Northern Ireland

Rock star Rory Gallagher's guitar up for auction

Rory Gallagher Image copyright other
Image caption Rock guitarist Rory Gallagher died in 1995

A guitar custom-built for Irish blues and rock legend Rory Gallagher is to be auctioned on Friday in England.

It is one of the last guitars owned by the legendary rock singer, who inspired some of the world's most famous guitar players.

It was given to someone who was very close to him after his death.

The limited edition 'JS Berlin Legend' Patrick Eggle electric guitar is expected to fetch between £15,000 and £20,000.

Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and spent part of his childhood in Derry. He lived in Cork and first made headlines with his band, Taste, in the late 1960s.

He was very popular in Belfast where he played regularly through some of the darkest days of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Gallagher died in June 1995 when he was just 47.

His influence stretched from Slash to Johnny Marr, from U2 to Queen's Brian May, and Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield.

'Inspirational figure'

Eric Clapton credited him with "getting me back into the blues". The Rolling Stones wanted him to replace Mick Taylor and when Jimi Hendrix was asked how it felt to be the world's greatest guitarist, he is reported to have said: "I don't know, go ask Rory Gallagher".

Gallagher would also guest on albums by Belfast bands whom he inspired - Energy Orchard and Stiff Little Fingers - as well as play on albums of those who inspired him; Jerry Lee Lewis, Albert King, Albert Collins and Muddy Waters.

Eighteen years after his death, the 2013 Classic Rock Awards honoured him with the Tommy Vance Inspiration Award saying: "The ability to inspire a new generation is a genuinely special trait. To be an inspirational figure you must not only be mercurially talented, but also a boundary-pusher, someone who breaks down walls and refuses to let their creativity be stifled."

Kevin Kendal, auctioneer with 1818 Auctioneers in Cumbria, said the guitar had been custom-built to suit Rory's style.

"Rory Gallagher combined fierce fret work, a rugged voice and a love of the blues, rock 'n' roll, folk and R&B, to forge a sound all his own," he said.

"The sale of this guitar represents a rare opportunity to connect to a great and genuine musician. Its Patrick Eggle pedigree means it has been made to an exceptionally high standard.

"The vendor is local to us. I understand they were close and he was given it after Rory died. He wishes to remain anonymous."

Patrick J Eggle remembers working on the guitar. It is understood that he also played it before it left the factory saying he wanted to perform one of Rory's best known songs, Messin' with the Kid, on it before Rory did.

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