Today we remember Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher on the 20th anniversary of his death.
Rory was born in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal on the 2nd March 1948. When a wee lad, Rory’s family moved to Cork where he discovered blues music on American Forces Radio. By the time he was 21, he was recognised as one of the finest guitarists in the world. In 1971, the UK music paper Melody Maker voters gave Gallagher top spot over Eric Clapton (correctly).
Legend has it that when Jimi Hendrix was asked what it felt like to be the best guitar player in the world, he responded “I don’t know. Ask Rory Gallagher.” This story highlighting the legend that the unassuming Gallagher became.
Off stage, Gallagher was described as painfully shy, something his adoring audiences found hard to believe. On stage, he was one of the most electrifying artists that ever played a Fender Stratocaster playing marathon concerts of more than three hours, night after night. Gallagher first broke through with Taste (drummer John Wilson, bassist Richard McCracken). The band played a blistering set at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival (where Hendrix also performed), returning for seven encores!
“Artistic differences” saw the demise of this power blues trio, but Gallagher went on to have a lengthy career selling more than 30 million records in one of the most hard gigging careers of any music legend.
Although, he toured the US more than twenty times, Gallagher never made it big in the world’s largest market. Some experts attribute this to the fact that he was not interested in developing commercial, radio friendly, three minute material. The gentle giant of Irish blues died in London on 14th of June 1995 from complications following a liver transplant required following long term use of prescription medication and alcohol.
Rory is buried in St Oliver's Cemetery on the Clash Road near Cork City. His headstone is a replica of an award he received in 1972 for International Guitarist of the Year.
The best way to remember this great man - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33Jaodra7AY