Subscribe to our newsletter

Credit: Alamy


Watch Rory Gallagher play 'Moonchild' in 1982


Rory Gallagher was firmly established by the release of 1976’s Calling Card. With praise from his illustrious peers and the acknowledgement that few, if any, guitarists could match his signature blend of technical skill and soulful emotion, Gallagher was in a league all his own.

There were even reports that he had to fight off an offer to join The Rolling Stones, who were willing to expand their all-English lineup to include the Irishman.

Gallagher was a stalwart on the rock circuit of the 1970s, but failed to garner the same attention afforded to acts like Eric Clapton or Jeff Beck. Even compared to his fellow Irish acts, like Van Morrison or Thin Lizzy, Gallagher was rarely held in the same light. But those who saw him knew how great of a generational talent he was, fusing the traditional folk stylings of his roots with R&B, jazz, blues, and even flamenco styles. Gallagher was a musical sponge, and he produced a sound that could only come from him and him alone.

Always equipped with his trusty 1961 Fender Stratocaster, Gallagher played so passionately that the guitar’s paint and finish began to peel. Whether it was because Gallagher reportedly had especially acidic sweat, or simply because he played so hard and dug into the guitar, the worn-down Strat became a signature for the guitarist. Even when he occasionally picked up an acoustic or a mandolin, the Strat was never far from his hands and holds a substantial place in Gallagher’s legacy.

That’s because the roots of Gallagher’s sound are in the Strat. His greatest influences, like Buddy Holly, and later his contemporaries, like Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, helped solidify the Strat as rock and roll’s most versatile guitar. But Gallagher was on the front lines as well, laying out fiery licks and emotional solos that were directly thanks to the well-loved Strat.

All of this can be heard in ‘Moonchild’, the high energy rocker that let Gallagher show off all the tools at his disposal. Lightning-fast runs, harmonics, wild string bends, and purity of tone are on full display as Gallagher rips through the track. The Strat’s signature quack can be heard, but the souped-up attack that Gallagher brought, both from his amps and his hands, made the Strat sound uniquely his.

Watch Gallagher tear up ‘Moonchild’ in 1982 down below.