Famous Belfast Bands

Famous Belfast Bands

Belfast boasts some amazing guitarists, artists and bands that have started the their music careers in this great musical city - everyone from Van Morrison to Katie Melua, from rock royalty and former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore to puck-rock ledgends Stiff Little Fingers. Here at Guitar Lessons Belfast love to inspire you with little snippets of info about  Belfast's greatest rock and blues gutiarists, so here we go...

Gary Moore, recognized to one of the true greats of electric guitar, first picked up a guitar aged 8. Despite being left handed Moore learned everything in the traditional right-handed way, playing guitar incessantly during his youth. Moore grew up on Castleview Road, opposite Stormont in east Belfast, predominantly spending his time in his bedroom - he left Belfast as a teenager to escape the Troubles and his parent's separation. Relocating to Dublin, Moore began to catch the attention of other musicians despite his young age of only 16. He joined Skid Row with a certain Phil Lynott who would go on to found Thin Lizzy, a band Moore would also join for a brief period several years later. Releasing his first solo album, the Grinding Stone, in 1973 Moore's bluesy-guitar sound and atmospheric guitar solos gained him fans worldwide independently of these bands. Parisienne Walkways, perhaps Moore's most famous, smashed its way into the UK's Top Ten confirming Moore as a iconic solo artist in his own right. Touring America and the UK frequently, Moore produced a whopping 21 studio albums and released 53 singles - after his death, caused by a serious heart-attack induced by a massive alcohol intake, the world of rock drew together to pay their respects to one of the most significant guitarist of all time.

Katie Melua, hailing from the former Soviet Union state of Georgia emigrated to Northern Ireland aged 8. Escaping the Georgian Civil War in 1993 she grew up on the Falls Road with her love of singing and guitar was evident from an early age. Melua won a spoof ITV television show, "Stars Up Their Noses", in 2000 prompting her to take her music more seriously. After finishing her GCSE's she enrolled into the BRIT School for the Performing Arts in London, while attending the college she began to compose songs being talent spotted by Mike Batt - her future manager and producer. Aged 19 she released her first album, Call off the Search, in 2003 which slowly gained critical acclaim and significant airplay before reaching the number one spot in the UK album charts. The album, selling 1.8 million copies in its first five months, as well as her subsequent four albums which all went platinum, enabling her to amass a fortune worth over £18 million making her the seventh richest British musician under thirty.

Van Morrison, known as 'Van the Man' to his fans, was born in Bloomfield, East Belfast during the summer of 1945. Morrison's childhood and early youth were extremely working class, he received his first guitar aged 11 from father forming his first band aged 12 dubbed The Sputniks. Morrison took control of the singing and composition of the songs, many other small projects followed this one until he joined the Monarchs touring Europe with them during the early 1960s. It was the next group Morrison joined that help him rise to international fame, Them, during the British Music Invasion of America - this even included  a residency from 30 May to 18 June 1966 at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. Morrison began to spawn his solo career in the late 1960's, relasing Brown Eye Girl, by far his most famous song and amazingly still the forth most requested song to American DJ's nearly  fifty years on. He is a regular in Belfast around our music scene and I have had the pleasure of playing guitar with the music legend a few years ago!

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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I have made tons of progress with my guitar playing after only a few sessions with Matt. He really knows his stuff and makes sure you understand the fundamentals such as rhythm and strumming patterns. I would highly recommend him. - Noel Clerkin