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.'"