14th June marks the 25th Anniversary of Rory Gallagher’s passing from this mortal coil. Without his having paved the way it’s debatable whether or not the likes of Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats or U2 would have gained international fame.
The annual Rory Gallagher four-day music festival, in Ballyshannon, Ireland alongside other planned tribute shows have understandably had to be curtailed due to current pandemic lockdown restrictions. This includes the postponement of the unveiling of a statue of the great guitar hero outside the Ulster Hall in Belfast.
However, like the musician’s own ability to improvise, the day will be marked by his followers worldwide. Germany’s WDR TV are already transmitting his many infamous Rockpalast show performances and other European countries will be broadcasting Gallagher documentaries and concert programming.
On the 14th, Eagle Rock in partnership with YouTube will screen Gallagher’s performance with Taste at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 at 8:00 p.m. (BST) and in the build up to that a streamed mini Rory Gallagher festival will be taking place across Facebook and YouTube, staring at 5pm, featuring a number of musicians who played with or are inspired by the man. Hosted by radio legend David ‘Kid’ Jensen, the stream will include “Band Of Friends” featuring Rory’s former drummer and bass player Brendan O’Neil and Gerry McAvoy, Belfast born singer/songwriter Dom Martin and Peter Donegan, son of Rory’s first musical hero Lonnie Donegan.
Hot Press, Ireland’s premier music and cultural, magazine are also producing a special edition to honour the occasion (released June 18th) and together with Fender Musical Instruments they will host the opportunity for someone to win a Fender ‘Rory Gallagher’ replica Stratocaster. The publication will also feature contributions from the Rory’s many admiring peers including new interviews with the likes of Slash, Johnny Marr and J Mascis.
This year saw the successful release of the Check Shirt Wizard album, a live collection of Gallagher’s early 1977 UK performances, and his return to the album charts, notably, claiming the No.1 spot in Billboard’s Blues chart for three consecutive weeks. “This is a crowning honour in celebrating my brother, in his anniversary year and especially an acknowledgement of his devoted following,” said Dónal Gallagher, Rory’s brother and manager at the time.