Rory Gallagher – Irish Born Blues Legend

Read Time 1 Minutes

Rory Gallagher
Credit: Harry Potts

When you’ve recorded with Muddy Waters and some guy named Jimi Hendrix tells you he digs your work, you know you did something right.

Like Hendrix, the great Rory Gallagher unfortunately passed far too young—but he left us with some truly rollicking riffs and solos.

Gallagher had a searing, uncompromising blues-rock sound that he pursued even while others bailed out to record light pop-flavored blues records.

Rory Gallagher was born on March 2, 1948 and grew up in Cork, Ireland. His father played accordion and his mother was a singer and an actress in the Theatre in Ballyshannon—which has since been renamed the Rory Gallagher Theatre. Like surf rock legend Dick Dale, Rory himself started off on ukulele, and used his experience on that instrument to start learning guitar around age nine. By the time he was eleven, he was playing in front of audiences. By age fifteen, with his parents’s support Rory Gallagher was a working musician who was fully entitled to show up late to school due to his work. But to Rory, it was no party—even at social gatherings, he barely mingled. Even as a youth, Rory Gallagher was hell-bent on securing his place in music history.

Which he did manage to carve for himself. With his early band Taste and his later solo recordings, Gallagher won fans among the likes of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, inspired an entire generation of star guitarists—and sold 30 million records worldwide as he went.

Although best known for his guitar work, Rory also played mandola, dulcimer, saxophone, banjo, mandolin, and the electric sitar.

Rory died in 1995 of complications after a liver transplant. He was 47 years old.
Check Rory out here:

Similar Posts:

Nicholas Tozier

Nicholas Tozier is a book hoarder and songbird from the woods of Maine. In 2012 he made a small cameo in Songwriting Without Boundaries by Berklee professor Pat Pattison, and was named one of CDBaby’s top 10 Songwriting Resources to follow on Twitter.

Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tom McCool
Tom McCool
11 years ago

This has been a good year for Rory fans with the release of “Notes from San Fransisco” and Irish Tour 1974 remastered and re-issued. I’ve been going to the anuual rory tribute festival in Ballyshannon (his birth place) for the last few years and its getting bigger and better every year. As you’ve stated, if your a blues fan and haven’t heard of Rory you should be ashamed. I spend a lots of good quality time on youtube watching Rory’s performances, I’m particularly fond of his acoustic songs (mainly because I play acoustic and have been trying to learn a few) I saw Barry Barnes doing Barley and Grape rag in Ballyshannon last year and so decided to try it, still a work in progress. I find it disappointing that so called guitar enthusiasts say who when I say his name, but it seems to be slowly changing. Maybe if he’d taken a leaf out of Jeff Beck’s book and did one single, but as Johnny Marr said “Rory stayed true to the guitar”. Here’s hoping that more people see the light that was Rory Gallagher’s brilliant guitar skill!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x