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If ever there was a “musician’s musician” then that accolade surely belongs to Rory Gallagher. Renowned for his blistering live performances and highly respected for his dedication to his craft, he died in 1995, aged just 47, yet his reputation has continued to flourish in the years since. Indeed, some of rock’s most seminal figures, from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton, Queen’s Brian May to The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, have cited him as an influence. Clapton credited Rory with “getting me back into the blues”, while May has unequivocally stated: “I owe Rory Gallagher my sound.” Rory remains a touchstone for all would-be guitar heroes in the 21st Century, yet the rural Ireland he grew up in even barely acknowledged the arrival of rock’n’roll. When he was born William Rory Gallagher, in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, in 1948, his father was working for the Irish Electricity Supply Board, constructing a hydroelectric power plant on the River Erne above the town. Later, Rory, with his younger brother Dónal, moved to Cork with their mother, Monica, the boys attended the city’s North Monastery School. Monica Gallagher sang and had acted with Ballyshannon’s Abbey Players, so the Gallagher boys’ early musical inclinations were indulged by their parents. Rory, especially, showed precocious talent, first mastering ukulele and then graduating to acoustic and, finally, electric guitar. Unable to find – or even afford – records, the young Rory stayed up late and listened attentively to Radio Luxembourg and the American Forces Network, where he first heard rock’n’roll legends Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Lonnie Donegan, before later discovering two of his biggest influences, Muddy Waters and Lead Belly. Of the former, Rory later enthused: “The more I heard, the more I got addicted.” Fired up by his informal musical education, Rory taught himself to pay slide guitar and also worked out the rudiments required to master a variety of instruments, including bass, mandolin, harmonica and saxophone.
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Rory Gallagher

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Deuce

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Blueprint

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Tattoo

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Against the Grain

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Calling Card

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Photo-Finish

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Top Priority

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Jinx

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