- 03 Jul 20
Ian Anderson shares his reflections on Rory Gallagher's legacy, as part of our special 25th anniversary tribute to the legendary Irish guitarist.
Best known as the lead singer, flautist and acoustic guitarist with Jethro Tull, one of the most successful progressive rock bands in history, Ian Anderson has also released several solo albums.
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Jethro Tull and Rory worked together from his earliest days with Taste at the Marquee Club, London in 1968 and then on tour stadiums in the USA in the 1970s and festivals in Europe in the 1980s.
The thing which set Rory apart from the other blues bands and artists of the early days was – simply – energy. Rory had a good handle on the structure and traditions of black American blues but, rather than slavishly try to recreate the BB King licks and the vocal stylings of Muddy Waters et al, Rory went his own way. There was more angry white Irish boy with a half-empty Jameson in the Gallagher vocal delivery than Chicago bluesman with Jack Daniels.
A master of dynamics, Rory could raise the roof or hush the hubbub of the bar with confident control. I always felt that Rory was the prototype for the early Joe Bonamassa – another purveyor of raw energy when Joe arrived on the world music scene in 1981.
Above all, my memories of Rory, the man, are marked by his Irish identity. Those roots seemed all-important to him and that fierce national identity – politics and all – frequently came into conversation. I have no doubt that our paths would still cross, both on-stage and back-stage to this day, but for his sad passing at the mere age of 47.
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: