Gordon Giltrap


musical style: 

photograph of Gordon Giltrap

Gordon Giltrap (born 6 April, 1948 in Brenchley, Kent) is a renowned English acoustic and electric guitarist and composer, whose musical styles cross multiple genres, including folk, blues, folk rock, pop, classical and rock. Giltrap has released 25 original studio albums, plus numerous live albums and compilations.

Over the years, Giltrap has worked with an amazingly broad range of artists, from rock musicians - including Brian May, Rick Wakeman and Midge Ure to the jazz virtuoso Martin Taylor, the classical guitarist Raymond Burley and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Giltrap has developed a unique guitar playing technique, teaching himself a hybrid technique of plectrum and little finger, in doing so creating the individual sound that is his trademark.

Gordon was born on 6 April 1948, at the British Home for Mothers and Babies in Brenchley, Kent, UK. The son of a labourer, he grew up in an austere but protective community of terraced houses in Deptford, south-east London.

His obsession with stringed instruments began nine years later, when a friend turned up at the house with an out-of-tune Spanish guitar. Keen to encourage his new hobby, his parents bought him a plastic ukulele with a picture of Elvis on the headstock, then a Martin Coletti archtop jazz guitar with a sunburst finish and a brown canvas case.

Gordon’s first band
Gordon joined his first band when barely in his teens, and relished the opportunity to play songs by his idols - Cliff Richard, The Shadows and The Everly Brothers.

He set his sights on Art College, but bowed to his father’s insistence that he learn “a trade”, and unenthusiastically grafted his way through a series of unrewarding jobs.

He continued to play the guitar in his spare time, and in November 1966, his individuality and passion earned him a recording contract with Transatlantic.

Gordon served his apprenticeship as a singer/songwriter on the London folk club circuit, and his self-titled debut album was released in 1968. Each subsequent album broke new ground, and he developed a extraordinary repertoire while establishing a reputation for thrilling live performances.
In the late Seventies, Gordon enjoyed a brief spell as a pop star, with a hit album (Perilous Journey) and two hit singles (‘Heartsong’ and ‘Fear of the Dark’).

Heartsong was nominated for an Ivor Novello award and is fondly remembered as the theme tune to the BBC’s Holiday programme.

‘Fear of the Dark’ was the first 12-inch colour picture disc to be released in the UK and featured a heavily-made-up and unflattering image of what was then being marketed as The Gordon Giltrap Band.

All the musical trends at the time were moving away from acoustic music, and Gordon retreated gracefully from the pop spotlight.

In 1996, Gordon realised a dream of playing guitar alongside Cliff Richard, on stage in Cliff’s West End musical Heathcliff. As well as performing in the role of The Troubadour, Gordon arranged the overture and wrote two pieces of music.

Gordon has been a keen supporter of arthritis and leukaemia charities. His contribution was recognised in 2000, when he was inducted into the oldest showbusiness charity in history, The Grand Order of Water Rats.

His first performance DVD - Live At Huntingdon Hall - was released in 2003.

In 2005, Gordon staged a special concert at Birmingham Symphony Hall, performing his own compositions as a solo artist, with guest musicians from contrasting disciplines, and with the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra.

Other more recent projects include 3 Parts Guitar with John Etheridge and Ray Burley, which performed a series of concerts in 2009. 2010 saw the inclusion of Clive Carroll in this supergroup and the album 4 Parts Guitar was released in early 2011.

Gordon’s music continues to evade categorisation, influenced as it is by the rock guitar of Hank Marvin and Pete Townshend, the folk guitar of Bert Jansch and Clive CarrollJohn Renbourn, and the classical guitar of Julian Bream and John Williams.

Forthcoming "prog rock" album

Gordon has just completed a new album with Oliver Wakeman for the first time in a number of years. The name of the album is "Ravens and Lullabies" and it will be released on 4th March 2013

MIA awards 2011

Guitar Techniques Magazine has included in their list of nominations for ACOUSTIC GUITAR OF THE YEAR the Gordon Giltrap Vintage VE 2000GG signature guitar.


Complete list of recordings
1968 Gordon Giltrap Transatlantic TRA 175
1969 Portrait Transatlantic TRA 202
1971 A Testament Of Time MCA MKPS 2020
1973 Giltrap Philips 6308 175
1976 Visionary Electric TRIX 2
1977 Perilous Journey Electric TRIX 4
1978 The Early Days Allegro ALC 4052 Cassette only
1978 Fear Of The Dark Electric TRIX 7
1980 Performance K-tel NE 1081 Compilation
1981 The Peacock Party PVK GIL 1
1981 Live Cube ICS 1001 LIVE
1981 The Platinum Collection cube PLAT 1005 compilation
1982 Airwaves PVK GIL 2
1987 Elegy Modern Music MODEM 1001
1987 A Midnight Clear Modern Music MODEM 1006 Christmas Carols
1989 One To One Nico Polo NP002 with Ric Sanders
1990 Guitarist (vinyl) Music Maker Records MML 88006-6 compilation
1990 Guitarist (CD) Music Maker Records CMML 88006-6 compilation
1990 The Peacock Party (CD) BBC Enterprises CDPT 507
1991 Elegy / Perilous Journey BBC Prestige CDPM 850 2 LPs on 1 CD
1991 Visionary / Fear Of The Dark BBC Prestige CDPM 851 2 LPs on 1 CD
1991 The Best of Gordon Giltrap Prestige CDSGP005 compilation
1991 A Matter Of Time Prestige CDSGP007 with Martin Taylor
1992 The Eye Of The Wind Accolade EYE T1 Cassette only. Birmingham Schools Concert Orch.
1992 The Solo Album Prestige CDSGP021 compilation
1992 On A Summer's Night Music Maker Records CMMR 924 LIVE at Warwick Folk Festival
1993 Gordon Giltrap / Portrait Transatlantic / Demon Records TDEMCD 15 2 LPs on 1 CD
1995 Music For The Small Screen Munchkin Records MRCD1
1995 Live At The BBC BBC Worldwide WHISCD009 LIVE
1995 The Brotherhood Suite Munchkin Records Cassette only. Nottmshire Education String Orch.
1997 Gordon Giltrap / Portrait (reissue) Transatlantic / Castle ESM CD 526 2 LPs on 1 CD
1998 Troubadour K-TEL ECD 3390
1999 Visionary (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP114CD
1999 Perilous Journey (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP113CD
1999 Fear Of The Dark (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP112CD
1999 One To One (reissue) Terra Nova TERR CD017 with Ric Sanders
2000 Live At Oxford (CD) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP115CD LIVE
2000 Part of the Picture Snapper Music SMD CD 297 2 CD compilation
2000 A Midnight Clear (CD) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP106CD Christmas Carols
2000 Music For The Small Screen (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP110CD
2000 Airwaves (CD) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP108CD
2000 The Solo Album (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP111CD compilation
2000 Janschology Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP124CD
2001 Collection Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP117CD 2 CD compilation. 1 Studio, 1 LIVE CD
2001 Elegy (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP107CD
2001 The Peacock Party (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP105CD
2001 Troubadour 2CD (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP147CD Original CD plus Acoustic Version
2001 On A Summer's Night (reissue) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP109CD LIVE at Warwick Folk Festival
2002 Giltrap and Taylor (reissue) P3 Music P3M003 with Martin Taylor, reissue of A Matter Of Time
2002 Under This Blue Sky Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP150CD
2003 Gordon Giltrap Band Live 1981 Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP148CD LIVE
2003 Fingers Of Fire Arc recordings no cat. No. LIVE
2003 Remember This Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP155CD
2004 Double Vision Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP158CD with Raymond Burley
2004 Live At Ambergate Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP156CD Binaural Recording
2004 The River Sessions River Records RIVERCD036 LIVE in 1979
2004 Drifter Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP159CD 2 CD - 1 CD LIVE
2005 A Testament Of Time (CD) Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP157CD
2005 A Taste of Classical Giltrap Wates group no cat. No. with Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra
2006 Captured From A Point In Time hypertension HYP 6251 LIVE tracks
2006 Symphony Hall Birmingham Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP160CD Double-sided LIVE CD and DVD
2007 Sixty Minutes with Gordon Giltrap Voiceprint VP6003CD compilation
2007 Secret Valentine Voiceprint / La Cooka Ratcha LCVP162CD
2007 As It Happens…. Voiceprint VP458CD LIVE Concert in full
2009 From Brush and Stone Voiceprint VP445CD with Rick Wakeman. Early copies with bonus DVD
2009 Double Visions (reissue) Floating World Records FLOATB6025 with Raymond Burley
2010 Troubadour CD & Live at Ventnor Winter Gardens DVD Demon Edsel EDSX3007 LIVE DVD
2010 Music For The Small Screen & The Solo Album Demon Edsel EDSD2073 Also available digitally VEXEDSD2073
2010 The Peacock Party & Airwaves Demon Edsel EDSD2074 Also available digitally VEXDIGI317
2010 Remember This & Janschology Demon Edsel EDSS 1043 Also available digitally VEXDIGI318 Read more about Gordon Giltrap on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

Gear used by Gordon Giltrap

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