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Gary Moore: Thin Lizzy guitar virtuoso who blazed a unique trail through rock and roll

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Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore was found dead in a hotel room in Spain

Gary Moore was found dead in a hotel room in Spain

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Jo Hale

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Jo Hale

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

MARTIAL TREZZINI

Gary Moore performs at the 42nd Montreux Jazz Festival

Gary Moore performs at the 42nd Montreux Jazz Festival

STR

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Ian West

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Peter Kollanyi

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

PATRICK AVIOLAT

Gary Moore

Gary Moore

Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott

Gary Moore moved to Dublin from Belfast wanting to become a musician, and he joined Skid Row which then included Phil Lynott

Gary Moore moved to Dublin from Belfast wanting to become a musician, and he joined Skid Row which then included Phil Lynott

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Gary Moore, the guitarist who has died on holiday in Spain, was hailed as a musical genius and his solo on the Thin Lizzy track Still In Love With You was described as near perfection by critics. He was 58.

Still In Love With You, which appeared on the Thin Lizzy album Night Life (1974), was well-named, for the artist from east Belfast was a well-loved performer every time he returned to his home city which he left as an innocent 16-year-old to seek fame and fortune in Dublin.

Contemporaries like retired musician Rab Braniff, who first spotted Moore one night in a tiny club in Holywood, Co Down, said that, in spite of his consummate musical ability, Moore never seemed to receive the acclaim to which he was entitled.

“He was only about 15 when I watched him perform in a little hall called The Scrubs in Holywood,” said Braniff.

“You could tell instantly that this lad was different and special.

“I wasn’t surprised when the next I heard he had left for Dublin to join a band called Skid Row in which his friend Phil Lynott was lead singer.

“Gary was an extraordinary |performer for many years but, somehow, never received the adulation to which I thought he was entitled. Lesser musicians got greater rewards.”

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Eventually Lynott left Skid |Row to form Thin Lizzy, but Moore and vocalist Brush Shiels recorded two Skid Row albums — Skid (1970) and 34 Hours (1971) — which were critically well-received. Moore was on his way and was persuaded to join Lynott in Thin Lizzy.

It was the start of a long |on-off relationship with the band, with songs like The Boys Are |Back In Town and Waiting For An Alibi, with which they packed out halls everywhere.

Moore was with Lizzy in 1977 when the band recorded their famous Black Rose album, but Night Life was reckoned to be the greatest work by a man who specialised in blues, hard rock and jazz, but who was also a gifted lyrical, melodic guitarist.

Eric Bell, whose place Moore took when the other Belfast guitar-slinger departed Thin Lizzy, said: “Gary was a special kind of artist. I am shocked at his death.”

Hot Press magazine editor Niall Stokes added: “Gary had something unique in his make-up.

“He was always working to improve his technique.”

Moore, who recorded more than 20 studio albums was well-received across the musical world, loved returning to his Belfast roots to play live.

“Back home at the Ulster Hall, where I attended so many concerts as a schoolboy, was electric,” Moore once told me.

In 1987, Moore collaborated on the UK charity record Let It Be — a cover of the Beatles track. Moore performed a solo for inclusion on the recording, which was released under the group name Ferry Aid. The record raised substantial funds for the survivors of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise disaster.

After a series of rock records, Moore returned to his first love with Still Got the Blues (1990), including contributions from Albert King and Albert Collins.

Moore stayed with the blues format until 1997, when he decided to experiment with dance beats on Dark Days in Paradise.

Back to the Blues (2001) saw Moore return to his tried and tested format; he continued with this style on Power of the Blues (2004), Old New Ballads Blues (2006), Close As You Get (2007) and Bad For You Baby (2008).

EDDIE McILWAINE


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