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Rory Gallagher
One of the greatest rock guitarists of all time

About Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher was one of the most highly regarded musicians to come out of Ireland. He was a brilliant guitarist, among the world's very best, and wrote some great rock and blues rock music. He lived for his music and had a very strong-minded determination to stay true to his musical instincts and never compromised his independent spirit. He was in his element when playing live on stage and was a very exciting player to watch. His music and playing have inspired many well known rockers and over a decade after his death he still has a huge loyal fanbase many who travel from all over the world to attend festivals devoted to his music such as the annual festival in Rory's birthplace, Ballyshannon (festival website).

The following is adapted from the Rory Gallagher biography on Wikipedia (see original):

Rory Gallagher (1948-1995) was an Irish blues rock guitarist, born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and raised in County Cork. He is regularly credited as one of the most influential Irish rock and blues musicians of all time.

Life and works

His first bands were showbands which played the popular hits of the day. In 1965 he turned the showband The Impact into an R'n'B group which played gigs in Ireland and Spain. He formed Taste in 1966, but the line-up which became legendary was formed in 1967, featuring his guitar and vocals, the jazz-tinged drumming of John Wilson and intricate bass playing of Richard McCracken. Recordings of the earlier version of Taste are still available and it's interesting to compare Rory's rudimentary guitar playing to the virtuosity that became evident fairly soon after in the later Taste. This was the group who released two studio albums, Taste and On the Boards, and made two live recordings showing the band at its incendiary best, Live at Montreux and Live at the Isle of Wight. The latter appeared a long time after the band broke up, famously, at that same Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. A legend of blues music, Rory had the fortune to play with many of the genre's biggest stars, and some of his best work was in collaboration with Muddy Waters on tracks recorded in London in the early '70s.

Rory then went solo, dropping the band's name and hiring another bassist, Gerry McAvoy, and various drummers, the most notable being Rod De'Ath. He produced more than a dozen albums, among them Rory Gallagher and Deuce from 1971, Blueprint and Tattoo from 1973, Irish Tour from 1974, 1975's Against the Grain, featuring his old worn out looking Fender Strat on the cover, and Calling Card in 1976.

A shy and humble man, Rory never married and had no children. Instead he is thought to have devoted his life to his music, especially the blues. He played and recorded what he said was "in me all the time, and not just something I turn on ...". Though he sold over 30 million albums world wide it was his marathon live performances that won him greatest acclaim. His passion and skill for the blues is well documented in the 1974 film "Irish Tour '74" directed by Tony Palmer.

In 1972 he was voted Melody Maker's Top Musician of the Year, dethroning Eric Clapton. His album Live in Europe has been a big selling album not only in Ireland but also internationally. Generally regarded as one of the top ten guitarists ever, many of today's top musicians, including The Edge from U2, Slash of Guns N' Roses fame, Johnny Marr of the Smiths and Brian May of Queen cite Rory as an inspiration in their formative musical years. It is also well documented that the Rolling Stones auditioned Rory for the band as their permanent guitarist in the '70s but he refused on the basis that it was against all he believed in terms of his own name and style.

Rory lived for a time in Belgium and from the late 1980s suffered increasingly poor health yet he continued touring. His final performance, by a visibly unwell man, was in February 1995 in the Netherlands. Rory Gallagher died in London on 14th June 1995 from complications following a liver transplant.

Rory's Stratocaster

Rory was always associated with his famous well-worn sunburst Stratocaster, which currently resides in the custody of his brother Donal Gallagher who has officially retired it. It was reputedly the first in Ireland, ordered by a 'show band' member who changed his mind about the colour and then sold to Rory for just shy of ú100. The guitar was never intentionally modified, but years of touring and stage use have instilled it with many idiosyncracies. The most notable effect that years of touring have had on the strat is the almost complete removal of the guitar's sunburst finish, though being left out in the rain in a ditch for days after being stolen from Rory also had a large effect on the strat's condition. Other quirks include a 'hump' in the scratch plate which moves the neck pickup closer to the neck on the bass side and a replacement of all of the pickups, though this replacement was due to damage rather than a perception of a tonal inadequacy. Reproductions of the guitar have recently been sold by Fender, though with smaller frets and lower action than the original. These reproductions, though accurate in the parts used down to the single white dot used to replace a clay dot at the 12th fret, have had criticism aimed at the quality of their 'relic' paint job.

Other Instruments

Rory owned a number of other instruments, though he never amassed anything like one of the giant guitar collections typical of blues guitarists. These other instruments include:


"Playing on stage with him in LA was one of the biggest thrills for me ever."
- Slash (Guns 'n' Roses)

"A beautiful man and an amazing guitar player."
- The Edge (U2)

"It was all about him playing the guitar, it got into your soul."
- Cameron Crowe (Writer/Film Director)

"In the 70s he built himself a reputation as a live performer of tremendous vitality."
"He was even headhunted to join The Rolling Stones."
- Niall Stokes (Editor, Hot Press)

"One of the things that was crucial for me I got from Rory Gallagher, which was the idea of, like, being a guitar player for life and living it."
- Johnny Marr (The Smiths/Johnny Marr and the Healers)

"So these couple of kids come up, who's me and my mate, and say 'How do you get your sound Mr. Gallagher?' and he sits and tells us. So I owe Rory Gallagher my sound."
- Brian May (Queen)

"Rory Gallagher always ploughed his own furrow, touring constantly and turning his back on commercial success to pursue his own music."
- Gary Moore

"An uncompromisingly serious musician"
- The Times, 16th June 1995






Bullfrog Blues - France 1980

Million Miles Away - Irish Tour 1974

Messing with the kid - 1994

For the Last Time - Live 1971

Big Guns - 1984 Belfast


Bob Kutchko wrote on 2018-07-09 00:00:00:
Sorry about the repeated posts. The posting process seemed stuck. Anyways, Rory is the BEST!
Bob Kutchko wrote on 2018-07-09 00:00:00:
Flew my family from the U.S. to Ireland for the 2018 Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival in his birthplace, Ballyshannon. They loved it. Four days of wonderful music and memories! Rory remains my favorite musician of all time.
Belinda wrote on 2017-03-29 00:00:00:
Greatest guitarist EVER. Nobody touches him. ABSOLUTELY THE GREATEST. RORY RULES! 🎸💚👑🍀
Tony O Connor wrote on 2015-03-07 00:00:00:
Best Guitarist to emerge from Ireland. Seen him play in the Opera House, Everyman, City Hall, Lee Fields, CIT in Cork over the years. He loved returning to his home town
Bernie Ryan wrote on 2015-01-11 00:00:00:
Correction "ON the Boards" by Taste.
Bernie Ryan wrote on 2015-01-11 00:00:00:
I love Rory Gallagher. I have the original album by the Taste "Across the Boards" in my attic.
John Mack wrote on 2014-09-23 00:00:00:
The whole universe sadly misses the one & only Rory Gallagher I know because I definitely do. Many great masters are keeping him company up there.
Denise Wilden wrote on 2014-04-01 00:00:00:
Rory will never be forgotten as long as those who love his music, his talent, his brilliance keep playing his songs, keep talking about him and that way he is not dead, just standing in the wings watching things
Veres Péter wrote on 2010-05-09 00:00:00:
A legmeghatározóbb és legkreatívabb zenész akit hallottam.
Greg wrote on 2009-10-29 00:00:00:
Try not to spin in your Grave Rory, Pavesi /The Father Teds of Donegal, have not the talent to rip you off.
paul wheatley wrote on 2009-01-15 00:00:00:
My friend and i saw rory live on numerous occations over the years,mainly in scotland where we were from. last year i travelled from melboune,australia and we all went to rorys grave in cork to pay our respects and say thanks personally. an inspiration
Danny mc Taggart wrote on 2008-12-10 00:00:00:
Come to Ballyshannon in June for Rory fest, you wont be disappointed.
BoB McGregor wrote on 2008-01-16 00:00:00:
Saw Rory in 73/74 in Glasgow Apollo. 2 Hours of pure magic. Have seen The Who, Stones, SAHB etc but nothing as great as RoRy. Still listen to Irish Tour & live in Europe when I feel like a serious blast. Absolutely brilliant
Jay Jay wrote on 2007-09-20 00:00:00:
Born at the Rock Hospital, Ballyshannon and he was the first Irish Rockstar. He was the first and the best & led the path for all the other Irish greats. Rory's influence & legacy will live on & rock on forever. To help I look after Rory G tribute bands. wrote on 2007-08-06 00:00:00:
dave b. wilson wrote on 2007-05-24 00:00:00:
Could someone please help me. I'm looking to buy a new "Against the Grain" CD. Where do I buy one, if I can't by one online. I prefer to pay by check or money order. Thanks.
N. Rapelje wrote on 2007-05-20 00:00:00:
I'm 45 years old and have only heard Rory's music for the first time. I've played the CD for 3 days straight in my going to work. Now I've found this sight looking for music sources for my son. There is very little good rock music left in the States.
Michael Maher wrote on 2007-04-15 00:00:00:
the best of all time
James wrote on 2007-02-17 00:00:00:
Im fairly young by im old enough to realize what he brought to this world and what influence he brought on others.
John Ganjamie wrote on 2007-02-03 00:00:00:
There was Rory.............then there was the rest. RoryON!!
Gary from Toronto Canada wrote on 2007-01-26 00:00:00:
Saw Rory play in a bar in Toronto in the 70's-a sweet and vivid memory to this day.
Gene Stephens wrote on 2006-12-10 00:00:00:
i have been a fan for over 36 years.
kevin flynn wrote on 2006-12-06 00:00:00:
it was all about the vibe that rory gave you. brilliant.
eduardo finn wrote on 2006-09-16 00:00:00:
I'm so glad to see Gallagher on this page, specially to see(and listen) a Irish rocker so singular. Congratulations.Excuse me because my English it's only so little.
evan wrote on 2006-09-11 00:00:00:
there will never be another rip rory
" Jenny Callahan " wrote on 2006-05-24 00:00:00:
Rory is the absolute BEST!! I dont give a flying F**K what anybody says! He is the reason I am RARELY impressed with musicians anymore. Forget Clapton, Page...etc... Rory changed my life and many other's too!
s. conner wrote on 2005-08-30 00:00:00:
the best we have ever seen
20$Bill and Sabine wrote on 2005-08-10 00:00:00:
best and the greatist of all time LEST WE FORGET Check out
Sean McMahon wrote on 2005-08-10 00:00:00:
Check out
Barry Mc Cabe wrote on 2005-07-18 00:00:00:
That heading just about says it all. Rory made me want to become a musician and I had the pleasure of playing with him in the famous Paradiso club in Amsterdam, Holland!
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