Ripple Reads: Eric Bell - Remembering: The Autobiography. Before, During And After Thin Lizzy

An often ignored fact is that Eric Bell is the founder of Thin Lizzy, the legendary Irish powerhouse. When mentioned he is listed as co-founder, fair enough I guess, but he did bring the band together and he came up with the band name. He is also oftentimes severely overlooked in the history of Thin Lizzy, something which is more and more rectified these days, thankfully. But I believe since his tenure with the band, three studio albums, failed to garner the sales it was hoped for, despite the mega-hit single 'Whiskey In The Jar', and his split with Thin Lizzy was acrimonious to say the least, Eric was made the scapegoat and that's why his name rarely gets the recognition it deserves. Give him credit because he is a brilliant guitar player.


'Remembering...' is 254 pages full of stories from when he was born on September 3rd 1947 all the way up to 2019 and beyond. He doesn't hold back on anything, nor is he trying to hide behind a rock. No, he tells it all, the good and the bad. In the first part of the book Eric reminisce about his childhood years and what it was like growing up in Belfast in the late 40s and through the 50s. Harbouring dreams of becoming a vet, dreams that were squashed the moment Eric heard music in the shape of The Shadows, The Beatles and Rolling Stones. From now on music was all he cared about, especially the blues-infused rock the Stones brought appealed strongly with the fledgling guitarist. As the years rolled on Eric worked hard on being a professional musician, in Scotland, England and back home in Northern Ireland when he was handpicked by Van Morrison, Belfast's famous son, to play guitar in Them Again, the continuation of Van's previous band, Them. However, this incarnation was shortlived, so Eric moved again, this time south to Dublin and the burgeoning and well-paid showband scene by joining The Dreams.


In the second part Eric digs deep into his time with Thin Lizzy, all the way from their formation up to his untimely departure from the band. Countless stories are told from the early struggling days trying to, and succeeding in creating a name for themselves on home turf. Just as much is told about switching location by moving to London, England, looking to further their career. As is known fame did come Thin Lizzy's way but at a cost for Bell. His personal life as well as his professional career deteriorated rapidly which all erupted during that disastrous homecoming gig in Belfast.

The third part of the book was basically a blank canvas for me as Eric's life after Thin Lizzy was rather unknown to yours truly. So the stories told from this era are very interesting and jaw-dropping to say the least. Read 'Remembering...' and you know what I mean. His visits to Dubai, Ukraine and Russia with his own band are especially entertaining and revealing! As is his recollection of the time spent with Noel Redding Band and Dick Heckstall-Smith's Mainsqueeze, a band who ended up becoming Bo Diddley's touring band for a while. On a personal note it was fun to read about a Philip Lynott/Thin Lizzy tribute show in Malmö, Sweden, he performed at with Brian Downey which I attended as well as a Swedish club tour he did in the early 90s.


It was great reading about Eric's life and have a lot of blanks filled out finally. He's made some bad decisions in life, who hasn't, but he is still soldiering on not giving up. That's very evident as he lays his life out for anyone to read and dissect.


 - Swedebeast