Gordon Giltrap was born in 1948 and started to learn the guitar at age 12. Never receiving any formal tuition on the instrument, he gradually developed his own style and technique, considered unique by many other guitarists. His musical career started to take off in the 1960s, playing live in London in the burgeoning folk scene, alongside contemporaries such as Bert Jansch (who greatly influenced the young guitarist), John Renbourn and Mike Oldfield. At age 20 he signed to Transatlantic Records and released a couple of albums. While popular on the folk and university circuit, the 1970s marked a turning point and much greater recognition. At this time Gordon 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 Gordon to give up the singer/songwriter approach and form the Gordon Giltrap Band, which toured extensively in the UK at that time. A follow-up album, Perilous Journey, consolidated his success, being named at one of the best albums of 1977 by The Sunday Times. A single taken from the album, Heartsong, received extensive airplay and became a top ten hit. The track was later used as the signature tune of the BBC TV series Holiday. The album Fear of the Dark was released in 1978.
By the end of the 70s, Gordon was recognised as one of the most accomplished composers and performers, and was commissioned to write a number of notable pieces, such as the classically inspired The Brotherhood, based on the art of the Pre-Raphaelites. In the 1990s, Gordon played a key role in Cliff Richard's Heathcliffe musical, playing the musical narrator. He also composed a number of pieces for the show.
n.b. reissues and numerous compilations omitted