it had originally been arranged, in a blues format with his own additions of piano and bottleneck guitar. He later said, "I took enormous offence to [the changes]. I couldn't understand why they'd pay this guy a fortune just for playing what he did. Listen to it and tell me it's not bollocks."[1] Robertson did not play on the finished version of the song and Hinkley is not credited on the album sleeve. Lynott said at the time that "Running Back" was "very much influenced by Van Morrison. I really like that song."[1] Thirty-five years later, Robertson recorded his own versions of the song on his 2011 album Diamonds and Dirt.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars [2]
Robert Christgau (B-) [3]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars [4]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described Jailbreak as a "truly exceptional album", with "a dimension of richness that sustains, but there's such kinetic energy to the band that it still sounds immediate no matter how many times it's played". Highlighting Lynott's songs as "lovingly florid... crammed with specifics and overflowing with life", he claimed that Gorham and Robertson's guitar work is "intertwined, dual-lead guitar interplay that was one of the most distinctive sounds of '70s rock".[2] A reviewer for Sputnikmusic took the view that nearly every song on the album is "a pure, hard rocker with little to no flaws", picking out the "killer groove" of "Angel from the Coast", the "infamous" "The Boys Are Back in Town" and the "gritty" title track. He also claimed that "Cowboy Song" is "arguably one of the best songs Thin Lizzy ever produced".[4]

Conversely, Robert Christgau likened the album's songs to Bruce Springsteen cast-offs, with Lynott's lyrical ideas as "boring", and Gorham's guitar lines as "second-hand".[3]

Track listing

All songs written by Phil Lynott except where noted.

Side one

  1. "Jailbreak" – 4:01
  2. "Angel from the Coast" (Lynott, Brian Robertson) – 3:03
  3. "Running Back" – 3:13
  4. "Romeo and the Lonely Girl" – 3:55
  5. "Warriors" (Lynott, Scott Gorham) – 4:09

Side two

  1. "The Boys Are Back in Town" – 4:27
  2. "Fight or Fall" – 3:45
  3. "Cowboy Song" (Lynott, Brian Downey) – 5:16
  4. "Emerald" (Gorham, Downey, Robertson, Lynott) – 4:03

On the 1996 Mercury CD reissue, "Angel from the Coast" and "Running Back" are listed as the second track with only one running time, making it appear to be a single song called "Angel from the Coast Running Back", and there is no third track listed. However, all the songs are sequenced as on the original LP release.


  • "The Boys are Back in Town" / "Emerald" - 17 April 1976
Some countries, including the USA and Canada, featured "Jailbreak" on the B-side.
  • "Jailbreak" / "Running Back" - 30 July 1976
  • "Cowboy Song" / "Angel from the Coast" (Canada and the USA only)

Remastered edition

On 24 January 2011, a new remastered and expanded of Jailbreak was released. This new edition is a 2CD set, with the original album on disc 1, and bonus material on disc 2.

However, the track-listing on the back cover is incorrect, listing only 10 songs when the actual CD contains 11 tracks. The songs are also not in the correct order. The correct tracklisting is listed below.

It should be noted that only the bonus material on disc 2 has been remastered in 2010 (despite what it says on the back of the CD booklet). disc 1 uses the same remaster as the 1996 edition. New remasters were made, but scrapped at the last minute before the release, for reasons unknown.[citation needed]

Disc Two

  1. "The Boys Are Back in Town" (Remixed version)
  2. "Jailbreak" (Remixed version)
  3. "The Boys Are Back in Town" (Alternate vocal - remixed version)
  4. "Emerald (Remixed version)
  5. "Jailbreak" (BBC Session 12/02/1976)
  6. "Emerald" (BBC Session 12/02/1976)
  7. "Cowboy Song" (BBC Session 12/02/1976)
  8. "Warriors" (BBC Session 12/02/1976)
  9. "Fight or Fall" (Extended version – rough mix)
  10. "Blues Boy"
  11. "Derby Blues"

Original vinyl release

On the original vinyl release of the album, the back cover included a short story, this is also reprinted inside the new deluxe edition.


While touring to promote the album, in the United States, Phil Lynott was stricken with hepatitis. Finally, the tour management decided to cancel the remaining tour dates allowing Lynott time to convalesce.



  1. ^ a b c Alan Byrne, "Thin Lizzy: Soldiers of Fortune", Firefly, 2004
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Jailbreak review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r20002/review. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Jailbreak review". Robert Christgau.com. http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=thin+lizzy. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  4. ^ a b "Jailbreak review". Sputnikmusic.com. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/4221/Thin-Lizzy-Jailbreak/. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 

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