Thin Lizzy

L to R: Brian Downey, Brian Robertson, Phil Lynott and Scott Gorham


Philip Lynott - Bass/Vocals

Scott Gorham - Guitars

Brian Robertson -Guitars

Brian Downey - Drums

On 8th October 1977 their album 'Bad Reputation' reached No 4 in the UK Album charts

and on the 29th October 1977 it reached No 39 in the US.

The following are articles that placed Philip Lynott with Col. Callan

The Album 'Bad Reputation' carried a track called 'Soldier of Fortune' Here Phil answeres how it came about

(Excerpt from an article that appeared in Circus Magazine, September 29, 1977) 

"Lyrically Lynott has sharpened his sensibilities, spinning diverse tales this time as varied as "Soldiers of Fortune" and the American depression. Lynott dropped Johnny. While looking for new antiheroes to immortalize, Lynott heard about James Callender, an Englishman who last year was thrown out of the British Army in Ireland and died while fighting as a mercenary in Angola. The displaced soldier's tale became the inspiration for the opening track. "I was trying to write a story that was anti-mercenary, but as I wrote it, I began to find that it was very hard to put mercenaries down," Lynott explains. "If the cause is right, mercenaries are fairly cool---like those guys that zoom into Mexico and pull out them guys that are in jail for dope and takes them back to the States---they're fairly cool."


 (Excerpt from Sounds, August 27, 1977)

(Q:) "How about the album opener 'Soldier of Fortune'?"

"That came about through mercenaries. This really freaked me, I only found out after I had written the song, but about two years ago I got into a fight at Dingwalls...nearly got battered. We got drunk,  me and Frank Murray and Ted Carroll, who was our manager at the time, and we drunk a bottle and a half of Southern Comfort, and I got into a fight, now one of the bouncers was Callan."

"Now Callan was also in the British Army in Ireland and the reason he got thrown out of the British Army was that he was caught robbing a bank in Ireland and he buried the money, which goes on over there but you never read too much about it. then he goes and becomes a mercenary and then he goes and gets himself killed. I didn't know at the time but Frank told me and it really freaked me."

"So, Anyway, I started off writing the song to put down mercenaries, saying how disgusting it was going off and becoming a killer, then as I started to write the lyrics I began to realize that everybody has a little bit of mercenary blood in them..."


(Excerpts from Melody Maker, July 18, 1977)

"In structure, Soldier of Fortune' resembles the Chieftain's 'Battle of Aughrim' , moving from peaceful mellow refrains into the marching battle sequence. It is most definitely one of the truest refelections of Lynott's Irish heritage,  meatier than either 'Emerald' or 'Massacre'  , both of which were also swamped in Celtic influence."

"...'Soldier of Fortune' will attract most attention for it's lyrics. Though Lynott insists the lyrical content is more international than anything else. It is undoubtedly an oblique statement on the Irish situation. He mentions the title of the Irish national anthem , and he seems to be debating the rights and wrongs in the song of the war in Ireland, saying on one hand that it's necessary, and on the other that there must be another way to resolve it."

"The song, indeed was inspired by the Anglonian mercenary, Costas Georgiou, better known as "Colonel Callan", who had served time with the British Army in Northern Ireland."

" 'These are the lyrics I had for it originally' - and  Phil Lynott goes into this lengthy glorification of his homeland. the song was to be called 'Ireland' until Lynott was talked into changing the lyrics by Gorham and Downey, who thought it was a bit corny; anyway, he had covered Ireland enough in 'Dublin' and 'Eire'." 

From Allan Faulkner