Gary Moore

For other uses, see Gary Moore (disambiguation).
Gary Moore

Moore in 2008
Background information
Birth name Robert William Gary Moore
Born (1952-04-04)4 April 1952
Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Died 6 February 2011(2011-02-06) (aged 58)
Estepona, Malaga Province, Spain
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards
Years active 1969–2011
Labels Virgin, Charisma, Eagle
Associated acts Skid Row, Thin Lizzy, Colosseum II, Phil Lynott, Greg Lake, BBM, G Force
Notable instruments
Gary Moore Signature Les Paul
Gary Moore Signature Stratocaster

Robert William Gary Moore (4 April 1952[1] – 6 February 2011) was a Northern Irish musician, most widely recognised as a singer, songwriter, and virtuoso rock and blues guitarist.

In a career dating back to the 1960s, Moore played with musicians including Phil Lynott and Brian Downey during his teenage years, leading him to memberships of the Irish bands Skid Row and Thin Lizzy, and British band Colosseum II. Moore shared 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.

Early life and career

Moore grew up on Castleview Road opposite Stormont Parliament Buildings, off the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast, as one of five children of Bobby, a promoter, and Winnie, a housewife. 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.[2]

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".[3] 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.

Changing bands

In Dublin, Moore joined 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.[4]

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. "Grinding Stone" was issued in North America on Neil Kempfer-Stocker's fledgling record label imprint Cosmos and received "Album of the Year" accolades on KTAC-FM/Seattle-Tacoma, Washington, in 1974.

In 1974 he re-joined 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.

In 1977, Moore re-joined Thin Lizzy, first as a temporary replacement for Brian Robertson, and on a permanent basis a year later.

Solo career

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", which reached the Top Ten in the UK Singles Chart in April 1979 and the Thin Lizzy album Black Rose: A Rock Legend which reached number two in the UK album chart. Moore appears in the videos for "Waiting for an Alibi" and "Do Anything You Want To".

Moore performing at the Manchester Apollo, 1985

He experimented with many musical genres, including rock, jazz, blues, country, electric blues, hard rock, and heavy metal.[5]

In 1987, he performed a guitar solo for a cover of the Beatles' "Let It Be" which was released under the group-name of Ferry Aid. The record raised substantial funds for the survivors of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise disaster. In 1990, he played the lead guitar solo on "She's My Baby" from Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.

Moore performing, 23 October 2010

After a series of rock records, Moore returned to blues music with Still Got the Blues (1990), with contributions from Albert King, Albert Collins, and George Harrison. The album was well received by fans and was certified Gold in the U.S. He stayed with the blues format until 1997 when he returned to rock, but with a softer, more pop and ballad-oriented sound on Dark Days in Paradise, swiftly followed with another change of direction in 1999, when he decided to experiment with modern dance beats on A Different Beat; this left many fans, as well as the music press, confused. Moore also contributed guitar sections to Richard Blackwood's 2000 album, You'll Love to Hate This.

With Back to the Blues, Moore returned to his tried and tested blues format in 2001: 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).

In January 2005, Moore joined the One World Project, which recorded a song 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. The song, entitled Grief Never Grows Old, was released in February 2005, reaching No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart.[6]

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.

Other collaborations included 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 Taylor (musician).

Personal life

In 2003, he bought a five-bedroom detached Edwardian house in Hove, just west of Brighton, Sussex, to be near his sons, Jack and Gus, from his former marriage, which had lasted from 1985 to 1993. Since 1997, he was living with his partner, an artist named Jo, and their daughter Lily (b. 1998). His daughter Saoirse was born from an earlier relationship while he was with Skid Row.[2] At the time of his death, his residence was reported to be on Vallance Gardens in Hove, East Sussex.[7]


Gary Moore died of a heart attack in his sleep at the age of 58 during the early hours of 6 February 2011. At the time, he was on holiday with a girlfriend at the Kempinski Hotel in Estepona, Spain. After a quiet dinner, they went for a walk on the beach before going up to their room. The girlfriend raised the alarm at 4:00 am, and tried to give him a heart massage. His death was confirmed by Thin Lizzy's manager, Adam Parsons.[4][8][9]

According to The Daily Telegraph, Moore's fatal heart attack was brought on by a massive amount of alcohol he had consumed the evening of his death. Moore had 380 mg of alcohol per decilitre (100 millilitres) of blood (0.38%) in his system, which meant he was five times the legal drink driving limit.[10] Blood alcohol content from 0.40% to 0.50% is considered to be lethal.[11]

Moore was buried at St Margaret's Churchyard, Rottingdean, East Sussex, England, in a private ceremony, with only the family and close friends in attendance.


Moore was popular in Europe, but less successful in the US.[12] Throughout his career, Moore was recognised as an influence by many notable guitarists including Martin Barre,[13] Vivian Campbell,[14] Patrick Rondat,[15] John Norum, Paul Gilbert,[16] Gus G, Slash, Orianthi, Joe Bonamassa, Adrian Smith, Doug Aldrich, Zakk Wylde,[17] Randy Rhoads, John Sykes, Henrik Freischlader, Gary W Suede, and Kirk Hammett.[18]

Since his death, many fellow musicians have commented on Gary Moore's talents including Ozzy Osbourne,[19] Kirk Hammett,[20] Eric Singer,[21] Doug Aldrich,[22] Tony Iommi,[23] Bob Geldof,[24] Roger Taylor,[25] Brian May,[26] Brian Downey,[27][28] Andy DiGelsomina,[29] Ricky Warwick,[30] Glenn Hughes, Bryan Adams, Henry Rollins, Scott Gorham,[31] Ignacio Garay,[32] and Mikael Åkerfeldt.[33] On 18 April 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'.[34]

In March 2011 Guitarist produced a tribute special with unreleased footage from 2009. Twitter was flooded with tributes from fans for several days after his death.[35]

A large statue of Moore was erected on a small island outside Skånevik, following his many performances at the Skånevik Blues Festival. The statue still stands as of July 2013.



  1. "". Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  2. 1 2 "Moore's almanac." Belfast Telegraph, 24 May 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  3. "Green Lantern! – The Peter Green Les Paul" Guitarist Magazine, April 1995 (viewed 12 April 2010)
  4. 1 2 "Rock guitarist Gary Moore dies". BBC. 6 February 2011.
  5. Gary Moore Collaboration's, archived from the original on 6 February 2008, retrieved 8 February 2011
  6. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 407. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. "Hove rock star found dead". The Argos. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  8. "Former Thin Lizzy guitarist Moore dies". The Irish Times. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  9. "Legendary rock guitarist, Gary Moore, dies in Estepona". Typically Spanish. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  10. "Former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore was five times drink drive limit when he died". The Telegraph. 27 Feb 2012. Retrieved 27 Feb 2012.
  11. "Blood Alcohol Concentration". Clemson University. Retrieved 30 Jun 2015.
  12. Prato, Greg. "Gary Moore Bio". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  13. "FAQ's About Me". Martin Barre. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  14. "Vivian Campbell Interview : Guitar Interviews". Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  15. FR. "Patrick Rondat Biography". Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  16. "Paul Gilbert pays tribute to the late, great Gary Moore". Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  17. Bosso, Joe (15 August 2007). "The Man, The Myth, The Metal: Gibson Interviews Zakk Wylde". Gibson Lifestyle. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  18. Fox, Darrin (7 August 2007). "Gary Moore". Guitar Player. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  19. " – Ozzy Osbourne on Gary Moore: 'We've Lost A Phenomenal Musician And A Great Friend'". Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  20. "Rolling – Metallica's Kirk Hammett Remembers Thin Lizzy's Gary Moore'". Rolling Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  21. "Eric Singer Remembers Gary Moore". KISSopolis. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  22. "Rest in Peace Gary Moore :Doug News". 13 February 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  23. "Tony Iommi Official Website". 7 February 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  24. "Geldof pays tribute to Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore". BBC News. 7 February 2011.
  25. "Classic Rock » Blog Archive » Gary Moore: Ozzy, Roger Taylor Pay Tribute". Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  26. Surely not ... Gary Moore has died. Brian's Soapbox, 6 February 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  27. "Gary Moore tributes flow in after death". 29 January 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  28. "Musicians Pay Tribute to Gary Moore, Former Thin Lizzy Guitarist Found Dead in Spanish Hotel". Sky News. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  29. "LYRAKA Guitarist Andy DiGelsomina On GARY MOORE – "I Can't Count How Many Times I've Been Awed By Gary's Playing, Going Back Over 30 Years Now"". 7 February 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  30. "Thin Lizzy tribute to Gary Moore as rockers roll back the years – Reviews, Film & TV". 17 February 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  31. "Classic Rock » Blog Archive » Gary Moore: Ozzy, Roger Taylor Pay Tribute". Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  32. "Sitio Oficial de Ignacio Garay". Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  33. " – OPETH Mainman: 'We Are Devastated To Hear About The Passing Of Gary Moore'". Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  34. "Whelan's » Blog Archive » GIG FOR GARY". 18 March 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  35. "Fans pay tribute to 'inspirational' Gary Moore on Twitter". 7 February 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
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