Gary Moore was always in the right place at the right time. Not only in the opportunities he came to find, but in the notes, he played in his music. His birthplace in East Belfast, Ireland held a place called the Maritime club in the locality. It became a venue to perform for young folk as well as established acts.
This would lead to a young Gary meeting another musician, a bit more experienced named Rory Gallagher. Gary would by his recollection have been about 13 at the time. He would spend a period of time jamming around with Rory and he quickly picked up the skills that also caused his name to spread like wildfire in the music community. Within the space of a couple of years he would play a show in Dublin that Attracted the attention of a band called “Skid Row” who employed a vocalist named Phil Lynott and Bassist Brush Shiels.
He was asked to join but declined the first time as he was only interested in the Blues. After a brief period of time, he finally took the offer at the age of 16. This began the intense dynamic between Himself and Phil that would lead to bigger things later. When Lynott departed to form a band called “Thin Lizzy” Gary remained behind and Skid Row carried on as a power trio in the traditional thought of acts like Cream, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with Brush taking over Vocals in addition to Bass. The Band was playing Blues and Soul . However, the Band would soon morph into a more unique almost avant-garde approach.
Skid Row (feat. Gary Moore) – Unco Up Showband Blues (1971)
One night as the band finished playing one gig and was getting ready to actually go perform a second show elsewhere Gary met a fellow who complimented his playing. This was no Less than Peter Green.
Peter invited the band to his hotel later that night and in short, order had Fleetwood Mac’s Manager get Skid Row a Record deal. Gary played many different guitars over time. A Fender Telecaster, one of only 3 to be imported the year he had turned 14. Following the first record being finished and going out on tour, he had acquired a 1952 Les Paul that was born a Gold top but had been modified into a red sunburst.
The previous owner was a fellow named Robin Trower. This guitar was stolen in 1970. Its replacement became a Gibson SG. The Model Loved by the likes of Robbie Krieger of The Doors and Even Mary Ford, yet hated by Les Paul himself to the point it was Les who demanded his name be removed from the model and it simply was known by those letters “SG”.
All of these were very storied guitars. The Ultimate one was too soon to enter the picture. In 1972 he again bumped into Peter Green and was shocked to hear the question “Would you like to borrow my Guitar?” Followed soon after with “Would you like to buy the guitar?” Expressing he didn’t have that kind of money Green instructed him to sell the SG and simply give him whatever money he got out of that SG.
Ultimately Green let him have it for the same price he originally paid himself, roughly 110 to 120 pounds.
He now owned the Holy Grail of Gibson Les Paul’s Dubbed “Greeney”.When Skid Row had run its course Gary had begun working under his own name and writing and recording and that continued the rest of his life, even while being in a band apart from that or not.
His Profile was boosted when in 1974 Phil Lynott came calling for Gary to Join Thin Lizzy in the middle of a tour. Without any rehearsals, he just walked on stage as if he had always been there. This stint was brief but after finishing the tour He made significant contributions to the “Nightlife “ album. More solo work ensued but Gary was later pulled back to Thin Lizzy and was now working twin guitars with Guitarist Scott Gorham.
His heart was still in his solo work and wasn’t in the Hard Partying of Thin Lizzy so he stepped away once more. Yet in 1979 he was called upon again and was given more creative input on Thin Lizzy’s “Black Rose” album. Again in the middle of the U.S. Tour supporting the album Gary suddenly left due to his frustration with the drugs and alcohol that had turned the band into what he felt was an entity not entirely playing to its Potential.
Sometimes not even in tune nor caring.
THIN LIZZY [ COWBOY SONG ] LIVE 1978 SYDNEY
Then he returned to the Blues and had his most successful record ever in “Still got the Blues”.Gary Moore And Albert King. This became a High point of his works, followed promptly by not one but two Lawsuits from two separate songwriters on the Melody to the song. Additionally, he had canceled a tour due to an injury and He had been partly or solely financing himself to Tour.
Lawsuits were involved there as well and he Ultimately had to sell “Greeney” for somewhere between 750 thousand to a bit over a million dollars. Reports differ, but nonetheless, the Guitar was gone.
It now after a few exchanges is Owned by Kirk Hammett of Metallica. Gary Moore was always regarded as one of the best players in the world, but he was also a brilliant vocalist. 18 studio albums, 9 live albums,12 compilations are out there to prove that point. Gary Played the Blues, and he lived the Blues.
His contribution to music is truly immense and his work ethic is to be regarded highly. Gary Moore died unexpectedly while on Holiday in Spain on February 11, 2011. His influence, as well as his loss, are both palpable to this very day.