Rory Gallagher beats U2 and Thin Lizzy to be voted Ireland’s Greatest Music Artist

Rory Gallagher
(Image credit: Brian Cooke/Redferns)

Late blues guitar icon Rory Gallagher has been awarded the mantle as Ireland’s Greatest Music Artist following a vote hosted by Dublin-based radio station Newstalk.

Gallagher, widely considered to be one of the finest and most influential blues rock electric guitar icons, beat a slew of the country’s musical heavyweights to win the posthumous award, including Thin Lizzy and U2, who occupied second and third spots respectively.

Guest host Tom Dunne announced the award, describing Gallagher as “the most loved, the most gentle, the most unaffected and the most down to earth man” and “one of the greatest guitar players of all time, without question."

He continued, “I’m delighted to see Rory [win]. I think his gigs in the ‘70s will literally never be forgotten. He has a place in the heart of Irish music fans.” An apt observation, given he had a 30 percent voting cushion ahead of second place.

The bestowing of the award coincides with the 50th anniversary of Gallagher’s seminal self-titled debut, which was released in 1971 – an occasion that is set to be celebrated with an array of honorary releases.

Among the celebratory offerings is a five-disc, Abbey Road-mastered Rory Gallagher 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set, suited to boot with fresh mixes of the original album, a six-song BBC Radio John Peel Sunday Concert, 30 as-yet-unheard alternate cuts and mixes, a 50-minute DVD of Gallagher’s first-ever solo concert and much more.

Also joining the party is a special commemorative installation at the Museum of Reading – an exhibition that pays tribute to both the first-ever Reading Festival and Gallagher’s celebrated appearance.

Titled The 1971 Reading Festival: For the first time, the event will put on display – quite literally for the first time in a public museum – Gallagher’s collection of guitar gear and musical equipment.

Head over to the official Rory Gallagher website (opens in new tab) to preorder the 50th Anniversary remaster – which is due September 3 – or visit Museum of Reading (opens in new tab) to find out more about the upcoming installation.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.