Phil Lynott calmly explaining on breakfast TV that using heroin can be "very enjoyable" makes for heartbreaking viewing

Phil Lynott on Good Morning Britain, October 13, 1984
(Image credit: The Lizzyman YouTube / Good Morning Britain)

On October 13, 1984, former Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott appeared as a guest on ITV's breakfast show Good Morning Britain.

Having stayed up all night following a gig by his new band, Grand Slam, in Great Yarmouth, Lynott was, by his own admission, a little 'delicate', as his biographer Graeme Thompson later noted, when he joined hosts Anne Diamond and Mike Morris in the London studio.

But the presenters, and everyone else expecting to see the familiar Lynott cheek, charm and sparkle over their snap, crackle and pop cereals before 8am, presumably weren't expecting to hear the then 35-year-old Dubliner open up with such commendable honesty about the appeal, as well as the dangers, of using heroin. 

The conversation, part of a group discussion on drug use, was initiated by Morris asking Lynott about his fight against addiction. 

"First of all, I don't particularly think I was an addict, as such," Lynott told Morris. "I messed around with it enough, and I know enough addicts. Second of all, I don't think the battle is over, the battle never actually ends, with the drug."

"The frightening thing about heroin is that... and again, without trying to glamourise the drug at all... is that it's very enjoyable to take," Lynott continued. "It cuts off reality. If you've got a lot of problems, and you wanna just... I mean, it'd be so easy for me to just jump up on television and say, Hey, this is the pits, don't do it! The thing that's never put across on television very well is how enjoyable it can be."

As fellow guests looked on wordlessly Lynott continued.

"But after you go through that initial phase... it becomes then you become dependent on the drug. Now, I never got to the stage where I became so addicted that my body craved, like, physically for it, but mentally... that battle will continue for the rest of my life."

The clip was show again on Good Morning Britain on January 6, 1986, two days after Lynott's death from pneumonia and heart failure due to septicaemia developed due to his addiction to heroin.

The tribute can be viewed on this YouTube clip uploaded by user Thelizzyman: the first section of the clip features an interview Mike Morris conducted with Meat Loaf and Lynott in 1984, the section where Lynott speaks about his addiction comes from the January '86 tribute, and begins around the 6 minute 20 seconds mark.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.