Gordon Giltrap

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Gordon Giltrap

Gordon Giltrap.png
Giltrap in 2019
Background information
Born (1948-04-06) April 6, 1948 (age 71)
Brenchley, Kent
GenresProgressive rock,[1] classical,[1] folk,[1] Celtic[1]
Occupation(s)Musician, composer

Gordon Giltrap, MBE (born 6 April 1948 in Brenchley, Kent) is an English acoustic and electric guitarist and composer. His music crosses several genres. He has been described as "one of the most revered guitarists of his generation" who has "drawn praise from fellow musicians like Marillion's Steve Rothery and Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore."[1]

Life and career[edit]

Giltrap started to learn the guitar at the age of twelve. Never receiving any formal tuition on the instrument, he gradually developed his own style and technique. His musical career started to take off in the 1960s, when he played on the folk scene in London alongside contemporaries such as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Mike Oldfield.

At the age of eighteen, Giltrap signed to Transatlantic Records. In 1968 he released his first album simply entitled 'Gordon Giltrap' (performing guitar and vocals). On the very first track on this album, 'Gospel Song' he revealed a very aggressive strumming style (double strumming[2] which later became his trademark) and which was heavily influenced by Pete Townshend.[3] In April 1969, he joined the Buskers' Tour of the UK, headlined by one-man band Don Partridge. Later he joined with Partridge to found acoustic rock group Accolade, where Giltrap played lead guitar and penned several compositions, but he left in 1970 sometime after recording their first album.[4] While popular on the folk and university circuit, Giltrap reached a turning point and received much greater recognition during the 1970s. During this time Giltrap started to concentrate on more purely instrumental pieces, and in 1976 released the album Visionary, based on the art and poetry of William Blake.

The success of this album prompted Giltrap to move on from the singer-songwriter approach and to form the Gordon Giltrap Band, which toured extensively in the UK at that time. His follow-up album Perilous Journey consolidated his success, being named one of the best albums of 1977 by The Sunday Times. It peaked in the UK Albums Chart at No. 29.[5] A single taken from the album, "Heartsong", received extensive airplay and reached No. 21 in the UK Singles Chart.[5] The track was later used as the theme tune of the BBC TV series Holiday. Another of Giltrap's tracks, "The Carnival", was used as the theme to ITV's holiday programme Wish You Were Here...?.

Giltrap's next album, Fear of the Dark, was released in 1978. Iron Maiden, whose future drummer Nicko McBrain played on the 1973 album by Giltrap, used the same title for a later album, and the font in their logo is quite similar to the "Gordon Giltrap" logo on the Fear of the Dark album.[6]

By the end of the 1970s he had been commissioned to write a number of notable pieces, such as the classically inspired The Brotherhood, based on the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, and The Eye of the Wind Rhapsody,[7] an orchestral work celebrating the exploration of the New World by British sailing ships. In the 1990s Giltrap played a key role in Cliff Richard's Heathcliff musical, playing the musical narrator. He also composed a number of pieces for the show.

In late 2009, Giltrap started "Three Parts Guitar", a four-date world tour with the classical guitarist Raymond Burley and the jazz guitarist John Etheridge.

For two years, around 1997,[when?] Giltrap wrote a regular acoustic column for Total Guitar magazine. An anthology of 26 of these articles is published in Total Giltrap,[8] a book with an accompanying CD on which he plays the studies and pieces. Giltrap is a regular columnist for Acoustic magazine.

In August 2012, he became product ambassador for Guitar Practiced [sic] Perfectly.[9]

He is described as innovative in his biography at AllMusic.[10]

Giltrap was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours, "for services to music and to charity".[11]


Giltrap cites Hank Marvin, the Beatles, Pete Townshend, Donovan, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Julian Bream, John Williams, Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams as his main musical influences.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Interview: Gordon Giltrap". M Magazine. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  2. ^ "General News May 2011".
  3. ^ Pilkington, Steve. Perilous Journey.
  4. ^ Accolade, Capitol Records / Columbia SCX6405 (1970)
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 227. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ "Gordon Giltrap". www.giltrap.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Gordon Giltrap and Friends at the Symphony Hall", Live Recording (2006), La Cooka Ratcha, Cat. No. LCVP160CD
  8. ^ Giltrap, Gordon (2002). Total Giltrap – Guitar Encounters of the Fingerstyle Kind, Mel Bay, ISBN 0-7866-5676-X
  9. ^ "Gordon Giltrap teams up with Guitar Practised Perfectly"
  10. ^ Hill, Gary. "Gordon Giltrap". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  11. ^ "No. 62507". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 29 December 2018. p. N18.

External links[edit]