- 22 Jun 20
Cáit O'Riordan shares her reflections on Rory Gallagher's legacy, as part of our special 25th anniversary tribute to the legendary Irish guitarist.
My older brother was a headbanging rocker who loved loud guitars, heavy metal and rock’n’roll, so Rory’s music was always in the air, part of the soundtrack of growing up.
The man was charged up with an incredible power that flowed out of him. It’s the urgency in his voice, it’s the phenomenal punch of his playing: I’d hear him and want to start jumping around and singing along. I’ve always loved him. It is one of the great regrets of my life that I never saw him play live.
He was born with a gift, and some wild passion drove him to work with it and transmute the talent into great skill, but the skill never covered up or took away from the fire inside. It’s a rare alchemy – so many artists have the talent and the skill but very few seem to burn from the inside out like Rory did. He was possessed by a wildness, and it was a beautiful wildness until it dragged him under.
I always felt connected to Rory by the wildness and the passion – I see it in other Irish artists and I’ve always tried to honour it in myself and to channel it in my playing, without ever beginning to approach the level of Rory’s musicianship. And never forget that in the 1980’s, while synth bands took over the planet, Ireland did its own thing and kept the world safe for loud guitars and rock’n’roll. I always thought that’s down to Rory, and Thin Lizzy, and then U2. I clearly remember the first section of the international music press that started taking U2 very seriously included metal mags like Kerrang! – they recognised that The Edge was doing something very special, and had no trouble accepting that great guitar geniuses are to be found on this tiny little island on the edge of Europe – all because Rory Gallagher had gone ahead and blazed that trail.
The special Rory Gallagher 25th Anniversary Issue of Hot Press is out now – featuring reflections on Rory's legacy from President Michael D. Higgins, Imelda May, Johnny Marr, Mumford & Sons, Mick Fleetwood, Steve Van Zandt, Slash and many more. Pick up your copy in shops now, or order online below: