Guitarist Gary Moore began his storied career as a solo artist, and would end it in the same fashion, when he passed away at the age of 58 in February of 2011.

Often heralded as one of the most underrated guitarists of all time by both accomplished musicians and fans alike, Moore’s story started in Northern Ireland. Born in Belfast in the early ‘50s, Moore picked up a guitar at the age of eight, and thankfully for music fans everywhere, never looked back. With mentors like Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green along the way, Moore would dabble in all styles of music throughout his years, but always seemed to return to his true love for rock infused blues.

Moore’s first foray into a collaborative effort was when he joined the band Skid Row (not that one!) in 1968 when he was only 16. Moore would stick around for three discs with the power trio before returning to his solo career. It was during this period of time that Moore and Phil Lynott would meet for the first time, become friends, and lay building blocks for their future work together.

Moore would join Lynott and Thin Lizzy on several different occasions, sometimes filling in for only short intervals, until he became a full member of the band in 1978, contributing to the next year's ‘Black Rose’ album. Moore’s return would be short-lived however, as he walked out on the band in the middle of their tour that year and returned to playing solo.

The photo above shows an early portrait of Thin Lizzy (Brian Downey, Phil Lynott, Gary Moore) taken in 1974, when Moore was filling in as a replacement for guitarist Eric Bell. The picture, a trip down memory lane, paints the three as baby-faced, vagabond rockers, with Moore avoiding eye contact with the camera and looking every bit the rock ‘n’ roll rebel, surrounded by an air of mystique.

While the photo serves as only a small tidbit of Moore’s legacy, it transports us back to the start of such a legendary career. With 20 solo releases and several collaborations among his impressive legacy, Moore’s music lives on to school future generations.

As we honor Moore today, check out our countdown of the Top 10 Gary Moore Songs. From those ‘Parisienne Walkways’ to ‘Still in Love With You,’ Moore’s catalog of work leaves a lot to celebrate.

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