- 07 Jul 20
Pierce Turner shares his reflections on Rory Gallagher's legacy, as part of our special 25th anniversary tribute to the legendary Irish guitarist. Photo: Padraig Grant.
Wexford singer-songwriter Pierce Turner launched his solo career in 1987 with his acclaimed It's Only a Long Way Across – nominated for a New York Music Award for Best Debut. He has gone on to release several solo projects, including 2019's Vinegar Hill.
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The first time I saw Rory play was in Cork. I was about 17, and in a showband. It was the end of the showband era, but Ireland was still dominated by them. Our roadie was friends with Pat Egan, the promoter, and he brought us backstage.
It was pandemonium out there. The place was absolutely jammed with fellas and they were getting up on the stage. After the gig, the bouncers rushed Rory off – trying to get these guys off him. I knew of Taste, but not much beyond that, so I was astonished. People were treating Rory like a God.
I later saw him performing in America. Aerosmith were on the same bill. They arrived all made-up like superstars, in a limousine – and Rory had nothing, it seemed. Rory’s brother tells me that he would refuse to put out singles, and that’s why he never reached that status. But maybe he didn’t want it. Sometimes it looks like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot, but actually, that’s holding on to who you are. He was a certain kind of person, and he wanted to stay that way.
There are plenty of brilliant bands, but some people have a level of performance that’s just that little bit different – when they get up on the stage, you just can’t resist. Bruce Springsteen and U2 have that. And Rory had that too. He just knocked you out of your seat.
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: