I was first introduced to Gary Moore by my teacher at Primary school. Looking back it was rather cool that he went to the effort of making some cassettes and sharing them with me as he could tell my love of music and he made me up some excellent compilation tapes which I played to death.
I remember the first time I heard ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ with those powerful, relentless drums and the first time I heard ‘Parisienne Walkways’ with that held, sustaining guitar note that made the hairs stand up on end and my nerves tingle. The first time I heard ‘Empty Rooms’ I felt his pain and anguish even though I was too young to comprehend the reasons and emotions behind them.
Typically for me I also loved a track called ‘The Loner’ which is a slower, brooding song and I still love this song to this day, especially the live version.
There was something about Gary Moore’s rich guitar sound and his solos that got into my young head and inspired me. I adored the pumping, driving rock songs he played and the more mournful, emotive blues and I happily listened to either for hours on end. I have fond memories of going on summer holiday to France with my parents and sitting in the cool gite as the sun seared outside and reading Asterix books as Gary Moore played in the background.
I shared the cassettes with my cousin (who is an exceptional guitarist) and we both sat in awe at the music coming out of my tiny cassette player in my bedroom. We’d also go and sit on the field behind my school during the summer holiday and listen to it over there, with the smell of grass in our noses and the warmth on our skin. The next best thing to discovering powerful new music is sharing it with those that are closest to you.
So with this rich history of his music in my formative years I felt a great sadness when I heard of his sudden death in 2011. I remember being shocked as he was relatively young at 58 and for days on end I played his albums and mourned his passing. I still feel sad when I think of his death even now, I feel it is a loss to the music world, but also without wishing to sound melodramatic, it is also a loss of that tie to my childhood. I grew up on his music and with his passing I realised I was no longer that young, gawky primary school child who sat and listened to that music in stunned silence.
Luckily we still have his music to go back to and I play his albums on a regular basis to this day. His style and sound is rich and unique and if you have yet to experience any of his songs, track some down and give them a listen. They may not do anything for you, but they just might make the hairs stand up on your arms and make you feel young and alive again.