Hall of Fame - Gary Moore
Trevor Hodgett finds a rock in Gary Moore
Guitar hero Gary Moore, whose flamboyant playing has been electrifying audiences since the sixties, learnt his trade playing in myriad, small-time, semi-pro beat groups and blues bands in Belfast and Co Down, where he was born in 1952, and by listening to British blues boom greats like Jeff Beck and Peter Green.
But it was with the Dublin-based Skid Row, who were discovered by Fleetwood Mac's manager Clifford Davis, that Moore first found international recognition, recording three albums and touring America and Europe supporting the likes of Frank Zappa, the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and Canned Heat.
The band's music ricocheted audaciously between progressive rock, blues, heavy rock, country, folk and psychedelia, but Moore's restlessness - a characteristic apparent throughout his career - led him to leave the band as major success beckoned. The first Gary Moore Band, which followed, was short-lived as Moore disbanded the outfit to join Thin Lizzy with whom he had an on-off relationship lasting several years.
A late 70's stint with the highly-rated, virtuosic Colosseum II enhanced Moore's musical credibility before a solo hit, the exquisitely performed 'Parisienne Walkways', which featured guest vocals from Phil Lynott, established him as a major solo artist, in 1979.
Another collaboration with Lynott, on 'Out In The Fields', a reflection on the Troubles, also became a major international hit record, in 1985. Throughout his subsequent career Moore has veered between blues and hard rock - occasionally diverting into Irish traditional music and dance music along the way. In the short term this has confused some aficionados; in the long term it has suggested his artistic integrity - Moore plays the music he wants to play, at any given time.
'Wild Frontier' in 1987, for example, featured contributions from members of the Chieftains, and reached number eight in the British album charts; 'Still Got The Blues', released three years later, featured contributions from blues immortals Albert King and Albert Collins, and reached number 13. And in 1992 'After Hours', with BB King on board, did even better, reaching number four.
Persuasive evidence of Moore's status in the rock world came in 1990 when Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne recruited him to play on their Traveling Wilburys Volume 3 album and in 1994 when rock legends Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker - who had found their greatest success with guitarist Eric Clapton in Cream - formed BBM with him, the band's sole album, Sooner Or Later, another top ten hit.
The following year Moore touchingly released the acclaimed Blues For Greeny, in tribute to Peter Green, one of his early heroes. After experimenting with dance beats in the late 90s Moore returned once more to blues with Back To The Blues in 2001. Still a major live act, Moore said of his 2004 album Power Of The Blues that it was 'The rawest album I've done for many years, maybe the rawest ever!', his enthusiasm suggesting the continuing vitality of his recording career.