30 million albums sold
The greatest white bluesman to walk the planet. God himself, (Eric Clapton) runs a pale and distant second. Don’t believe me? Ask, the patron saint of cool, Slash (a Rory disciple) who has initiated a petition to get Rory into the hall. It has been widely reported that when Rock Guitar’s chairman of the board, Jimi Hendrix was asked by a Rolling Stone journalist what it was like to be the greatest guitar player in the world, he is quoted as responding, “I don’t know, go ask Rory Gallagher” Still not convinced? Gallagher was approached by the Rolling Stones to fill their vacant guitar slot…..twice! He was on the short list when Brian Jones passed as well as when Mick Taylor quit. In the case of Taylor’s departure, Rory’s brother Donal has gone on record as saying Rory got the first call. However, Gallagher had a world tour to do and The Stones were in mid-life crisis. A successful solo artist who also recorded with Muddy Waters, Albert King and Jerry Lee Lewis; Gallagher respectfully recorded with the Stones a couple of days then excused himself to return to his day job. Many believe that the uncredited ghost of Rory Gallagher haunts the backround mix of The Stones album “Black And Blue” to this day.
When researching Gallagher’s bio, it seems his life path was pre-ordained. He was born March 2, 1948 in Rock Hospital and baptized in The Rock Church in Donegal County, Ireland.
Gallagher was a shy, saintly, hard-drinkin’ Bluesman of the first order. He repeatedly vowed never to compromise himself in the pursuit of celebrity and he stayed that course for his entire life. Major labels waved the brass ring of super-stardom in his face several times in his fabled career and Rory walked away from every soul-selling pact offered. He also earns Rock and Roll mythology points for refusing to release singles, dumping an entire unreleased album master in the trash bin on a whim, and dying (too young at age 47) of liver failure.
The following video is Rory live in Belfast ripping through one of his best originals, “Follow Me”. Rory was a live animal whose power was seldom accurately chronicled in the studio. Did Eric or Jimi ever burn this bright? Just askin’