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Famous Like Me > Composer > G > Rory Gallagher

Profile of Rory Gallagher on Famous Like Me

Name: Rory Gallagher  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 2nd March 1949
Place of Birth: Ballyshannon, Ireland
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Rory Gallagher - Munich, Germany 1975

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 appearing 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 went solo (dropping the band's name and hiring another bassist, Gerry McAvoy, and various drummers, the most notable being Rod De'Ath) and 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.

At times a painfully shy and humble man Rory never married and had no children, instead thought to have devoted his life to his music, especially the blues. Steadfastly refusing ever to release singles of his music 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 the UK but internationally. Generally regarded as one of 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 asked Rory to join 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 continued touring. His final performance, by a visibly unwell man, was in January 1995 in Holland. Rory Gallagher died in London on 14th June 1995 from complications following a liver transplant.

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


  • I was with Free when I first saw Rory, and I remember thinking: "God, what I wouldn't do to have that guy in this band."
Paul Rogers, Bad Company
  • A beautiful man and an amazing guitar player. We'll miss him very much.
The Edge, U2
  • Rory was a really big influence. One of the all-time great guitar players. Playing with him in LA was one of my biggest thrills ever.
  • Rory was a beautiful man. I've never met anybody whose spoken badly of him.
Mark Feltham, Rory's hatmonica player during his final years of performing
  • Rory's death really upset me. He was such a nice guy and a great player.
Jimmy Page
  • One of the top ten players of all time, but more importantly one of the top ten good guys.
Bono, U2
  • Rory was such a purist. He wouldn't sell out. He wouldn't do singles, he didn't want to do videos. How many people in the music business today would have that kind of stand? It's so dangerous.
Gary Moore


Official releases

Rory Gallagher - 1971
Deuce - 1971
Live In Europe - 1972
Blueprint - 1973
Tattoo - 1973
BBC Sessions - 1974
Irish Tour '74 - 1974
Against The Grain - 1975
Calling Card - 1976
Photo Finish - 1978
Top Priority - 1979
Stage Struck - 1980
Jinx - 1982
Defender - 1987
Fresh Evidence - 1990
Meeting With The G-Man - 2003


Etched In Blue - 1998
Let's Go To Work (Box set) - 2001
Wheels Within Wheels - 2003
Big Guns - The Very Best Of Rory Gallagher - 2005

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Rory Gallagher