Rock guitarist Gary Moore dies at 58

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Renowned rock guitarist Gary Moore has died in a hotel room while on holiday in Spain. He was 58.

  Belfast-born Moore’s career spanned blues, hard rock and ballads, including several spells with Thin Lizzy and a highly-acclaimed solo career that included 20 studio albums. He also enjoyed UK chart success alongside the late Phil Lynott with the singles ‘Parisienne Walkways’ (1979) and ‘Out In The Fields’ (1985).

  Moore received critical acclaim for his work on Thin Lizzy’s 1974 album Nightlife, but he felt constrained by the group format and launched a solo career. He returned to Thin Lizzy briefly on two occasions in the late 1970s.

  Moore was first drafted into Thin Lizzy by Phil Lynott in 1973, following the departure of guitarist Eric Bell. On hearing the news of Moore’s death, Bell told the BBC: “I still can’t believe it. He wasn’t a rock casualty. He was a healthy guy.”

  Guitarist Scott Gorham – the other half of Thin Lizzy’s distinctive twin lead guitar harmony sound – said it been a pleasure to share a stage with Moore. “Playing with Gary during the Black Rose era was a great experience,” he said. “He was a great player and a great guy. I will miss him.”

Born Robert William Gary Moore on 4 April 1952, he started performing at a young age, having picked up a battered acoustic guitar at the age of eight. He got his first good-quality guitar when he was 14 and learnt to play the right-handed instrument in the standard way despite being left-handed.

  Moore’s early musical influences were artists such as Albert King, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. After seeing Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green in his home town of Belfast, he started to develop his own style of blues-rock that would come to dominate his career.

  He was only 16 when he moved from Belfast to Dublin in 1969 to join Irish group Skid Row which featured Phil Lynott on lead vocals.

  Lynott asked Moore to join Thin Lizzy in 1973. The guitarist initially played with the group for only a few months, but he returned in 1977 and then again in 1979, staying long enough to play on the band’s landmark album Black Rose: A Rock Legend, which reached number two on the UK album chart.

  Moore released his first solo album, Grinding Stone, in 1973 under the name “The Gary Moore Band”. In 1978, the combination of Moore’s emotive blues-based guitar and Phil Lynott’s distinctive voice produced the classic single ‘Parisienne Walkways’, which reached Number 8 on the UK singles chart in April 1979.

  After a series of successful rock records in the 1980s, Moore returned to the blues with Still Got the Blues (1990), which featured contributions from Albert King, Albert Collins and George Harrison. He stuck with the blues format until 1997, when he experimented with modern dance beats on Dark Days in Paradise. He returned to his tried and tested blues roots in 2001 with Back to the Blues, followed by Power of the Blues (2004), Old New Ballads Blues (2006), Close As You Get (2007) and Bad For You Baby (2008).

  Gary Moore died in the early hours of 6 February 2011, while on holiday in Estepona, Spain.

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