Rory Gallagher
Testimonials and Stories
From peers and fans
an email I got from a fellow artist who performed with Rory in Greece
Hi there and thanks for your wonderfull website. My name is Gene and i currently live in Australia where i have my own band called Mystery. I as you am one of the millions of fans ,but more than that i had the pleasure of being on stage with Rory in Greece in 85' and also being at his birthday party here in Australia when he came for a series of shows in 92'. He was truly one of a kind and a magnificent person. Above all his devotion to his fans was second to none. And he never forgot a face or person he ever met.When i went backstage to see him in 92 after the show, i was not expecting him to remember the guitarist from a band that supported him in Greece seven years earlier.... He looked tired ,ill and though he had requested that no fans were to see him after that show, upon hearing my name he immediately asked the stage manager to call me in. It was also his birthday that night and that was one of the reasons he wanted to be alone with his band after the show -in fact the only "outsiders" there were me ,my cousin and a guy from the BBC who was going to interview him. The promoter brought in a cake and we all wished him happy birthday. I spoke to him for a few minutes and surprised as i was he actually remembered the show in the Greek city of Thessalloniki in 85' and he even remembered the old Gibson flying-V i used that night....but he didnt remember the song we jammed on when he came on stage as we were just about to finish our set (John Mayals "all your lovi'n"....) Anyway , we took some photos together and then he was called by the manager to do the interview. I cannot describe the feelings i had that night even though we didnt get to talk much cause the BBC guy took him away for the interview in one of the rooms , but i did get him to sign seven of my CD covers (which i had with me in case he did remember me....) ,he did show me the "secret" to playing moonchild the correct way and he did promise to have my band as his support act next time he comes back to Australia. (sadly this was not to happen, two years later he passed away). His memory will not be forgoten and He will remain my main idol forever. At the back cover of my bands debute CD i have a R.I.P. note in memory of Rory and other great musicians that have passed away. My own website (www.mysteryrock.com) is almost finished and i am going to have a tribute series of pages included , in memory of Rory , my friend-colleague-hero and most of all Greatest Guitarist this Planet has ever seen. Well thats all from me. If you want to please feel free to email me and give my email out to anyone who wishes to hear in more detail about the Man i met who was the greatest of all guitarists. Keep rocking and all the best, Gene Rock   
I have seen Rory several times but the one that stands out in my mind is the Jinx Tour '82-'83. Rory was opening up for Rush (which I could have cared less about). The venue was University of Dayton in Ohio. For the next hour I stood & watched a man possessed with the blues. The intensity of his guitar, voice & body language blew me away. My bones rattled as I listened to music I have never heard played since. I was so glad to find this page & find out the truth and see that many people miss him as much as I do. Kimberly
I’ve long been a fan of guitar players.  Kim Simmonds, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, Tommy Bolin, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, & Ritchie Blackmore. They are all great musicians.  Rory Gallagher is the spoiler. An IRISH bluesman?  Lemme tell you something. Rory Gallagher is the most amazing guitarist I’ve ever seen.   Rory’s guitar playing grabs you. Solid, dissonant, chunky riffs.  Blazing, fiery solos.  Fluid slide work on the neck.  Look at Rory’s guitars.  Worn down to the bare wood.  He really worked them.  I’d never heard of Rory before I saw him open a show for Fleetwood Mac and Deep Purple in 1973.  After his surprisingly eclectic set was over, I knew I’d be a damned fool if I didn’t get into his music. On stage Rory was a delight.  Always cheerful, fun, happy to be there.   No pretense.  I have fond memories of a gig he played at the old Starwood Club on the Sunset Strip in L.A.  Rory was touring after the release of the excellent “Photo Finish” album. 
 
Rory jamming at Starwood
A concert Merville will never forget !!
The greatest guitarist ever - Rory Gallagher

He punctuated a number by roaring to the front of the stage, leaning down, and poking the neck of his guitar at some unsuspecting kids in the front.  The kids jumped back, falling all over each other. Rory grinned, and I’m there laughing not ten feet from him.  He knew that no real fan would make a grab for his guitar!  Of course when the tune was over, Rory had handshakes and handslaps for the guys, and hugs for the gals standing at the front of the hall. I watched eight of Rory’s gigs, and I would have crawled to see him play again.  Thank god he left us his music to savour. Most of the bands that were popular when Rory was around owe me an apology.  I owe Rory.  I owe him thanks for the incredible memories, and flowers on his grave.  Merville

an eamil I got from Grant Gould from Charlottesville,Va
It's a tough call, but my favorite Rory Gallagher song is still Tattoo'd Lady. It was the first song I ever heard by him and it just blew me away! A close second would be Brute Force and Ignorance which has become a personal mantra for getting the job done. My older brother saw Rory in Heidelburg, Germany in the early 70's- just Rory and a half circle of guitars... pick one and riff some! When I heard he had died, my youth officially ended, and I cried a little that night. He was pure emotion with that beat up Fender, a true original!
Grant Gould
an eamil I got from Phil O'Donoghue from New Zealand
Brilliant website mate! Like you I only found out about his tragic, uhntimely and completely "out of the blue(s)" death a year and a half after when I was searching the 'Net in the local public library. I was stunned, as if a member of my own family had died! & I couldn't believe that I hadn't heard about it till then when I was such a die-hard fan. I saw him twice in Wellington New Zealand and the first time 1975, I mangaed to get a sleep in till 11am mate to get up early and get to the head of the queue (line) at the box office! I took heaps of photos (B&W) many of which resemble some on your website so it brings back fond memories as I was in the front row. I also tape-recorded the concert ( this was before concert impresarios got real up-tight about banning cameras, vidcams and tape-recorders). I've still got the tape - pretty bass-y and quite a lot of me whooping appreciation. As well as being one of the all-time greatest blues-rock guitars ( Hey , who needs wahwah pedals and all that bollocks!?), he was also such a Mister Nice Guy, decent bloke and down-to-earth, no hype, skiting or airs and graces - just the kind of quiet, understated modest quiet achiever we like in New Zealand. I consider myself blessed to have been on the same earth as RG, twice blessed to have personally heard him twice all the way Downunder here in NZ and thrice blessed that despite his premature death, he left such a legacy of matchless Taste and Rory Gallagher music. 
Phil O'Donghue   
"The very first time I met him was probably in the Maritime in the afternoon.  I don't know if it was the very first occasion we met but often we'd be laughing about the showbands because we both hated the showbands. And Rory was saying, 'I won't be joining any of those showbands.  I'm not bald and I'm not goin' to wear one of those fucking suits'.  In those days you were either in a group or a showband and whichever side you were on you were deadly enemies.  We used to talk about the other bands at the time like Cream and Peter Green.  Because I was a little younger than him, he probably took pity on me or something."
Gary Moore - (from RoryON)
Rory at the Lonestar in NYC - 1985
These pics were
taken by 
Charlie Gili
at the 
"Lonestar Club"
in NYC
1985
No one was better on the guitar...or live...
"the lyrical beauty of the Overnight Bag solo has often moved me me to tears, it reminds me that we're all just passing through..." quote from Tom Guerra guitarist of Mambo Sons
Rory was a really big influence on me. When I was younger, I bought all of his stuff and listened to it devotedly. As far as I'm concerned, he's one of the all time great guitar players, though I mean I never went out to copy him or anything. I didn't listen to him either to study him, because I don't think you should do that really. You should just enjoy the music. And I loved Rory’s music."
“Playing with Rory in LA was one of the biggest thrills for me ever.” Slash - (from RoryON)
an eamil I got from Steve Irwin from Kansas City
I saw Rory in 74 or 75 in Kansas City.   He was opening for  ZZ Top and it was Halloween night.  He came out a played such an intense set that the crowd went crazy when he finished.   He came back and did an encore and the crowd was still going crazy for him.  Then they started booing when they started taking down his equipment and kept the booing up when they introduced ZZ Top.  He  definitely made a huge impression on a great many people that night.  Steve Irwin 
Get down Rory
These pics provided by 'Sid, from Airdrie'
I was 16 years old when I saw him alive for the first (and last) time in my life!!! He gave a FANTASTIC concert in Athens - Greece (Sept '81) in front of 40.000 people!!! IT WAS AMAZING!!! SOMETHING YOU CAN'T DESCRIBE IT IN WORDS. SOMETHING YOU CAN'T FORGET, EVEN AFTER 18 YEARS!!!

As I recall now, while I was watching his concert that night, I said to myself "HE IS GOING TO STAY ALIVE FOR EVER! WHAT A HERITAGE HE IS GOING TO LEAVE BEHIND FOR US ALL, AND FOR OUR KIDS !!"

Gallagher had and still has hundreds of fans, in Greece. I believe because he was ONE -perhaps- THE LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS in Rock music, he was not recognized as much as he deserved. 

Another reason I remember so vividly this show with Rory was an incident that happened during the show. Many fans who wanted to see the show (but could not get in because the show was sold out) started trying to crash the gates to get in. Mixed in with these fans were anarchist who only wanted to cause problems. Soon the Police came and tried to calm the riot, but only suceeded in making it more volitile. They shot tear gas into the crowd and started beating the crowds with clubs. The crowd responded by throwing rocks and bottles back at the Police. Getting out of the soccer stadium was very dangerous as many people were getting injured in the melee. The anarchist had molotov cocktails that started many fires, some cars were overturned or on fire.  ~ Triana

In a selfish way, I liked the idea that a zillion people didn't know about Rory, 'cause I went to 90% of his New York area shows in the 70's and 80's. I was at one show where Rory played a lead break in Shadow Play while he leaned up against me and my girlfriend! He was undoubtedly the greatest blues/rock player of them all. He was true to his music and never sold out--couldn't be Bought and Sold! I laugh when I hear someone say that they like blues and in the next breath admit that they never heard of Rory! It is sad though. You would think that the HOF would lead the way in formally recognizing a man like Rory. This HOF stuff shouldn't just be a popularity contest for artists that were built in studios and by marketing firms. Rory was and remained a "throw-back" blues man, that never relinquished his roots for a phoney commercial image. His raw, intense playing was what made him great and he never lost that edge like so many others of his time. Give me Rory on stage and turn it up, acoustic or electric he did justice to the early bluesmen with his raw, blazing style. He was 30's and 40's blues and 60's rock, in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. Rory was one of those rare acts you could go see in the mid-eighties and feel like you were in a small club in the late sixties. There aren't enough words to describe his on stage presence and energy. If you never heard of him, try to see some live video, cause his studio stuff is good, but it doesn't do him justice. He was at his best live, in front of an intimate crowd, in small smoke-filled venues, where you could imagine yourself in a time past, a time somewhere down at the crossroads. Rory! Rory! Rory! Rory!....... Charlie
Well at first i must say that i am from greece and my English aren't very good.Rory is the light because he gives me the light.His songs,his lyrics which for me are like poetry,and his guitar tuch my soul and they heel me.He is my favourite singer and since I've heard his songs I've put him even higher than my favourite singer who was greek(died in 1990)and with his songs for my only companion I made it through some very lonely and difficult years in my life. Now I'm very happy cause I got Rory's songs,too.I like to thank you for making this page and for bringing Rory close to us cause for me it's difficult to find information about Rory. Well that's not all I hade to say about Rory because noone can ever do that but it's almost 4 in the morning and I have to go. I hope you all are ok and that you are having a good time with you're lives. Bye Argie
My days and nights are filled with Rory's music. I never, ever tire of hearing him play the best guitar of them all, either rockin', bluesy, or ballad or to listen to his totally unique singing voice. His lyrics are another story. They come straight from his soul and many fans can truly relate to many of his songs. One of the most gratifying things about Rory was his humility in a day when most rock stars just kept saying "LOOK AT ME", he just kept on playing the best music ever made....Randy
PS - Can't even listen to "wanna be's" like Clapton etc anymore. They bore me.
I have played guitar for 27yrs. and can you believe Rory Gallagher blew right passed me! As you know Rory died at the age of 47yrs.(correct me if I'm wrong), the same age I am now. I heard a cut he did on a tribute compilation for Peter Green. He did the song "Leavin" Town Blues", which I believe was on Fleetwood Macs first album. (I also remember seeing Taste open for Blind Faith around 1970, thinking as a young boy, "who the hell are these guys"?. For some reason out of curiosity I looked him up on the internet and immediately connected w/the man do to the fact that I also have liver problems and am waiting for a transplant. So I had to here what this guy sounded like. I rushed right out and bought "Live! In Europe". Wow, well what can I say...after playing blues for quite a while I am totally inspired to return to a harder edge in my guitar playing. Rory's music it what has been missing in my life, the man has touched me deeply and I have to agree w/you, he IS w/o a doubt the best blues/rock and beyond guitarist that ever lived! Hal
Rory, he's the best!!! I've heard all guitar men, but he is the Best. Elizeu
I've seen many concerts but the one's of Rory I can still remember. One word: FANTASTIC. I am glad that his records (cd's) are wide available again. Hope many new people get the opportunity to listen to his music. I am convinced that his music will survive the next generations. Great guitar player, performer and songwriter he was! Jos
to the bulfrog 8/30/99  by donman
Peter & Jay shared some RoryStories with us yesterday & I've done the same in the past.  I want to tell you
another one; this time originating from my brother, Bob.  He & his wife saw Rory at least 8 times; with most shows being in Cleveland, OH. While he cannot remember which particular show it was, one night in the
mid - '70's, Rory was at "The Agora"; where he often played.  This night, after playing his usual over 2 hour gig & 2 to 3 'Encore' songs, the house lights went on & the crowd started to exit.  But, Bob & a crowd of about 40 people stayed for at least another 25 minutes & kept screaming & yelling for "MORE".  (some people are never satisfied)  (­:]   Lo & behold, after all that time, out comes Rory, Gerry, Rod & Lou & they played another 2
songs!!!.........with the House lights on........for about 40 people!!!!!   Needless to say, Bob & crowd went crazy & almost all of them got to shake Rory's hand afterwards!  That's the kind of selfless person Rory was.  Never wanted to leave an audience unsatisfied!
If only he was still here today............~ don ~  - (from RoryON)
from the iMusic message board
I have my own little Rory story to tell. I must confess it's my parental unit who got me turned on to Rory, especially mom. Being the avid fan she was, she was thrilled when he came to town, for what would be the last time in 1988.

Her tickets were purchased a month or so in advance, and being the rotten kid I am, I had let her birthday slip past without so much as a boo. Well, once I had learned Rory was coming to town, my birthday problem was solved! I pestered my mom for what seemed like forever asking what her favorite Rory song was. Yeah, like she could narrow it down.

FINALLY got an answer of "Moonchild." I let my pen do the magic as I constructed a letter to Rory telling him how wonderful he was and that I had the pleasure of seeing him previously, but would be missing this show. I explained my mom would be attending and that her birthday had passed and asked if he could help me out by dedicating her favorite song to her. I sent the letter to the venue the day before he was to perform. Low and behold, the forever gracious man with the Irish eyes dedicated "Moonchild" to my mom 2nd song into the show. It is without a doubt the coolest thing I have ever done and I couldn't  have done it without Rory. He is sorely missed, always....

Against The Grain Is the way things were done. Always sold out Never a sell out Forty six years young The Angels have come Again... First S.R.V. Now you've taken R.G. This feeling we feel Must be what it's like At The Bottom.

You've taken the best Leaving us with the blues We'll hold on to our memories of handshakes and smiles until the day When we can once again say, "Rory! Rory! Rory! My dedication to the late Rory Gallagher.           Written June 14, 1995  SRVBLUZFAN@AOL.COM  - (from RoryON)

an eamil I got from Doanld Stanley from New Zealand
I'm a fan of Rory's from way down in here in New Zealand, and I have a little information about his 1980 concert in Auckland, NZ.

Date: 1 July 1980 Venue:
Auckland Town Hall Other NZ or Australian tour dates unknown, as i have not retained the programme.

The main things I remember about his concert were that the old Town Hall really rocked (I don't think they had too many more rock concerts in it after this one, another venue was found), and that Rory was extremely energetic, even at one stage getting up behind the stage (where there were rows of seats) and jamming in the aisles. Such tremendous volume came from the whole band, we really thought that the old hall wouldn't take it and fall down around our ears.  He was such a non-stop showman, and gave everything he had to his audience, and it was probably one of the most enjoyable concerts by major artists that I've ever see (and I've seen lots).  - (from RoryON)

Born to play guitar.
Love this pic, even as beat up as Rory's strat.
Rory belting out a ballad.
Yes, Rory he could handle an electric ax about as well as any of the already-inducted "guitar gods". But how many of them could come close to the finger-picking mastery demonstrated on "Unmilitary Two-Step"? And then pick up a harp or sax when the mood struck? His voice was unpolished as a blues singer's should be, and could express any emotion from joy to tounge-in-cheek humour to wistful sadness to deep anguish. How many others could write with such clear mastery of melody, harmony, form and poetry, across such a range of styles including folk, country, blues, jazz, -- somehow always letting the Celtic influences come through but never letting you forget he was a rocker to the core? He was a musician's musician, a true wonder for those who had ears to hear. Tyre
I'll admit Rory's gone. But his music lives on. To me RORY GALLAGHER was the greatest guitarist and musician of all time. I's a shame, that Rory's not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet. Angie
his was one of the best shows i've ever been to though. the man sweats like a pig and plays his heart out. i was lucky enough one night to be backstage when he ran back to change his wet to dry. i asked him if he could give me a quick autograph when the bouncer tried to shove me off. rory was like 'Yo,man!" and between one shirt and the other he reached up the stairs to me and signed for me. it was an overwhelming experience. this was at a very little place called "alexander's" in jersey. i still have the autograph stashed away...karen
Hello. 

I saw dear old Rory play 34 times, right from the Woburn Abbey Festival in 1968, to the first Marquee performances, countless times in Scotland from 1968-1971, and then continually until his tragic death. It would be pretentious to say that we became friends, but he never forgot a face, and we shared many drinks, and one evening's meal, together.

I took lots and lots of people to see him play, including Mike Wedgwood (Caravan, Curved Air), George Hart (Secondhand/Seventh Wave), and lots of long suffering friends and girlfriends. My various bands have played Kid Gloves, Follow me, A Million Miles Away, and all the bluesy numbers, with my feeble efforts at his guitar parts.

My drummer, Andy Golden, is now with Thin Lizzy with Eric Bell (who loved Rory), and also with the Pirates, whose mighty Mick Green he manages and who plays with Sir Paul and with Van Morrison. Andy and I saw Rory at the Town and Country just before he died (on the night he DID make it through the gig), and he was just ace. We also played with Andy Fairweather-Lowe's band, featuring Geraint Watkins, who described Rory as "a bloody good craic and the bloody best there is". (craic pronounced crack means "to have a very good time")

What always mad me sad is that all lists of Oirish music included the dreaded  Van Morrison, the three-chord U2, Sinead O'Connor the Pogues the Waterboys but never Rory. U2 were especially boring with the Wedge's tiresome strumming and runs up and down one string (just).

The flame still flickers in Wiltshire. The bottom line is that he was one of those very rare beasts: a natural. God, he was so DAMNED good. What a pathetic waste. Chalk another one up to the demon drink: not much of a laugh, really.

Goodbye Rory, you incredibly kind, decent and talented man. Tom Thatcher (email from Tom)

This letter was posted at RoryON and released for this tribute. Thanks John.

"The first time I met Rory was one of the most memorable nights of my life. At the time, I was the road manager for Canned Heat, and we were on the bill with Rory on a cold, snowy night in Waterloo, Iowa. Halfway through the show, we received word that Howlin' Wolf had died. Our lead singer, Bob "The Bear" Hite, immediately dedicated the rest of the evening to Wolf. When Rory came on he did the same. It was the first time I had ever seen Rory, and I was stunned. 

That show in itself was enough to write about, but what happened after the show was even better: The theater was dark, the crowd had left and we were all sitting around the backstage area when Rory opened a bottle of Irish whiskey and passed it around. He then pulled out a beautifully ancient National and began playing. Well, no matter what lick he played, Bob knew the vocal, and what followed was 40 minutes or so of some of the most magically soulful--from the heart--blues singing and playing I've ever heard. The custodian and the rest of the building personnel, who normally would have been anxious to close up and go home, just stopped what they were doing and watched in reverence. Rory and Bob had never met before, but it sounded like they'd been working together all their lives. I've seen a lot of great performances, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've been moved like that. Needless to say, it didn't take long for the 12 or 15 people who were there to finish off that bottle of whiskey. By the time it was gone, we figured we had given Wolf a proper sendoff. A bond was formed that night between Rory and Canned Heat, and whenever we found ourselves in the same part of the world, we always looked each other up. Rory, with his inevitable bottle of Irish whiskey, was blues personified and quite simply one of the purest, finest people I have ever met. It was an honor to know him, and I treasure every moment I spent in his presence. Jac Ttanna   Sherman Oaks, Calif.
(from RoryON

Rory Gallagher is sadly missing from the Hall of Fame. Rory Gallagher was a great artist.He was inpired, emotional, and has left an indelible impression on the rock,blues world. He was a gifted and talented writer and composer. He was also probably the greatest guitarist ever in that he had total mastery of acoustic, dobro, lead guitar, and he played slide guitar and mandolin. when Rory did acoustic sets "unplugged" he did them solo not with an onterage of other accomplished musicians.He performed on the 1st ever Eurovision Broadcast "rockpalast" where he opened up with 45 minutes of incredible solo acoustic.He was invited to play on record with Legends like Muddy Waters,Albert Collins,and did sessions with the Rolling Stones.Name one person who stuck with the blues when the blues were not cool and in my humble oppinion you will name the greatest guitarist that ever walked this planet.His shows more often than not sold out, his live performances were amazing. What a talent. Yes his shows sold out but he never did. Patrick
Rory Gallagher on Guitarist magazine cover
Guitar genius Rory Gallagher
Blues rocker Rory Gallagher

Classic Rock Page - they play Rory !!!

Rory Home Page

Rory Links

Rory Lyrics
 

Stories from Tributes from RoryON
or from personal emails to me at rory@lastoftheindependents.com