Gallagher is the man who, without question, spearheaded and influenced
the entire Irish rock movement. More than seven years after his
untimely passing in June 1995, that contribution is underscored
and extended by the remarkable acoustic folk album “Wheels
Within Wheels” released in March 2003.
Rory’s music was his religion. The conviction and sincerity
with which he projected it have assured him a place in rock history
and earnt him critical acclaim as one of the greatest torchbearers
of driving, effusive rock and blues. The new album augments what
we already knew about Rory and multiplies it by performances that
show him in a whole new light.
Born in 1948 in Ballyshannon and raised in Cork, Gallagher’s
rock ‘n roll odyssey began at an early age when he saw Elvis
Presley on TV and became inspired to get his first guitar. Rory
would listen and learn from the likes of Lonnie Donegan, Woody Guthrie,
Leadbelly, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Jerry Lee Lewis, many of
whom Rory went on to record with.
While still at school during his early teens, Rory began playing
with professional show bands throughout Ireland, whose repertoires
included all the popular hits of the day. Not musically satisfied
with this, Rory converted his latter showband The Impact into a
six-piece R’n’B outfit and headed for Hamburg in the
mid-1960s. On arrival, this line-up was soon trimmed down to his
Rory went on to form Taste in 1967 a band who soon met with
wide acclaim, and subsequently headed for London where they were
an immediate success at London’s famed Marquee Club, counting
among their fans John Lennon.
When Taste disbanded at the end of 1970, Gallagher went on to a
successful solo career. From his first solo album in 1971 through
to 1990’s acclaimed “Fresh Evidence” and beyond,
Rory Gallagher sold many millions of albums worldwide and toured
the globe several times, mounting more than 25 tours in the US alone.
Following extensive tours of Europe, throughout 1972, Rory followed
up with the album “Live In Europe,” a top ten triumph
both in the UK and internationally. While touring the US solo for
the first time, he was voted Melody Maker’s Top Musician Of
The Year, and to cap off 1972 “Live In Europe” became
Rory’s first gold album, and his second chart album success
in the States.
In 1973 Rory changed the line-up of his band and released a further
two successful albums, “Blueprint” and “Tattoo”.
Later in the same year he achieved another personal high when he
was invited to guest on Muddy Waters’ “London Sessions”
album on Chess. At the end of ‘73, Rory toured his native
Ireland, an almost legendary tour that happily was caught on film
via a documentary made by Tony Palmer.
In 1974 The Rolling Stones invited Rory to Holland to record with
them, following the departure of Mick Taylor. The film documentary
of “Irish Tour 1974” was released in conjunction with
a double live set also entitled “Irish Tour 1974” and
soon became his most successful album ever in the US, winning worldwide
acclaim and prompting a tour of the far East later in the year.
On his return, Rory was invited to guest on an album by yet another
of his heroes, Jerry Lee Lewis (a double album recorded in London),
and went on to the Montreux Jazz Festival to record with Albert
King on his “Live In Montreux” album, then guested with
jazz/blues giant Chris Barber.
Having completed his contract with Polydor, Rory signed with Chrysalis
in 1975 and released “Against The Grain”. After an extensive
worldwide tour, Rory returned to the UK to headline the Reading
Festival (one of his many performances at this festival for which
Rory held the record during his lifetime for number of appearances).
”Calling Card” was recorded, with the aid of Roger
Glover, at Musicland Studios in Munich, and charted worldwide on
its release. Gallagher then returned to the States for yet another
Rory made television history as the first ever artist to appear
on Rockpalast, transmitted live to some fifteen countries with an
estimated audience of 50 million. In 1978 he returned to Germany
to record the critically acclaimed album “Photo-Finish”
at Dieter Dierks’ studios in Calogne. Following his lengthy
worldwide tour, Rory returned to Dierks’ Studios in ‘79,
sticking with the same successful formula to record “Top Priority”.
The album was released and followed up with an extensive touring
schedule which resulted, in 1980, with the landmark live album “Stage
In 1982, Rory released his final album for Chrysalis, “Jinx”,
released by PolyGram in the US, and then returned to where he was
happiest, the stage, and a successful tour of the world.
After the return of his entire catalogue in 1985, Rory formed his
own label and publishing company, Capo, and began recording the
“Defender” album, released in 1987, which charted strongly
in many countries. The 1990 release of “Fresh Evidence”
saw Gallagher opening the ears of an even wider audience. Rory continued
to tour with a new band he established in '93, until he fell seriously
ill in Holland in January 1995.
In 2003, a reappraisal of Rory Gallagher’s musical legacy
is well overdue, and it’s sure to be prompted by “Wheels
Within Wheels.” It’s a lovingly compiled acoustic folk
collection that doesn’t just reinforce his wide-reaching musical
contribution, but makes it wider still.
This Biography was released to the media
by Donal Gallagher & BMG Music.