1977 in the world of Thin Lizzy was all about ‘Dancin’ In The Moonlight’ and spreading their ‘Bad Reputation’ around the world. As the Irish rock heroes climbed the UK charts with that first single (subtitled ‘It’s Caught Me In Its Spotlight’), the band’s eighth studio LP made its American chart debut — before it was even on the UK bestsellers — on September 24, 1977.
Lizzy were still playing catchup in the States after the unfortunate events of 1976 when, as they were making great headway with the ‘Jailbreak’ album and tour, Phil Lynott contracted hepatitis. They had to cancel another tour supporting Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow that would have helped to raise their profile even further.
So while ‘Jailbreak’ reached the US top 20, the ‘Johnny The Fox’ set of a few months later only made No. 52. Lizzy were on tour in Europe as ‘Bad Reputation’ emerged, playing at the Reading Festival at the end of August ahead of a huge, 27-date UK tour in November and December.
The recording of the album was marred by the frequent absence of guitarist Brian Robertson. His credits on just three tracks would prove to be his last studio appearances with the band, who appeared on the cover in the three-piece of Lynott, Scott Gorham and Brian Downey.
Nevertheless, ‘Bad Reputation’ reached No. 4 in the UK and swiftly went gold, and across the Atlantic, it matched the 11-week chart run of ‘Johnny The Fox’ and at least returned Lizzy to the top 40 of the album chart, at No. 39. As a reminder of their earlier American fortunes, ‘Jailbreak’ was then certified gold by the RIAA.