Gary Moore, 1952-2011
In 1963, he saw The Beatles playing at the Ritz in Belfast and soon became a feature in the nearby Maritime Hotel, active at 13 years old with The Beat Boys. The son of a ballroom manager, he was born into showbusiness, playing covers such as Alma Cogan's 'Sugar In The Morning'. After a stint with The Method, he was installed in Dublin, where Skid Row was taking shape. Phil Lynott was on his way out but Brush Shiels would steer the three piece to America, managed by Fleetwood Mac's handler, Clifford Davis. Gary was mentored by the Fleetwood guitarist Peter Green, who even gave Moore his white Les Paul guitar. The gesture was later returned when Gary delivered 'Blues For Greeny'.
He made several appearances with Thin Lizzy, replacing Eric Bell in 1974 and recording the track 'Little Darlin', plus an early version of the live showstopper 'Still In Love With You'. He was touring with the band on a 1977 US tour with Queen and in 1979 he featured on the 'Black Rose' album, rocking hard and throwing 'The Mason's Apron' and 'Danny Boy' into the heroically overdone 'Roisin Dubh'.
Around 1990 he had reconnected to his first musical passion, signified by 'Still Got The Blues', another top 40 tune. He became a Travelling Wilbury for the band's third album and experimented with sampling technology, always curious and looking for a new plan.
I spent the best part of a day with Gary in November 2006, interviewing him near his Brighton home for the music documentary, 'So Hard To Beat'. He was amusing and open-minded, sharing great stories and clearly still affected by the passing of Phil Lynott.
We're shocked by Gary's sudden demise, this morning in Spain. He was only 58 and we had assumed that he would have been a feature for a few more decades. I'll be playing some of his music on Monday's show, February 7 and I'd welcome your thoughts and musical requests.