#OTD in 1948 – Birth of guitarist, Rory Gallagher, in Donegal.

Irish blues guitarist legend Rory Gallagher is born in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.

Rory’s family moved to Cork where he discovered blues music on American Forces Radio. By the time he was twenty-one, he was recognised as one of the finest guitarists in the world. In 1971, the UK music paper Melody Maker voters gave Gallagher top spot over Eric Clapton (correctly).

Legend has it that when Jimi Hendrix was asked what it felt like to be the best guitar player in the world, he responded “I don’t know. Ask Rory Gallagher.” Although almost certainly apocryphal, the story does highlight the legend that the unassuming Gallagher became.

Off stage, Gallagher was described as painfully shy, something his adoring audiences found hard to believe. On stage, he was one of the most electrifying artists that ever played a Fender Stratocaster playing marathon concerts of more than three hours, night after night. Gallagher first broke through with Taste (drummer John Wilson, bassist Richard McCracken). The band played a blistering set at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival (where Hendrix also performed), returning for seven encores!

‘Artistic differences’ saw the demise of this power blues trio, but Gallagher went on to have a lengthy career selling more than thirty millions records in one of the most hard-gigging careers of any music legend.

Artists as diverse as U2′s Edge, Slash and Brian May state that Gallagher was a huge influence on their career.

Although, he toured the US more than twenty times, Gallagher never made it big in the world’s largest market. Some experts attribute this to the fact that he was not interested in developing commercial, radio friendly, three-minute material. The gentle giant of Irish blues died in London 14 June 1995 from complications following a liver transplant.

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