A secret horde of 700 unheard Thin Lizzy songs recorded before frontman Phil Lynott's death has been unearthed - and record company bosses are planning to release them as a CD box set.

Lynott handed a stash of more than 150 tapes, containing unreleased tracks and alternate studio takes, to an unnamed pal before his death from pneumonia and heart failure at the age of 36 in 1986.

News of the trove, which is said to contain around 700 songs recorded between 1971 and 1981, emerged earlier this month and now Lynott's former Thin Lizzy bandmates and bosses at Universal Music are sifting through the tapes to prepare a release of the best material.

Guitarist Scott Gorham tells Mojo magazine, "I've got bags of CDs here. The bulk of what I've heard so far is by the fab four: Phil, myself, (drummer) Brian Downey, and (guitarist) Brian Robertson... (Listening to them) I was reminded how much Phil loved dragging that lyric book around with him, and I think this box set will show people just how prolific he was."
"Our tactic was always to nail as much as we could on any one session, but there's lots of fabulous stuff here that I had forgotten about... Rest assured that we're only going to put out the coolest stuff. Phil doesn't need my protection, I know, but I always want his music to be presented in the best light...

"You think, how could this stuff be wasting away in a vault? What were we thinking?"