When I was growing up in a remote corner of India, the musicians with the greatest followings were usually the guitar players, those men who used the six strings on their instruments to punctuate their songs with blistering solos. And in this pantheon of rock gods, one man with a very devoted bunch of fans was Gary Moore.

I know of several young kids who spent many sleepless nights after the break-up of a teenage romance with Gary Moore’s “Empty Rooms” providing the soundtrack. Then there were others who thrilled to hard rocking tracks like “Victims Of The Future” and “Out In The Fields”. Connecting the rockers and the ballads was that big, wet guitar sound laced with soul and blues.

My first reaction on hearing of Gary Moore’s death over the weekend was that he had gone too early. The man was just 58 and, after all, this is an age when many rockers are still around and playing well into their sixties. More importantly, Gary Moore had not degenerated into some sort of nostalgia act, surviving on past glories.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Eric Bell, whom Gary Moore once replaced as guitarist in the band Thin Lizzy, said he couldn’t believe the news of his death. “He was so robust, he wasn’t a rock casualty, he was a healthy guy,” Eric Bell said.

I followed Gary Moore’s career pretty closely in the 1980s, when he put a nice run of albums that included “Corridors Of Power”, “Victims Of The Future”, “Run For Cover” and “Wild Frontier”. Another strong album was “BBM”, which Gary Moore recorded in 1994 with former Cream members Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, and had several stand-out cuts like “Waiting In The Wings”.

I sort of lost touch after he veered off into the blues after the huge success of his track “Still Got The Blues (For You)” – a nice track but not what I usually associated with Gary Moore.

Gary Moore was probably one of the most under-rated and under-appreciated guitarists in recent decades. He retained his soulfulness and fiery intensity even when he stretched beyond rock to make forays into the blues and jazz, and could hold his own during collaborations with legends like George Harrison and Albert King, as this video of a live performance of “Stormy Monday” proves.

The good part is that we still have Gary Moore’s many wonderful studio and live albums, through which he and his music will live on.

(You may also want to read this great tribute to Gary Moore by The Guardian, which inspired the title for this post.)