Stories of Rory Gallagher

Your stories

You can find dozens of biographies and obituaries concerning the late Rory Gallagher on the Internet. I am, however no biographer. Instead I’d like to show you the depth of feeling and emotion we have discovered for this great man on our travels.

If you have sotories of your own, no matter how trivial they might sound to the outside world, the Rory world wants to hear them!!


Send them to barry@sinnerboy.co.uk


Norman De Bellefeulle

Hello my story takes place on Sept 7,1973 in Montreal at the Capital theatre a classic movie theatre from the 1940's u know the type a heavy red velvet curtain a big stage balconies and piped in organ based Muzak a great place to see a show. opening for rory was blues man John Hammond on dobro followed by Albert king and rory headlining of course when the tour commenced(6 wks) rory was opening for Albert by the time it reached Montreal albert was opening for rory their were 2 shows that night one at 7 the second at 10 when the 7was over at about 9:30 pm the ushers( high school kids) had trouble clearing out the first show so when the second show started there must have been 3000 kids in a 1500 person capacity theatre the place was going crazy the second show was over at about one in the morning no one left all u heard was " rory! rory!rory!" 5-10 minutes later rory steps back on stage the place goes ballistic rory looks at us smiles and shakes his head, they just spoke to the promoter and will rent the theatre for a bit longer the band returns to the stage he invites Albert king and John Hammond back on and they launch into a drop dead version of King's " born under a bad sign" it goes on forever at one point Albert stops playing and just watches rory play and just looks at the audience we finally stumble out at about 2 am and wander over to a 24 hr dinner nearby about 30 minutes later in walks rory and wanders from table to table asking if we were at the show and if we were did we like it and was it too loud! One of the best if not the best show I've seen. Cheers


Sotiris Tsallis

Well the two stories i want to tell you happened about 33 years ago. I was going to school at the age of 11 and i saw on t.v that the next monday there was a live show of Rory Gallagher in the evening. ( it was the live in Montreux 1979) It was the first time that i lied to my mother and to my school teacher. I told my teacher that my mother was waiting for me, outside the school at six o'clock in the evening to go together to the doctor. My teacher believed me and so i left and went home. Every day my mother was taking me from school, so when she saw me she was surprised. I told her that my teacher was sick and had to go home. Of course ten minutes later i watched the whole Rory concert on t.v. Astonishing.........Rory made me pick up the guitar and study music. The other story is a little sad. Two years later Rory came to Athens and i bought a ticket. The price of the ticket was 500 drachmas (Greek money) and it took me two months to gather them. So i went outside and phoned to a friend of mine, with whom i would go to the concert. after that i returned home to wear my clothes for that special event.........well you know..tight jean trousers, a shirt, boots anyway. Opening the door to leave home and go to tha stadium i met outside the door one uncle of mine. He asked me where i go and i told him that i was going out for a walk. He grabed me from the wrist and he told me that he wanted to tell me something and then i was free to go anywhere. As soon as i opened the door my uncle told my father to keep me inside and don't let me go wherever i was planning to, because some people with long hair and earrings were braking cars and shop windows and the police was after them. (never believed such stories, anyway) I stayed all night inside the house. Well it never become a home to me again. It was all ways a house. Never managed to forgive anyone. I understood them both, but never forgot or forgave them. I happened to meet a lot of musicians and become friends with some of them, really close friends but..........................well you know Rory is just Rory........ about as fine and good as a person and a musician can be. Though I must tell you that a few days ago something changed. Barry gave a performance at a bar ( the bar is called: like old times) close to my house and there were some moments where i was pretty sure that Rory was with us for a while. I can't write anything more because the screen is becoming blur if you know what i mean.

Thanks a lot.........sotiris.


Noel Fenning

Another one to reinforce our opinion of not just Rory but both the Gallagher brothers.

'My girlfriend and I were backpacking around Europe during the summer of 1983, and although I had listened to Rory a bit, (through attempted brain-washing by my friend Derek), I was more into 'Thin Lizzy' and 'Horselips' in those days, so just had a passing interest in the man.

Anyway, late one evening we were walking through Soho and passing the Marquee club when I noticed a poster saying Rory was playing that night and the next in the club. We hung around a bit asking anyone and everyone how we could get tickets,( more to rub Derek's nose in it than any huge desire to see Rory), when a girl next to us said she was waiting to get inside to meet Gerry McAvoy and "why not ask him".

"Why not" indeed, so we stood around and chatted for about 15mins, until the stage door opened and (as I was reliably informed) Donal Gallagher appeared and ushered the three of us inside. he gave the bar man a nod and asked him to set us up a drink, and told us to wait beside the stage. I was looking at the line up of amps' and 'Strats' etc' when my girlfriend and Gerrys friend appeared on stage, and proceeded to give a very poor mine of a rock band, lepping about like banshee's and head banging to nothing in particular.

Of course the inevitable happened and Donal re-appeared from behind the stage to see this impromptu performance, he stood opposite me laughing and shaking his head, I thought we would get bounced out, but instead he gestured for me and them "two eejits" to follow him. We went to a small room directly behind the stage and there was the great man himself with Gerry McAvoy and Brendan O'Neill. Donal introduced us (though Gerry needed no introduction to his new 'friend') and Rory told us to sit down.

I have to admit I was stuck for words and tongue tied when talking to Rory (who as we know was fundamentally shy). But once Gerry heard we where from his part of Belfast the craic started and Donal gave everyone a step by step account of the girls performance. Rory opened up a bit, small talking of places we both knew in Belfast and Ireland, I asked for an autograph and he tore up a packet of Embassy reds and signed the back of it, addressing it to Derek and enjoying the joke.

After about 20 mins' we left with a couple of free beers two free tickets for the next nights performance (Donal would not even think of taking the money) and a new found hero to worship.

The performance the next night was mind blowing, with such a small club and, it has to be said, very knowledgable crowd.

On reflection, it occurs to me that there was not even the hint of an ego present in that small room and the only thing they wanted to do was play music. A quiet lovely man who we are proud to have (ever so briefly) meet.'


Lou Martin

Well we were playing a gig in Brest in France in about 1974 and the hall was ruled over by huge and very agressive bouncers who wouldn't let anybody stand up which was something that always used to wind us up in the band, we loved the audience to be able to 'let their hair down'.
At the end of the evening Rory launched into 'Bullfrog Blues' which was normally when the bouncers called it a day and let the punters have a good time at the front of the stage.

These guys however were having none of it and they started laying into the crowd far too violently, one of them was even punching fans in the face as they were trying to get forward, that was enough for Rod. With a throw that a professional cricketer would be proud of he launched one of his (very heavy) sticks at this gorrilla's head, it smacked him right on the back of it and Rod did it without missing a beat so that when the thug turned roung he was drumming away as if butter wouldn't melt, it must have realy hurt though 'cos Rods drumsticks were like tree trunks! (He made his point though)'


Mike Foster

I don't know how long you have been asking for stories but one memory that sticks with me is seeing Rory at Southampton Guildhall in 1971 or 72. I first saw Taste at Plumpton in 1969 and became an instant fan!
At the Southampton gig, during In Your Town, a long haired hippie idiot danced down the aisle and stuck his head actually in the speaker bass cone. He was taken away to the cheers of the crowd with blood streaming from his ears! I remember Gerry McAvoy staring in disbelief.
Good job you are doing keeping Rory's music alive, hope to see you at the Brook in August.


Dermot Bolger



i.m. RORY GALLAGHER

There came a time on those summer nights

When a free house had been found,

And a cheap stereo rigged with strobe lights

That froze each moment in your mind.

You just knew when the crowd had waned

And the wasters had long gone

That soon the wised-up boys who remained

Would put Rory Gallagher on.

Dermot Bolger
16.6.95, Dublin


Andrew

Back in the 70's I moved to Germany to take up a new job as an engineer. Living close to Frankfurt we used to go there at the weekends to the only 'sane' place around, namely the 'Zoom' club Stiftstause. There I met rory for the first time at a gig of his. As he visited or played there regularly I got to know him quite well and he often beat my mates and myself at table soccer even with a five point start (The B.....d!)
Very fond memories of him still run through my head and this gig tonight revitalised all the great music this one helluva guy made!
Long live his memory and his music!!


Andy Thorpe

This isn't a story about the man himself as such, just a strange situation that occurred in Cork when I was visiting his memorial about 4 years ago. I decided to take a couple of pictures of the sculpture, but when I was busily composing the picture (ie looking through the viewfinder) I suddenly heard a woman screaming "Rory!!!! Rory!!!!!". I initially I thought that this was someone who was taking the great man's untimely death very badly, as the memorial etc is a mecca for fans, but it turned out to be a woman telling off her very young son for running away from her.

It was good to see that there is such a memorial to him and that there are bands who help to keep his music alive.


Steve Lally

Hi Barry,
Thought I'd send you an inclusion to tell us a story so here goes...

I went to see Rory at Leeds Irish Centre in the back end of 1986.My wife was expecting our son Joe as we were treated to a typically great gig from Rory.We loved it and it seems our son must've been impressed in the womb because 16 years later,he jammed on his bass with another Rory Gallagher tribute band to "Bad Penny"!
We almost called him Rory rather than Joe but it didn't go so well with our surname!


Joe Dalton

Hi Barry...
Joe Dalton here. I recently saw you play in Kilkenny and was totally blown away by your performance. Keep it up man, you do the legacy proud !

My story......

In or around 1997 ('ish), I was living in Wales (in College). It was summer time and I decided to travel home to Kilkenny for a long weekend. Being broke as usual I had to take the cheap train and ferry, Fishguard/Rosslare option. However it being mid-summer and the sun belting down, I didnt mind too much. On the boat I sat out on deck listening to my walkman, Gary Moore I think it was, and reading a book. The table I was at had 3 other chairs and next thing this lady came over and asked if I would mind if she sat down at the table with me, as the deck was kind of crowded. I said "no problem" and cleared a space for her. I took off the headphones and we started talking. She asked me what kind of music I was listening to and I said Gary Moore. Next thing we started talking about rock music and she told me of her great love for one Rory Gallagher, who had just died a year or so earlier. I knew of Rory, being Irish but wasnt too much in to his stuff. She told me of all the concerts she attended back in the 1970's in Holland, she was Dutch. She travelled all around Europe after Rory's tours and was his biggest fan in the world. I found this all quite amazing actually, a middle aged woman putting me -the ultimate rocker - to shame ! Anyway she opened up a bag and took out a few A4 folders in which were cuttings of all Rory's tours, newspaper cuttings, magazine articles from the very start of his career. This woman absolutely was a fanatical Rory fan. I asked her where she was going in Ireland and she Cork. She said that she wasnt able to make it to Rory's funeral in Cork when he died due to a family crisis, but knew that she would someday have to go to his graveside to pay her final tributes. So she decided that morning to just up and go ! She told her husband, "its just something I have to do", and left. She told me the stories about how sad Rory was in his last years and how her heart broke to see him lonely and reclusive etc. She was in tears at one stage, but gentle, warm tears, if you know what I mean. Anyway, she didnt have a clue how to get to Cork so I stayed with her until Waterford then put her on the Cork bus. She gave me her phone number, but I subsequently lost it. I would love to meet her again as she inspired me with Rory Gallagher. I told some folks this story at the time and they invariably thought it was bizarre, she was nuts etc. I thought this story of this lovely person going on a pilgrimage to the graveside of her rock and roll hero, to spend some time with him and to try wipe some of his tears away, really summed up the essence of what Rock and Roll is all about.


Hank Jacobson

I've Just started Web-searching all the Rory stuff. I've been reading 'Stagestruck' & have never come across any reference to an old Rory fan club I was a member of way back in the early eighties. It was called "Deuce" ran by a smashing young girl called Julie A. Gordon. (Second name may be different now if married) She operated out of Washington, Tyne & Wear, I've got a dozen or so issues. (I'd love to have a look at 'em Tom!) Well, Tyne Tees T.V. ran a show, Can't remember the name but Rory was guest one night, The show was compered by Billy Connolly, John Bonham was there to be interviewed only. Dr. Feelgood with Wilko Johnson & the late Lee Brilleaux were also performing. Julie got me passes for the show which I still haven't thanked her for!!
The show was absolutely fantastic, Rory did 3 or 4 numbers, I wanted more but his slot was up. However my prayers were answered when the sound technician was not happy with the recording, (never are are they?!) Mind you Rory was a stickler for perfection! - Rory was asked to do it again, I was gutted...NOT! I managed to chat to Bonham, big-headed bastard, mind you I got his autograph due to my persistence. Sadly he died shortly after.
We went for a drink in a nearby bar, I was driving so it was a quick one...probably 4 or 5, I was young and daft then!!?? So off home we set. We walked past the studio, what timing - who was exiting? Yes, yours truly. I went up very shyly as I respected this man more than any person I'd met, actually no-one to this day has ever come close musically, nor as a person for that matter. I could see he had to be somewhere else, I went for my pocket .. I had paper but no sodding pen, He went back in and got one!!!!! so I have his autograph (Would Bonham & Co. have done that? I don't think so!!)
I actually have it framed!! Several Rory fans, friends of mine have seen it, many have offered money. How can you sell something that's priceless? To me anyway (and I'm a very mercenary guy)
I've been a fan since I was 15, I'm 49...34 years, I play his music every day, I travel a lot in the car. I've a six stack CD player, I usually have 4 or 5 of Rory's. The kids go mad, However they do sing along to the acoustic tracks especially 'Out on the Western Plain' Have I damaged them with over exposure? I don't think so!!
I'm Rory mad & always will be, I get very sad & melancholic. He was such a simple guy, with very very down to earth standards, I model myself on him, I've failed in most respects but I keep on trying. I can't understand how he achieved it with me & so many others. All the fans I new in the past & the new friends I'm meeting only now, have the same thread running through them. He certainly influenced a lot of people.
Heaven has won, they have him, we don't. I'll play his music till I meet him again...If...they let me in!!
Tom, the Geordie Rocker now residing in Staffordshire.
This has got to be my favourite so far Tom - I love the bit about Rory going back in for a pen! But where's Julie? I've never heard of this fan club before. If anybody knows where Julie is please tell her about this site and ask her to get in touch.

I was standing on the sidewalk outside a club in New York (I'm afraid to say I can't remember the name of it) I was about three hours too early for the Rory concert that night but I was determined to take in all the atmosphere I possibly could, I was busy taking fotos of the posters outside the venue when a black sedan started to pull out into the street, the car suddenly veered onto the sidewalk and out of the front passenger seat came Rory Gallagher! There was some vibes coming from inside the car like "Hurry up Rory, we've got to be somewhere" but the man walked straight up to me and said "I hope you enjoy the concert, I can't stop, I've got a radio interview" He shook my hand and jumped right back into the auto which moved on down the street. Man I told every guy that would listen, and every guy that wouldn't about that.


David Roberts

My first LP was given to me by a friend in 1971, Live Taste (Recorded at the Montreux Casino), I was struck at the time by the cover and how cool Rory Gallagher looked with his mouth-organ strapped round his neck, guitar in hand, eyes closed, I wasn't disappointed it was cool. At the time I was into Northern Soul in a big way and still am, but this trio just blew me away, I don't think Richard McCracken and John Wilson have been given the credit they deserve over the years and I personally think they complimented Rory in his playing more than any other bassist or drummer. Taste and Rory were something very, very special. His music still affects me the same today as it did all them years ago.

I was lucky enough to see him perform live five times, once in Germany in 1974, twice at the Apollo theatre in Manchester and Twice at the Free trade Hall in Manchester in the seventies. A lot has been said about Rorys modesty and humility and I always sensed this quality in him whenever I saw him perform, but I experienced it first hand before a show at Manchester's Apollo when I went for a drink with a friend who went with me to watch the show (the same bloke who had given me the Taste LP some years before) the pub was called the Ardwick Green and it was right outside the Apollo. Anyway I went to the bar to order the drinks, the barman held my gaze and was just about to serve me, when up stands Rory (He was sat in the corner with the band and a few roadies, his brother could have been there as well) anyway the barman went to serve Rory first, but Rory insisted that he serve me first, I insisted that he served Rory, and so it went on, so the barman took it on himself to serve Rory first, a little while later two pints of lager came over and a thumbs up from Rory!!!!! well this made my day as you can imagine, but what impressed me more than anything and I have never forgotten to this day when I got up to leave the pub, to get ready to walk over the road to see him perform, I went over to him to shake his hand, I felt compelled to do this (I don't normally intrude on anyone's space) when I thrust out my hand rather awkwardly to shake his hand he stopped his conversation and rose to his feet to accept my hand, he asked me if I was going to see the show and told me to have a good night, he was really genuine, modest and down to earth, just having a drink like everybody else in the pub, what a star. Well this man had blew me away again, he made me feel really special and I have never forgotten that night. Needless to say when I heard the news of Rorys death, I was devastated and gutted. I just couldn't believe a man like him could be snatched away so young, I still play all his music regular, for me he was definitely one of a kind and the finest blues guitarist ever to grace this earth (and I always said that when he was alive) Rest In Peace Rory.

By the way the concert that night was dynamite!!!

It sure was - I must have been there David - I never missed a Manchester gig! BB


Michael O’Gorman

On the 29th July 1989 I went to see Rory at ‘Rock the Lough’ The Ballyronan rock festival on the Banks of Loch Neigh, Northern Ireland near Cookstown. 4 bands played on the day including the Rory Gallagher band. We had a beautiful day and really enjoyed the music; the concert was in the middle of the countryside. The only building next to it was the pub. I was in the pub for about 10 minutes when the man himself, Rory walked in with all of the band members. After a few more minutes they were joined by all of the musicians from the smaller bands too. Rory introduced me to all the other band members and we all drank and had a craic together ‘til closing time.

I then decided to go and try and find a place to stay, as I had no place booked. So I walked up the avenue from the pub to see if I could find a local B&B which would consist of a loft full of hay! As I was walking up the avenue I could hear a car coming up behind me. It was an automatic Mitsubishi, Donal Gallagher was driving the car and Rory was in the passenger seat. When Rory saw me he opened the window of the car & he said to me “Mick, where are you off to?” I said I was looking for somewhere to put my head down and he said, “Why don’t you come back to our hotel?” which was in Cookstown. It was a new hotel built after the old one had been blown up by the IRA. It was a beautiful hotel; I still have the menu and guest book at home!

I drank in the lobby of the hotel with Rory, Donal, and all the other band members from the smaller bands that had played that day. We drank Guinness until 3 in the morning until just Rory, Donal and myself were left. Rory then said to me about 3.30 “We have about 10 or 12 rooms booked for the various bands” so Rory brought me up to a room and said “This is your room, you can stay here tonight at our expense” The room had a big double bed, and a big bathroom with a Jacuzzi! Rory smiled at me and said “Have a nice sleep, see you in the morning” and walked away.

When I got up in the morning there was nobody left……. they were all gone….. and I never got the chance to thank him……

This story is to thank Rory for all the memories


Miss Myers

I have a Rory Story - Many moons ago, a drunken bunch had no room in the car for me, so I waited on a street in Cork while they dropped off the "really" drunk ones. As I was standing alone, a guy came towards me in a plaid shirt, long hair and shall we say possibly a bit tipsy. I had a little panic, so decided to cut him off at the pass by asking him the time. He asked me if I would be OK standing on my own, a very little girl with very big eyes. I thought to myself "Oh no, not another poet!!!" He explained that I was standing outside his Mum's house. I told him that I had a lift in a few minutes and then the car pulled up and he left - The guys were all yelling at me "What did you say to Rory?" I said "Rory Who"


Steve Rose

I first saw Rory in Hannover, Germany in 1972. I had never heard his music before but he came highly recommended so I figured I'd check out the show. The band's flight landing had been held up due to bad weather, but when they finally took the stage I remember Rory apologizing for the delay, gesturing a plane's circling motion with his hands - I thought that was pretty cool since maybe not everybody there would understand English. And once the show got underway I was hooked!
I got to meet Rory a couple of times over the next two years during my college days at Leicester Polytechnic. The first was a quick autograph and handshake after a gig at De Montfort Hall; the second was an after-show interview for our student magazine. My immediate impression was how subdued he appeared compared to the passionate performer I had witnessed not 30 minutes earlier! As I recall my questions were somewhat naive (I had no pretensions of ever writing for the NME) yet Rory was a most gracious interviewee.
In 1973 I hitchhiked from Bristol to the see Rory headline the Reading Festival. The journey was split into several stages, my final ride being a chauffer-driven Rolls Royce (on his way to pick up a passenger in London!).
The late-70s saw me in a band of my own, playing the American bases in Germany. One night some friends were driving me to a Rory show in Karlsruhe, after which I'd have to make my own way back to the band HQ - a caravan (that's a trailer, to any US readers!) - in Mainz, some two hours to the north. "How you gonna get home?" they asked. "Hey, I have to see the show - I'll worry about travel later!" came my confident reply, fuelled by the memory of the succesful Reading jaunt some years before. Well, it goes without saying that the show was great - I particularly remember the encore, with Rory lurching about the stage yelling "Whatcha wanna hear?" before launching into a blistering version of 'Sea Cruise'. Unfortunately, the rest of the evening didn't match the concert as I found myself bedding down beside the Autobahn somewhere north of Karlsruhe. It could have been worse - at least I had a sleeping bag!

Reading the stories of other contributors, it seems to me that our recollections are not just limited to Rory's performances or the personal encounters. They extend to our own experiences and the adventures we associate with these events. I will always be grateful to Rory for providing such great music and enduring memories.
I now live in the USA but next time I'm back in England I plan on digging out a roll of film - the photos I took of Rory during that interview in Leicester some 30 years ago. I'll let you know if I'm still able to develop a fresh set of pictures!


(c) 2010 - All rights reserved

Print this page