February 6, 2021 – This week marks ten years since the passing of flame throwing Rock/Blues/Fusion guitarist Gary Moore. In a career that spanned five decades Moore established himself as one of the premier guitarists of his era.
Gary Moore was born near Belfast, Ireland on April 4th, 1952. He first picked up a guitar at age 10. By the age of 18 he was playing in his first band of note, Skid Row (not the later known U.S. band of the same name.) Skid Row featured future Thin Lizzy singer/bassist Phil Lynott. Moore and Lynott would cross paths several times during their careers. Moore soon left and Lynott was let go by founding member Brush Shiels. Moore began a solo career but a few years later was asked by Lynott to join Thin Lizzy. He hung around for one album, recording the album “Night Life”. Moore was noted for playing a heart-wrenching solo on the cut “Still in Love with You” that future Lizzy guitarists were told to play note for note when performing live. He left Lizzy to form the jazz-fusion band Colosseum II. After three years he rejoined Thin Lizzy for one more and final time, cutting the well-received “Black Rose” album before leaving during the tour supporting the release.
After leaving Thin Lizzy again he re-embarked on his solo career – this time for good. He began playing more Power Rock and Heavy Metal – releasing several albums throughout the eighties. By the end of this period he had grown tired of Rock and decided to go back to his musical roots. He surprised everyone in 1991 with the release of “Still Got the Blues” – a selection of Blues originals with several cover tunes thrown in as well. Though he had switched to playing blues he did it with a fiery guitar-driven style with the accompaniment of a horn section. The addition of horns made these songs stand out and with Gary’s searing guitar it was a match made in heaven. He released several more blues albums throughout the 90s and 2000s, all of which charted no lower than 9th on the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart. Gary even took short dive into Techno on the album “A Different Beat.”
Gary continued to tour throughout his career, mainly in the U.K/Europe but occasionally coming to the U.S. to make appearances such as on the Late Show with David Letterman. After playing primarily blues numbers live he started to play more of his Rock catalog again in the mid-2000s. His last album recorded before his death was “Bad for You Baby” in 2008.
Sadly, Gary passed away on February 6th, 2011 of a heart attack after a night out with his girlfriend at a resort in Costa del Sol, Spain. He was only 58 years old. Currently, there is a campaign to erect a statue of Moore in his hometown of Belfast by 2023.
There was talk that Gary was working on a new album at the time of his death. No songs that he was reportedly working on have been released at this point. One posthumous release; “Gary Moore: Live from London” was released in early 2020. The album featured his best known blues numbers, captured in a live setting. The album reached number 34 on the Billboard U.S. charts – his highest level ever charted in The United States.
We miss you Gary. Rest in Peace.
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What’s your favorite period of Gary Moore’s career? What songs do you like best?