Robert William Gary Moore (4 April 1952 – 6 February 2011), better known simply as Gary Moore, was a musician from Belfast, Northern Ireland, best recognized as a blues rock guitarist and singer.
In a career dating back to the 1960s, Moore played with artists including Phil Lynott and Brian Downey during his teens, leading him to membership with the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy on three separate occasions. Moore shared the stage with such blues and rock luminaries as B.B. King, Albert King, Colosseum II, Greg Lake andSkid Row (not to be confused with the heavy metal band of the same name), as well as having a successful solo career. He guested on a number of albums recorded by high profile musicians, including a cameo appearance playing the lead guitar solo on “She’s My Baby” from Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.
Moore started performing at a young age, having picked up a battered acoustic guitar (a Framus 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. He moved to Dublin in 1968 at the age of 16. His 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’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”.
He collaborated with a broad range of artists including George Harrison, Trilok Gurtu, Dr. Strangely Strange, Colosseum II, Albert Collins, Jimmy Nail, Mo Foster, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Jim Capaldi, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Vicki Brown, Cozy Powell, Rod Argent, the Beach Boys, Ozzy Osbourne and Andrew Lloyd Webber on the composer’s Variations album in 1977.
In 1968, aged 16, Moore moved to Dublin to join the group Skid Row with Noel Bridgeman and Brendan “Brush” Shiels. It was with this group that he earned a reputation in the music industry, and his association with Phil Lynott began.
Moore died of a suspected heart attack in his hotel room while on holiday in Estepona, Spain, in February 2011.
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