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Rory Gallagher

For a career that was cut short by illness and a premature death, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Rory Gallagher sure accomplished a lot in the blues music world. Although Gallagher didn't tour the U.S. nearly enough, spending most of his time in Europe, he was known for his no-holds-barred, marathon live shows at clubs and theaters around the United States.

Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Irish Republic, on March 2, 1948. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Cork City in the south, and at age nine he became fascinated with American blues and folk singers he heard on the radio. An avid record collector, he had a wide range of influences, including Leadbelly, Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker. Gallagher would always try to mix some simple country blues songs into his recordings.

Gallagher began his recording career after moving to London, when he formed a trio called Taste. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1969 in England and later picked up for U.S. distribution by Atco/Atlantic. Between 1969 and 1971, with producer Tony Colton behind the board, Gallagher recorded three albums with Taste before they split up. Gallagher began performing under his own name in 1971, after recording his 1970 debut, Rory Gallagher for Polydor Records in the U.K. The album was picked up for U.S. distribution by Atlantic Records, and later that year he recorded Deuce, also released by Atlantic in the U.S.

His prolific output continued, as he followed up Deuce with Live in Europe (1972) and Blueprint and Tattoo, both in 1973. Irish Tour 1974, like Live in Europe, did a good job of capturing the excitement of his live shows on tape, and he followed that with Calling Card for Chrysalis in 1976, and Photo Finish and Jinx for the same label in 1978 and 1982. By this point Gallagher had made several world tours, and he took a few years rest from the road. He got back into recording and performing live again with the 1987 release (in the U.K.) of Defender. His last album, Fresh Evidence, was released in 1991 on the Capo/I.R.S. label. Capo was his own record and publishing company that he set up in the hopes of eventually exposing other great blues talents.

Some of Gallagher's best work on record wasn't under his own name; it's stuff he recorded with Muddy Waters on The London Sessions (Chess, 1972) and with Albert King on Live (RCA/Utopia). Gallagher made his last U.S. tours in 1985 and 1991, and admitted in interviews that he'd always been a guitarist who fed off the instant reaction and feedback a live audience can provide. In a 1991 interview, he told this writer: "I try to sit down and write a Rory Gallagher song, which generally happens to be quite bluesy. I try to find different issues, different themes and different topics that haven't been covered before...I've done songs in all the different styles...train blues, drinking blues, economic blues. But I try to find a slightly different angle on all these things. The music can be very traditional, but you can sort of creep into the future with the lyrics."

Gallagher passed away from complications owing to liver transplant surgery on June 14, 1995, at age 47. For a good introduction to his unparalleled prowess as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, pick up Irish Tour 1974, Calling Card, or Fresh Evidence, all available on compact disc. ~ Richard Skelly, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Wow Rory was one of, if not the best that ever done it..........
Saw him in hole in the wall bar at Ohio State wearing faded jeans and worn out cowboy boots. He rocked our socks off.great player
I love Rory G, he's one of my favorite artists but I can see why he didn't want Notes From San Francisco released.
kevin-burns9
Let it go rory tattooed lady namer fantastic. ,',pkb
One of the best
wegoweko
Had the privilege of seeing him around 2003. He warmed up for Rush. Signals tour Notre Dame ACC, 5th row. What a surprise when the warm up blew away the headliner. I was hooked.
kevin-burns9
Rory plays a excellent stratocast/ what a true showman/met rory at he park west in Chicago 1984/ top shelf guitarist. Kb
Greatness
Aaaaaw, MAAAAN!!!!! :'(:'(:'(:'( : ' ( I t seems like guitar giants have a sad tendency, more than other musicians, 2 leave us way 2 soon........ . . . : ' ( : ' ( : ' ( : ' ( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . & I'm still here,
banging on my drums with far more enthusiasm than talent, when I can get my
946-yr-old hands 2 work. SIGH........ . .
I've loved Rory from the first two albums I bought Calling Card, and Photo Finish. Also the only time I had the pleasure of hearing him live was in 79 when he warmed up for Rush, thought he was Canadian then.He impressed me more live with the simple 3 piece band. A remarkable person and performer, I miss his music dearly. Although I still have those original albums, and than some. I am 50 and still realy enjoy the songs still, and spread it to younger people also. He's great, will miss him even
In my 45 yrs of concert attendance of hundreds of groups I've never had the respect of any musician more than Rory...... saw him 4 times at the old Waldorf in SF and the last time was in 1990 in a very small club in San Jose...... Gawd how I miss his honesty an his off the top guitar playing..... broke my heart when he passed, rock on Rory I will continue to broadcast your music to the younger generation as often as I can!!
No doubt that Rory G was well loved as not only an incredible talent and showman, but as a down to earth human being. He is missed.
ron.paulino
Saw Rory Gallagher 5 times in different clubs up close and personal in NYC in the 70's... Every time it got better and better. Never saw a bad show. One of those not to well known artist in the United States that you were sorry you never saw him live! But if you saw a live show.. you know that he was really one of those great showman and up there with the great guitar players. I Know I Was One Of The Lucky Ones !!! Still listen to his LP's ROCK ON RORY >>>>>>>>>>>
Interviewer goes" hey Jimmy what's it like to be the best guitarist alive? " Hendrix goes" I dunno, ask Rory Gallagher" makes me happy and tolerant of humanity when heroes arise like this. The genuine article hail Rory! I hope he's having a drink with Jimmy having a spliff somewhere in the multiverse!
peak375
I can rememember the day when I first heard that Rory passed I lived in Chicago then and I can remember that a radio station played a song of his that I dont rememeber and was blown away by the music and asked myself why I did not know of Rory in the past. I set out to find more about him and his music and found a great appreciation for his style. See you in the next world Rory!
I saw Rory in Long Beach Ca Arena in 74, He was before Fog Hat few wanted to hear Fog Hat, Most called for more Rory Gallagher. For me he was the greatest monster guitarist every.
A fantastic talent!!!! Cut too short, sadly... Heads and tails above the Eric What's His Face. Miles above. RG is an awesome player and if fate had not played it's hand, we would have had more of this brilliant guitarist!!! Why do these descriptions bring up EC (the most over rated and untalented there is...)
nice slide guitar
kvons1
@ ibiggy12161- - - y u p , What in The world --BBC sessions--ki l l e r tune!
I saw Rory at the Orpheum Theater in Wichita, KS in the mid 70s. He put on a show that was captivating. Until I saw that, I didn't know that a person could display such a level of love and energy towards his or her passion. I was 17 at the time, just before I left to go to Germany. I count Rory as one of the best musicians I have ever witnessed. And he was happy about it! I remember his joy in performing.
Where Is Against The Grain???. One of his best!!!!.
Orgasm every time this track is playing
I don’t know how perfect a track can be ♡
candiekay30
This is the first time I have ever heard of him and he kicks but on that guitar!! Listening to Pandora at work.......
djmcinto0
Lucky enough to see him a few times in the Detroit area.... Fantastic shows!
roryos0
Only guy who would follow Ted Nugent at 2 festivals I went to!! Who is this guy????? but he held his own and after that we knew !!! Fan ever since!!
RIP Rory, thanks for the wonderful tunes!
W t a concert in Dayton Ohio to see Savrow Brown. Rory played and kicked a**.
Walked into a college auditorium in Germany and the band turned out to be Taste. Just had bought On The Boards. Pleasant surprise and a chat with Rory backstage. An inspiration to all of us guitar players.
bevbevan
I had the extreme pleasure of attending 4 shows of Rory Gallagher, dating from 1972 to 1977 or 78. Ranks right up at the top of the list, which includes bands like The Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Creedence, etc. Those were great shows but Gallagher trumps them all.
Grateful to have seen Rory in 1985 at a club on the east side of Detroit. Harpo's, I believe. A powerful and influential experience for a 19 year old blues fan.
What in the world , live . must go there all
First heard of Rory Gallagher in a record shop in Amsterdam 1976 and they had his Irish Tour '74 album playing. I couldn't believe I had never heard of him before. Listen to A Million Miles Away off that album and tell me it's not a great song. Been a big fan ever since. Sucked he died young sort like Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Somebody from Pandora needs to contact me, what am I doing wrong in trying to select individual tracks, This station will let me select artist and genre but not tracks I want to hear. Just shoot me now.
kvons1
Amazing how many people have never heard of Rory Gallagher--- - a n o t h e r true great tragically gone too soon--many years now. RIP: R.G.
hodgdons7
Been a fan for years. Another great ... we lost too soon.
Named my Son after Rory Gallagher.
My one and only Rory G concert was 40 years ago this month. He left the entire audience with dropped jaws, looking at each other and saying Wow, who is that guy ? RIP Rory
The opening solo just brings me to my knees by its sheer aching beauty.
milosdad
There aren't many acts I regret missing but he is the top one. As I mentioned before, he is my all time favorite guitarist and I never got a chance. Looking back at the concert history for San Antonio I see he played there a couple of times and I'm not sure why I did not go. Probably $. Now I enjoy playing his music for my youngest boy who seems to have a nice love for music.
bevbevan
Rory Gallagher will always be in my top 5 of the all time greats
da65tongo
Big thx to Kev for the RG intro. I think I played Bad Penny for a week straight. Awesome ripper!
One Baaaaaaaaaaa a a a a a d d Man with a guitar!!!!!! ! Simply One of the best !!!!!!
I was stuck in Indianapolis , Indiana USA for a weekend. On a friends recommendati o n , went to a below street level blues club to see some guy I never heard of in a flannel shirt and jeans named Rory Gallagher. There wasn't even a stage, it was just a big crowded room. What a blast. By the end of the night I was his biggest fan and have been ever since. RIP
mkeenan4561
...that awesome Fender turned all the way up buzzing. Screams and starts playing Shin Kicker. Instant huge fan. Saw him 2 days later at Toads Place New Haven - Bull Frog Blues!
mkeenan4561
Like others I was introduced to Rory by accident. Saw him at the Agora ball rm West Htfd Ct late 70's when a friend said you gotta check this guy out. This club could quadruple it's size by opening up the whole building for bigger acts. Well I get there, the whole place is opened up, packed, and I'm like who is this guy?
Back then lots of bands played through huge stacks of amps. Rory comes out in a flannel shirt, plugs into a single Fender twin and The amp starts buzzing....
Saw him twice in Dallas,Fredd y King came out and Jambed with him
Lets see it was 1975/76,thin g s were kinda blurry at that time, I was stationed in San Diego and Jethro Tull was the headliner @ at a cocert held @ Balboa Park.This dude comes on before Tull and nobody is really paying any attention cause we're waiting for Tull and Party'in like crazy and Rory hits the opening notes of Tattoed Lady and for a moment there is this stunned silence and this huge roar just explodes and we go friggin nuts.That show was really something special and so was Rory
shanemorcom
great station, top music, his loss is a tragedy to music!
@jquinn - I too saw him open for RUSH on the Signal;s tour... Rather ironic, because RUSH used to open for Rory. He didn't like playing stadiums and huge arenas so much, preferring instead to play smaller venues where he could feed off the crowd's energy, and get real close and personal. Rory is my major influnce in songwriting. I sure do miss this cat. I actually visited his gravesite this year while traveling through Europe. It was a moving experience.
jquinn082
Saw him open for Rush on their Signals tour and his Jinx tour at the old New Haven Coliseum -- long gone and now a parking lot. I had never heard of him but bootlegged the show. I still have the old tapes and break them out every now and then. The recording is weak but the show is electric. It's a shame he never made it as big here as in Ireland. Rory rocks!
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