It's St Patrick's Day - a fitting time to remember one of the greatest Irish guitarists to have have graced the world with his inimitable style, sadly Rory Gallagher passed away long before his time, but Simon Hetherington remembers one of the true underrated guitar heroes...
Rory Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon County Donegal, and resided in County Cork Republic of Ireland. He started as a teenager playing in Irish Showbands in the 1960's, forming Taste in 1966 and going solo in 1970. He recruited Gerry McAvoy from Belfast on bass who he would play with for around 20 years.
He was one of few people that were told not to tour Ireland during the 1970's and 1980's because of the trouble in the North, but he would tour anyway. There may have been violence on the streets of Belfast but inside venues such as the Ulster Hall, Rory kept playing and entertaining the crowds that came to see him.
Not many International bands or artists would come to Ireland to play at the time and Rory attracted a large following. It was a time when you had to watch what areas you strayed into but Rory played for both communities. He communicated well with the fans and they loved him for it. His gigs created an electric atmosphere, and a place to go for young people at the time.
He owned the stage, he may have had a band but it was him people came to see. His charismatic performances and stage presence were legendary and he interacted with the fans well, with some even getting on stage with him.
Many people from the North and the South of Ireland became inspired by him to pick up a guitar such as Vivian Campbell (Def Leopard) and The Edge (U2). Music became an outlet for some during the troubles, and it is still a popular outlet today.
Not familiar with Rory Gallagher's work? Then check this out...
By Simon Hetherington, special thanks to Kevin Cummings.
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