Rory Gallagher has been voted Ireland’s greatest musical artist

The win coincides with 50th anniversary celebrations of Gallagher’s self-titled solo debut and Reading Festival performance.

Rory Gallaghe

Image: Michael Putland / Getty

Guitarist Rory Gallagher has been voted Ireland’s Greatest Music Artist by the listeners of Dublin’s national independent radio station Newstalk.

Gallagher came out at the very top of the list, ahead of artists such as U2, Thin Lizzy, Christy Moore and Van Morrison. The full list of nominees was chosen via a combination of submissions from Newstalk listeners and an expert panel.

The win for Gallagher coincides with 50th anniversary celebrations of Gallagher’s self-titled 1971 debut, as well as his seminal performance at Reading Festival that year. Marking the date is a new triple-LP box set, containing a new mix of the original record and 18 unheard outtakes and unreleased songs. It can be preordered here, for release on 3 September 2021. It will also be available to stream through all major services: find out more here.

In addition, on 26 August the Museum of Reading will launch a major exhibition entitled The 1971 Reading Festival: For the First Time, taking its title from Gallagher’s 1971 song, For the Last Time. Rory’s 1966 Fender Telecaster and his Vox AC30 amplifier, alongside a number of other items from his performance at the festival, will be on display. Find out more here.

Gallagher was born in 1948 in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland, and raised in Cork. His first band, Taste, was a blues rock power trio. After they disbanded, Gallagher embarked on his solo career, during which he released numerous solo studio records and collaborations with musicians such as Muddy Waters and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Gallagher died of liver failure at the age of 47 in 1995. There are numerous tributes to him dotted around Ireland, including a statue in his county of birth and a bronze model of his Fender Stratocaster in Dublin, under the sign for a street named in his honour.

Newstalk revealed the full top ten from the poll, which is as follows:

  1. Rory Gallagher
  2. U2
  3. Thin Lizzy
  4. Aslan
  5. Luke Kelly
  6. Cranberries
  7. Christy Moore
  8. Van Morrison
  9. Sinéad O’Connor
  10. Hozier

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