For an artist whose career spawned such wide-ranging diversity and whose circle of collaborators included some of the biggest names in rock, Gary Moore never became more than a cult hero outside of his native Britain. Yet the news of his passing this past Sunday while on holiday in Spain -- initial indications are that the 58-year-old musician succumbed to a heart attack -- has brought him a measure of posthumous appreciation that escaped him in life.
A brilliant guitarist who considered himself a disciple of Fleetwood Mac's iconic ax master Peter Green, Moore was equally adept in blues and heavy metal and won a small but devoted following based in both realms.
Moore's on-again, off-again tenure in Thin Lizzy was an auspicious addition to his lengthy résumé, and it remains the band with which he's most often identified. He first became associated with Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott in the very early '70s, when he joined the hard-rock group Skid Row (not to be confused with the American hair band of the same name), an early Irish outfit that employed Lynott in its lineup. Despite a pair of albums and assorted singles, Skid Row never gained much traction, and both Moore and Lynott parted ways early on.
Still, the bond between Moore and Lynott never fractured completely, and the two continued to work together even after Lynott launched his own solo career.
Sadly, Lynott succumbed to the usual rock-star indulgences -- a combination of heroin, cocaine, and booze -- in January 1986 at age 35. Various Thin Lizzy revivals were attempted, but without its charismatic frontman, it remained only a shadow of its earlier incarnation.