Eric Robin Bell (born 3 September 1947 in East
Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a Northern Irish rock musician and
guitarist, best known as a founder member and the original guitarist of
the rock group Thin Lizzy.
Bell began his career with local groups around the Belfast area,
including the last incarnation of Them to feature Van Morrison, between
September and October 1966. He also played with a number of other bands
including Shades of Blue, The Earth Dwellers and The Bluebeats, before
joining an Irish showband named The Dreams. He left in 1969 having tired
of the showband format, and at the end of that year he formed a band
with local musicians Phil Lynott, Eric Wrixon and Brian Downey. Bell
named the group Thin Lizzy, after Tin Lizzie, a robot character in The
Wrixon left Thin Lizzy after a few months, and the remaining trio later
secured a contract with Decca Records. As lead guitarist, Bell played on
Thin Lizzy's first three albums Thin Lizzy, Shades of a Blue Orphanage
and Vagabonds of the Western World, as well as their hit single "Whiskey
in the Jar". He co-wrote a number of songs with Lynott and Downey,
including "The Rocker" which became a live favorite throughout the
band's career. He also composed one song on his own, "Ray Gun", from
their first album, Thin Lizzy.
Although Thin Lizzy gained in popularity during the early 1970s, the
pressures of recording, touring and the excesses of the rock star
lifestyle began to take their toll. He left the band after a New Year's
Eve concert in 1973, after throwing his guitar into the air in the
middle of the concert, pushing the amplifiers into the audience and
storming off stage. He stated later that he had no regrets about
leaving: "I really had to leave because of ill-health. It was
exhaustion, and the majority of things that were available to me... I
couldn't really handle it." He was temporarily replaced by Gary Moore.
The Noel Redding Band
In 1974, after a brief period fronting his own Eric Bell Band, Bell
was recruited by ex-Jimi Hendrix
sideman Noel Redding, along with keyboardist Dave Clarke and drummer Les
Sampson, to form The Noel Redding Band. Bell was initially unsure of the
musical direction Redding was taking, but went on to record two albums
with the group before they split in 1976. A third album of unused tracks
was released in 1995. Bell composed the song "Love and War" for the
second album, Blowin'.
The 1980s and Mainsqueeze
Eric Bell and Bo Diddley performing with
Mainsqueeze in Novi Sad, former Yugoslavia, 27 February 1984. In 1980,
Bell reunited with Thin Lizzy to record a tribute song to Jimi Hendrix,
"Song for Jimmy" [sic], which was released as an orange flexi disc and
given away with Flexipop Magazine in August 1981. It was later included
on the Thin Lizzy Vagabonds, Kings, Warriors, Angels box set in 2002.
Bell also appeared as a guest on Thin Lizzy's final tour in 1983, and
the accompanying live album, Life.
Bell had also reactivated his own band in the late 1970s, and
released an E.P. in 1981.
Bell subsequently joined saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith's
eight-piece blues rock ensemble Mainsqueeze. They toured Europe,
recorded a live album in 1983, and later toured as Bo Diddley's backing
group, recording the Hey... Bo Diddley:
In Concert album in 1986.
Bell has continued to perform and record with the Eric Bell Band
throughout the 1990s and 2000s, releasing several albums. He has also
recorded with the Barrelhouse Brothers.
In 2005, he joined Gary Moore onstage to perform "Whiskey in the Jar"
at the Phil Lynott tribute concert "The Boy Is Back in Town" in the
Point Theatre, Dublin. This was released on a DVD called One Night in
Dublin: A Tribute to Phil Lynott. In 2010, Bell moved from London where
he had lived for many years to his new home in West Cork, Ireland.
Source: Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)