Northern Irish singer,songwriter and guitar virtuoso Gary Moore was born 4 April 1952. Moore grew up on Castleview Road opposite Stormont Parliament Buildings, off the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast. He left the city as a teenager, because of troubles in his family – his parents parted a year later – just as The Troubles were starting in Northern Ireland. Moore started performing at a young age, having picked up a battered acoustic guitar at the age of eight. He got his first quality guitar at the age of 14, learning to play the right-handed instrument in the standard way despite being left-handed.
Aiming to become a musician, he moved to Dublin at the age of 16. Moore’s greatest influence in the early days was guitarist Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac who was a mentor to Moore when performing in Dublin. Green’s continued influence on Moore was later repaid as a tribute to Green on his 1995 album Blues for Greeny, an album consisting entirely of Green compositions. On this tribute album, Moore played Green’s 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar which Green had lent to Moore after leaving Fleetwood Mac. Moore ultimately purchased the guitar, at Green’s request, so that “it would have a good home” . Other early musical influences were artists such as Albert King, Elvis Presley, The Shadows, and The Beatles. Later, having seen Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in his home town of Belfast, his own style was developing into a blues-rock sound that would be the dominant form of his career in music. Moore went on to share the stage with such blues and rock musicians as B.B. King, Albert King, Jack Bruce, Albert Collins, George Harrison, and Greg Lake, as well as having a successful solo career. He guested on a number of albums recorded by high-profile musicians.
In Dublin, Moore joined the group Skid Row with Noel Bridgeman and Brendan “Brush” Shiels. In 1970, Moore moved to England and remained there, apart from two short periods in the United States. In 1973, under the name “The Gary Moore Band”, he released his first solo album, Grinding Stone and received “Album of the Year” accolades on KTAC-FM/Seattle-Tacoma, Washington, in 1974. In 1974 he re-joined Phill Lynott, when he first joined Thin Lizzy after the departure of founding member Eric Bell. From 1975 to August 1978, he was a member of Colosseum II. With the band he also collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the composer’s Variations album in 1978 and In 1977, Moore re-joined Thin Lizzy, replacing Brian Robertson. In July 1979, he left the band permanently to focus on his solo career, again with help from Phil Lynott. The combination of Moore’s blues-based guitar and Lynott’s voice produced “Parisienne Walkways and the Thin Lizzy album Black Rose: A Rock Legend. Moore also appears in the videos for “Waiting for an Alibi” and “Do Anything You Want To”. He experimented with many musical genres, including rock, jazz, blues, country, electric blues, hard rock, and heavy metal. In 1987, he performed a guitar solo for a cover of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” for Ferry Aid which raised money for the survivors of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise disaster. In 1990, he also played the lead guitar solo on “She’s My Baby” from Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.
Moore returned to blues music with Still Got the Blues (1990), with contributions from Albert King, Albert Collins, and George Harrison. In 1997 he released the albumDark Days in Paradise followed by the album A Different Beat in 1999, He also contributed guitar sections to Richard Blackwood’s 2000 album, You’ll Love to Hate This. In 2001 he released Back to the Blues, this was followed byPower of the Blues (2004), Old New Ballads Blues (2006), Close As You Get (2007), and Bad For You Baby (2008).In January 2005, Moore joined the One World Project, which recorded a song Entitled Grief Never Grow Old,for the 2004 Asian Tsunami relief effort. The group featured Russell Watson, Boy George, Steve Winwood, Barry Gibb, Brian Wilson, Cliff Richard, Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley, and Robin Gibb on vocals (in their order of appearance), and featured a guitar solo by Moore. He also took part in a comedy skit entitled “The Easy Guitar Book Sketch” with comedian Rowland Rivron and fellow musicians Mark Knopfler, Lemmy from Motörhead, Mark King from Level 42, and David Gilmour. He collaborated with a broad range of artists including Trilok Gurtu, Dr. Strangely Strange, Jimmy Nail, Mo Foster, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Jim Capaldi, B.B. King, Vicki Brown, Cozy Powell, Rod Argent, the Beach Boys, Paul Rodgers, Keith Emerson, Roger Daltrey, and Otis Redding. Sadly on 6 February 2011 Gary Moore died of a heart attack in his sleep at the age of 58 While on holiday at the Kempinski Hotel in Estepona, Spain and was laid to rest in St Margaret’s Churchyard, Rottingdean, East Sussex, England, in a private ceremony, with only the family and close friends in attendance.
Throughout his career, Moore was recognised as an influence by many notable guitarists including Martin Barre, Vivian Campbell, Patrick Rondat, John Norum, Paul Gilbert, Gus G, Slash, Orianthi, Joe Bonamassa, Adrian Smith, Doug Aldrich, Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, John Sykes, Gary W Suede, and Kirk Hammett. many fellow musicians have also commented on Gary Moore’s talents including Ozzy Osbourne, Kirk Hammett, Eric Singer,Doug Aldrich, Tony Iommi, Bob Geldof, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Brian Downey,Andy DiGelsomina,Ricky Warwick, Glenn Hughes, Bryan Adams, Henry Rollins, Scott Gorham,Ignacio Garay, and Mikael Åkerfeldt. In 2011, a number of musicians including Eric Bell and Brian Downey, Thunder rising, Silverbird and The Business blues band gathered for a tribute concert in Whelan’s bar in Dublin, Ireland titled ‘The Gig For Gary’ and A large statue of Moore was erected on a small island outside Skånevik, following his many performances at the Skånevik Blues Festival.