In this month’s instalment explores the extraordinary power behind the punchy blues-rock style of an Irish guitar giant.
Taken too soon in 2011, aged just 58, Irish blues rock guitarist Gary Moore leaves behind a potent legacy and a firmlyestablished reputation as one of the great British guitarists. Born Robert William Gary Moore in 1952 in Belfast Northern Ireland, Gary – like most aspiring young guitarists of his generation – grew up on a diet of Elvis Presley closely followed by Albert King, BB King, Freddie King and the other blues giants from that period. Gary was also fortunate as a young teenager to see performances of Jimi Hendrix and Peter Green, which undoubtedly helped to form his style and approach. Notably, Peter Green would subsequently mentor Gary early in his career.
At 16 years of age Gary relocated to Dublin with the aim of becoming a musician. Here he met Phil Lynott who became a close friend and with whom he would work with many times over his career. Gary’s natural musicality coupled with his power muscle technique, was a tour de force and it wasn’t long before Gary became a pro musician making his recording debut with Irish band Skid Row.
When Skid Row disbanded after three albums, Gary went solo but it was not long before he was asked to replace Eric Bell in Thin Lizzy, alongside his old friend Phil Lynott. Gary’s presence in Thin Lizzy would peak and wane and he would be a member of the band at various stages throughout their career.
In 1979 Gary had a surprise hit as a solo artist with Parisienne Walkways – and had his old bandmate Lynott as a guest on vocals. Parisienne Walkways continues to be a favourite among guitarists but at the time it opened up his talent to a whole new audience and gave him international success.
IF YOU ARE AN EXPRESSIVE PLAYER, PEOPLE CAN FEEL THAT. IT IS AN EMOTIONAL THING AND IT BECOMES AN EXTENSION OF YOURSELF GARY MOORE
Moore also joined fusion band Coliseum, and later guested on albums by legendary rock acts including Phil Collins and The Traveling Wilburys. He also formed BBM with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Major success came in 1990 with blues albums Still Got The Blues and After Hours, providing worldwide success and massive record sales.
For this month’s article, Ex 1 typifies Gary’s Skid Row period ,while Ex 2 focuses on his ability to play tuneful Minor scale lines over a more complex chord progression.