Our top 10 Rory Gallagher songs list will be sure to get your headbanging. Although he never reached the great heights of the music charts, his prolific blues guitar-playing earned him the reputation as one of rock’s pioneering electric guitarists.
So much so that in 1971 he was voted Melody Maker’sInternational Top Guitarist of the Year, surpassing Eric Clapton. There’s a rumor in the music world that when Jimi Hendrix was asked what it felt like to be the best guitar player in the world, he responded “I don’t know. Ask Rory Gallagher.”
Although doubtful of its legitimacy, the story reaffirms the legendary status that Gallagher became.
Top 10 Best Rory Gallagher Songs
10. Shadow Play
“Shadow Play” was released on Rory’s 1978 album Photo-Finish. Here’s what Gallagher had to say about the song.
I can distinctly remember writing “Shadow Play” with a 12-string guitar because I was in bed with the flu in Ireland, and the effect of the flu seemed to affect me with the lyrics. Because with a bad flu you get slightly dazed with sleep and all that.”
Released on his 1971 album Deuce, “Should’ve Learnt My Lesson” has got to be one of the best blues-rock songs of all time. The track really displays his lyrical command of the blues song and matching guitar playing.
8. As The Crow Flies
One of the best acoustic Rory Gallagher songs, “As The Crow Flies” was originally written by Tony Joe White in 1971. The track was released on his live album Irish Tour ’74.
7. I’m Not Awake Yet
“I’m Not Awake Yet” was released on his second solo album Deuce in 1971. Not one of the typical Rory Gallagher songs, the track is quite different from the normal powerful blues-rock, instead, it combines elements of folk, jazz, and even a bit of his Celtic heritage.
Released on his 1979 album Top Priority, this Rory Gallagher song is based on the story of a famous Cold War traitor to the British, Kim Philby, who acted as a double agent for the Soviets. Rory uses an electric sitar borrowed from Pete Townshend during the guitar solo to give the song that Eastern Bloc feel.
5. Bad Penny
“Bad Penny” features on Rory Gallagher’s tenth album, Top Priority, released in 1979. The album signifies a return back to the powerful blues-rock we all associate Rory with. “Bad Penny” epitomizes this. We think it’s also one of the best Rory Gallagher songs to highlight the ferocity of the power trio as a unit, especially Gerry McAvoy’s improvised bass playing.
4. I Fall Apart
Released as the third track on Gallagher’s self-titled first solo album in 1971, “I Fall Apart” has a jazz and eclectic feel to it, resembling the style of his first band Taste. The song features an impressive guitar solo which gradually builds to a forceful climax.
3. Tattoo’d Lady
“Tattoo’d Lady” is the opening track from the 1973 album Tattoo. One of the more laid-back Rory Gallagher songs, it reflects his fondness of the fairground lifestyle and its resemblance to life on the road as a touring musician.
2. Bullfrog Blues
If you want a Rory Gallagher song to headbang to, “Bullfrog Blues” is the one. Written by American country blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, William Harris, the track appears on Gallagher’s 1972 Live in Europe album. The hard-rocking song was a staple for live shows and is some of the best slide guitar playings of all time.
1. A Million Miles Away
“A Million Miles Away” was released on Gallagher’s fifth album Tattoo in 1973. The song perfectly encapsulates his raw musical talent, from his soulful guitar solos and bluesy voice. If you want to introduce someone to Rory, then this is the song.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our top 10 Rory Gallagher songs list.