Rory Gallagher
* March 02, 1948 † June 14, 1995
Solo Artist
Rory 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, his contribution is about to be underscored and extended by the remarkable acoustic folk album "Wheels Within Wheels" to be 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 first trio.

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 tour.

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 Struck".

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 "Rory Gallagher: 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.

Rory's timeline:
1948: Rory Gallagher born on 2nd March in Ballyshannon, County Donegal.
1949: Gallagher family move to Derry
1956: Gallagher family move to Cork. Rory, age 9, buys an acoustic guitar and teaches himself to play.
1959: Rory performs in Parish Centres and School Halls around Cork.
1960: Rory, age 12, wins a talent contest in Cork and spends prize money on an electric guitar.
1963: Rory joins The Fontana Showband. The line-up is: leader Bernie Tobin on Trombone; his brother Oliver on Bass; Rory on Lead Guitar; John Lehan on Saxophone; Eamon O'Sullivan on Drums; and Declan O'Keefe on Rhythm Guitar
1963: Rory buys his 1961 Fender Stratocaster for £100.
1964: Fontana tour Cork, Kerry and Limerick. Fontana tour Britain. Rory sees The Rolling Stones in concert in London.
1965: Fontana re-named 'The Impact' with new line-up: Michael Lehane on Organ; and Johnny Campbell on drums. The Impact perform 'Slow Down', a Larry Williams R'n'B classic, on RTE's 'Pickin' The Pops'. They rehearsed and were scheduled to perform Buddy Holly's Valley Of Tears. The Impact perform at US airbases in Madrid, Spain. The Impact go to London and split. Rory and two other musicians go to Germany to play Hamburg clubs.
1966: Rory returns to Cork. He forms a trio with Eric Kitteringham on Bass and Norman Damery on Drums. The trio becomes 'Taste'.
1967: Taste perform in Hamburg and return to tour Ireland. Taste perform at Sammy Hudson's Jazz Club and later become a regular act at Maritime Hotel, a Belfast Rhythm'n'Blues club.
1968: Taste perform in London and split. New line-up formed with Richard McCracken on Bass and John Wilson on Drums. Taste move permanently to London and sign recording contract with Polydor.
1969: Taste tour US and Canada, as support act to Blind Faith. Taste, the first album, is released.
1970: On The Boards album is release. Taste tour USA. Taste perfrom at The Isle Of Wight Rock Festival. Taste tour Europe, performing their last show in Belfast on New Years Eve.
1971: Taste split. Rory forms his own band, The Rory Gallagher Band, with Gerry McAvoy on Bass and Wilgur Campbell on Drums. Taste 'Live At The Isle Of Wight' album is released. Rory appears on 'Bring It All Back Home TV programme. 'Rory Gallagher', Rory's debut solo album is released. 'Deuce' album released.
1972: 'Live In Europe' album is released, achieves Gold sales status. Rory joins an all-star session band to record with Muddy Waters on 'The London Muddy Waters Sessions'. Lou Martin on Piano joins The Rory Gallagher Band. Rod De'Ath on Drums replaces Wilgur Campbell. Rory tours USA. Melody Maker (UK) names Rory as their Musician Of The Year.
1973: Rory is a guest musician on Jerry Lee Lewis' studio album 'The Session'. 'Blueprint' album is released. Rory tours USA and Europe twice. 'Tattoo' album is released.
1974: Rory on Irish Tour with performances in Cork, Dublin and Belfast. Tony Palmer films a documentary of this Irish Tour. Rory is a guest musician on Muddy Waters second solo album 'London Re-visited'. 'Irish Tour '74' live album is released.
1975: Rory records in Rotterdam studio with The Rolling Stones, as their first choice replacement for Mick Taylor. Rory tours Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Rory tours USA and Canada. Rory is invited to perform at Montreaux Jazz Festival. 'Sinner ... And Saint', a compilation album, is released by Polydor. Rory signs recording contract with Chrysallis Records. 'Against The Grain' album is released. Rory tours USA and Europe, concluding the tour in Londons Albert Hall.
1976: Ted McKenna on drums replaces Rod De'Ath. 'Calling Card' album is released. Rory tours USA.
1977: Rory makes guest appearance live on stage with Albert King at Montreaux Music Festival which later featured on Albert King live album. Rory performs on first Rockpalast Eurovision, broadcast to 50 million viewers. Rory guests on Joe O'Donnell's album 'Gaodhal's Vision'. 'Photo Finish' album is released.
1978: Rory is a guest guitarist on Mike Batt's album, Tarot Suite. Rory is a guest guitarist on Lonnie Donegans album 'Putting On The Style'. Rory begins World Tour.
1979: Top Priority album released.
1980: Rory tours Europe.
1981: 'Stagestruck' album is release. Rory Gallagher Band conclude World Tour. Brendan O'Neill replaces Ted McKenna on Drums.
1982: 'Jinx' album is released.
1983: Rory plays concerts in USA and Europe.
1984: Rory is a guest musician on Box Of Frogs' album 'Box Of Frogs. Rory tours Ireland.
1985: Rory tours Eastern Bloc countries.
1986: Rory is a guest musician on Box Of Frogs' album 'Strangeland'.
1987: Rory releases 'Defender' album on his own label, Capo.
1988: 'Irish Tour '74' album released on CD.
1989: Rory is a guest artiste on 'The Scattering', an album by The Fureys And Davey Arthur. Rory is a guest on Davy Spillane's album 'Out Of The Air'. Rory is a guest artiste on Phil Coulter's album 'Words And Music'.
1991: Rory concludes World Tour with shows in New York. 'Edged In Blue', a compilation album is relased.
1992: Rory guests on The Dubliners' album '30 Years A-Greying'.
1993: Rory is a guest artist on 'The Outstanding', an album by Chris Barber and Band. Rory performs at The First Cork Jazz Festival.
1994: Rory is interviewed and featured on 'Rock'n The North' TV programme. Rory and his band perform in front of 50,000 fans at The First Templebar Blues Festival in Dublin. Rory begins a European Tour.
1995: European Tour interrupted due to illness. Rory dies, June 14th.
1996: Hot Press presents the First Annual Rory Gallagher Rock Musician Award to The Edge from U2.
1999: Ballyshannon County Council at their November meeting agree to mark Rory's birthplace with a commemorative plaque.
2000: Plaque indicating the birthplace of Rory Gallagher is unveiled in Ballyshannon.
2002: AN Post issues a stamp featuring Rory Gallagher in it's series of 4 stamps celebrating Irish Rock Legends.
2003: 'Wheels Within Wheels' is released, an acoustic album of Rory's songs.
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