Christy Moore released his debut album, Paddy on the Road, in 1969. It was a minor release and only 500 copies were originally made. However, in 2010 it was re-released via his website and at gigs.
His first major album, Prosperous, was released in 1972. It was named after the village where the songs were recorded and where he first met John Riley, a travelling singer who inspired him and taught him many traditional songs.
The formation of Planxty
Moore became a founder member of the band, Planxty, in 1972 along with the three musicians who worked on his Prosperous album – Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn.
Planxty were extremely successful across the world and became a hugely influential group for several traditional Irish bands in the years to come. However, Moore was always an independent spirit who constantly sought new challenges.
He left Planxty in 1975 to focus on his solo career, although the band has reformed several times over the years for specific projects.
Rock and Jazz with Moving Hearts
In the 1980s, Moore became a founder member of his second band, Moving Hearts. Moving Hearts had a more adventurous style of music. They maintained an Irish feel but also incorporated rock and jazz into their music.
Many of Moore’s songs such as Minds Locked Shut and Viva La Quinta Brigada contain political lyrics. He has always supported a united Ireland and recorded songs by Bobby Sands, the IRA volunteer who went on a hunger strike which led to his death in 1981.
However, Moore spoke out against the IRA after the Enniskillen bombing in 1987, in which 11 people were killed.
Questioned by the British Authorities
Moore’s political views may have brought him to the attention of the British authorities.
In 2004, an article in the Irish Times described how Moore was detained by customs officials in Wales at Holyhead, the embarkation port for Ireland. Moore claimed that he was questioned about the lyrics to his songs.
He later issued a full statement which said: “My driver and I were stopped and held for two hours at Holyhead last Monday, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002. My driver and I were held separately in two interrogation rooms. I found the whole experience threatening. I was questioned about the contents of my briefcase.
“I was questioned about lyrics of songs and I was asked a lot of personal questions about members of my family and my children and about my home. At no time was I given any explanation as to why I was being held and interrogated in this manner.
“I had hoped to deal with this matter out of the public domain. But seeing as it has become a news item, I feel the need to offer my side of the story. I found the whole affair quite frightening.”
After the incident, Moore said the fact that Irish people were still being treated that way on their way to Britain was very “saddening”.
Moore has released 25 solo albums to date, six albums with Planxty and two with Moving Hearts.