When I was a teenager in the 80s, I remember the day my brother brought a Gary Moore album home. I grew up in a small village in France, and Nothern Ireland native Gary Moore wasn’t exactly a known figure. The album was Run for Cover and contained an amazing version of “Empty rooms” as well as sophisticated heavy metal songs such as “Military Man” and “Out in the Fields”, sung in duet with another Irish rock legend, Phil Lynott.
This album is the reason why I picked up a guitar. He enjoyed massive success playing blues numbers in the late 80s/early 90s with the “Still Got the Blues” album. It was followed by “Blues Alive”, a live album where his guitar tone is so big, it drips out of the speakers.
There is a funny anecdote about Kirk Hammett asking Bob Bradshaw, the L.A. guru of guitar gear, to give him the same tone as Gary Moore on “Still Got the Blues”. So Bradshaw started piling up racks and racks of gear and amps and effects, to no avail. Little did they know at the time that Gary Moore had only used 3 pieces of equipment to get his huge tone: a 59 Les Paul, a Marshall Guv’Nor pedal and a Marshall Bluesbreaker amp.
Anyway, I advise you to have a look at wikipedia for a complete biography and discography of Gary Moore. In the meantime, here is a short selection of videos showing the master of tone in action:
Enough romance, here is a more political side of Gary Moore, it’s also what rock’n roll is all about (if you can forget the cheesy 80s video effects but you’ll have to admit that soloing on the Giant’s Causeway looks pretty cool).
And finally, the final 4 minute solo of empty rooms recorded in 1987, another example of amazing tone and phrasing:
I never saw Gary Moore live and always thought I would have an opportunity to do so but alas no… Rest in Peace Gary, you will be sorely missed.
This post is also available in: French