The rock world lost one of its great performers yesterday with the passing of guitar legend Gary Moore. Moore died while on vacation in the town of Estepona in the Costa del Sol region of southern Spain. He was 58 years old.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Moore first made his mark in the hard rock band, Skid Row (not to be confused with the later band). Inspired by the fiery blues playing of Albert King, Jimi Hendrix and Peter Green (who took Moore under his wing when the young Irishman was breaking in), Moore combined the feel and subtlety of the finest blues players with the speed and intensity of hard rock’s heaviest hitters.
Moore followed Skid Row with an on-again-off-again romance with Thin Lizzy. His friendship with Phil Lynott and Brian Downey stretched back to his school days, and he would play with Ireland’s favorite band off and on for nine years, contributing to some of the group’s best-loved songs, including “Still in Love with You,” “Sarah” and “Waiting for an Alibi.” He also recorded three albums with the jazz-fusion band Colosseum II during the same period.
As a solo artist, Moore had two successful careers, both as a hard rock hero with albums like Back on the Streets, Corridors of Power and Victims of the Future and, later, as a bluesman on albums like Still Got the Blues, After Hours and Back to the Blues.
Musicians from all over the world have reacted with sadness to Moore’s untimely passing:
Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy): Gary Moore's passing has been a huge shock to us, his friends, and to all of us who had the chance to play and create some cool and memorable musical moments together. My heart goes out to Gary's family, who I know loved him very much. You will be missed, old friend.”
Brian Downey (Thin Lizzy; as told to Express.co.uk): “I am in total shock. He will always be in my thoughts and prayers and I just can't believe he is gone.”
Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard, currently touring with Thin Lizzy; via Facebook): “Another of my guitar heroes died today; first Marc Bolan, then Rory Gallagher, now Gary Moore. It'll be strange playing ‘Still in Love with You Tonight’ (sic).”
Joe Bonamassa (special thanks to MusicRadar.com): “I wouldn't be doing what I do if it wasn't for him. I'm sure I'm not the only person who can say that."
Kee Marcello (Europe): “The first time I heard him play was on the first Skid Row album. I remember on the record sleeve it said, ‘Gary Moore - 17 years old - lead guitar’ and, even back then, he was amazing. I loved Colosseum II and then, of course, his work with Thin Lizzy. Black Rose was just incredible. His sense for melodies reminded me of Jeff Beck; he had superior technique, melody and feel and knew where to play a lot and where not to play. His later work turned on a whole new generation to the blues. It is very sad to see him pass at a way-too-young age. I will miss him.”
Bob Geldof (as told to BBC Radio 5): “He is one of the great blues players. Axl Rose will say that without Thin Lizzy you don't get Guns N' Roses, and that whole idea of rock and roll, and Gary was sort of fundamental in developing that twin-guitar, lyrical thing like on “Parisienne Walkways.” But really you didn't have to cut the skin hard to find just a great, great blues player, and absolutely one of the best."
Rudy Wallang (Indian band, Soulmate): “Gary Moore had a BIG sound and he had great melody. Parisienne Walkways may have been co-written by Phil Lynott, but was Gary’s song all the way! I especially liked his work with Thin Lizzy. In his own inimitable way, Gary helped propagate the blues among his legion of rock fans. May your soul rest in peace, Gary.”
Mahesh Tinaikar (Indian band, Indus Creed): “I was shocked when I got a call last night from a friend telling me of Gary Moore’s untimely passing. Gary has been one of my idols ever since I heard him with Thin Lizzy in the ’70s and then with his solo albums. He truly played from his gut and you could feel the emotion in every note. Music has lost a true icon and the loss has created a vacuum that will forever be felt.”
Vikxie (Spanish artist): “I still got the blues for you.”
Gary Moore with Phil Lynott, “Parisienne Walkways”