Bad Reputation

Album: Bad Reputation (1977)

Songfacts®:

  • Bad Reputation was recorded in Toronto between May and June of 1977 and released September 2 the same year. The album was produced by Tony Visconti, and the title track, co-written by band leader Phil Lynott, co-founder member Brian Downey and Californian import Scott Gorham, runs to a little more than three minutes, but as somebody once said in an entirely different context: length isn't everything. Just as Lynott crammed more into his thirty-six years than most men who lived to twice his age, so does this track with some blistering guitar.
  • Who has the bad reputation? Not Phil in this case, the song is addressed to some unnamed wide boy. The man in the mirror perhaps?
  • Surprisingly, "Bad Reputation" was not included on the Live And Dangerous album, which is rated by many rock critics as one of the best live rock albums of all time. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3
  • Speaking in a 2013 interview, Scott Gorham told us the story of the song: "Well, I had the riff down. Phil came up and he says, 'We need to do an off-time thing with this.' He started to work with Brian Downey on that, and that's when they came up with this strange timing that you don't usually associate with Thin Lizzy. I listened to that and went, 'Man, that is so fu--ing cool, it's unbelievable,' and I jumped in on it. Then it kind of developed itself from there."

    "'Bad Reputation' was one of those songs that came together really quickly," he added. "As soon as we had that off-timing tag line come in, everything just fell into place, all the harmony guitar work and all that, the lead guitar thing. Phil's idea from it, from the riff itself, he just thought, you know, something along the lines of, 'Man, this could give us a really bad reputation. That's it. That's what we're going to call this song.' And he started writing this song called 'Bad Reputation.'"

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