5. Eric Bell – Thin Lizzy
We thought it would be so cool if we just provided the link directly to the Irish Boy Eric Bell as his biography is written by him and written in the first person. Good read at http://www.ericbellband.com/
I was born in East Belfast on the 3rd of September 1947. The first time I fell in love with music was around 8 years old, listening to classical music on a big wireless – it was great to daydream to. One Christmas, when I was 14 or so, one of my presents was a plastic guitar – it was totally unexpected. It was small, half size, had six different coloured strings, and pretty good frets.
There was a TV programme on in those days, and one of the regulars on it was Bert Weedon, a very well known guitarist. Every week, he would draw a guitar chord on a blackboard, and explain how to play it. I would watch and learn a new chord each week.
The next major thing to form my interest in music was hearing, and then seeing Lonnie Donegan. A friend of mine at school, Davie Lyttle, had lots of Lonnie’s records, and I would go back to his house after school to listen to them-they were magic and I never tired listening to them, even to this day. The other major influence was The Shadows, who also cast their spell on me.
I was still going to Orangefield Boy’s Secondary School, and one lunch break found out one of the guys in my class played drums in a Shadows-type group. Eventually I was invited up to the house where they rehearsed. Their guitarist let me play his guitar – the very first time I had ever played an electric. A week later, the group asked me to be their lead guitarist!
I stayed for six months, then joined another group, then another, until an offer to join an Irish Showband (The Bluebeats) came my way. The only reason I joined was they were professional. I said goodbye to the shirt factory where I worked, and went to live in Glascow where The Bluebeats were based. After a year and a few months later, we returned to Belfast, and went our separate ways.
I joined The Shannon Showband. Four months later and this time I had to live in Headingly, Leeds. We played working men’s clubs, Irish Ballrooms, and some Irish pubs. It all fizzled out after a year and a half, and I went back to Belfast.
I joined a blues group called Shades of Blue after their guitarist had left. A young man called Gary Moore.
Through Shades of Blue, I met John Farrell, a singer from a Dublin group called The Movement. John was going to be the singer with a new young modern Irish Showband called The Dreams. He said I should go to Dublin and audition for the guitar slot. I took the chance and got it.
After a year and a few months, I left The Dreams and decided to form a group. I called it Thin Lizzy…