Rory Gallagher continues to be one of the most underrated guitarists of all time. You only have to check his position on last year's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time to realize that. Fifty-seventh-greatest my ass.
Everyone from Slash to Joe Bonamassa to fellow Irishmen Bob Geldof and Phil Lynott knew the stunning talent of Gallagher, which was made evident every time he strapped on that famously worn Strat of his.
Now the world's biggest Gallagher fanatics are working hard to make sure the guitar hero gets the credit he's due. The latest effort involves an online petition to get the name of the airport in his hometown of Cork, Ireland, changed to Cork Rory Gallagher Airport. Here's the message on the petition.
Ireland has traditionally lauded her favourite sons and daughters, especially those involved in the performing arts.
Rory Gallagher (1947-1995) was Ireland's first true international rock and roll star and was revered not only for his supreme musicianship and talent as an entertainer but also for his integrity as an artist and overwhelming humility as a person. He could bring people together from across religious and political divides in joyous celebration of peace through music and that music is as vibrant and exciting today as it ever was. His career spanned 30 years from the showbands; through Taste, one of the biggest bands in the world in the late '60s and then a successful solo career until his untimely death in 1995. He is still greatly mourned by his millions of fans worldwide.
A national memorial to Rory in Ireland is long overdue. Rory lived for many years in Cork. He bought his trademark Fender Stratocaster guitar in the town in 1963 and played it almost every day until he died. He was known and loved by the local population and it's a love that is still very evident today. He is still regularly honoured as a favourite son with tributes in the city but there is now a case for a more permanent monument. We feel that there would be no better way to keep his name and spirit alive across the world than by petitioning the relevant authorities to rename the existing Cork International Airport to Cork Rory Gallagher Airport. The airport continues to undergo a huge programme of redevelopment and expansion so a popular name change at this time could only enhance the success of the new facilities.
Airports bring people together. Rory's talent and humility still does.
There are currently 8,404 names on the petition, but when I went there just now to make mine 8,405 the thing didn't work. Hopefully it'll get fixed soon, so the target of 10,000 names can be quickly met.
I would fucking love to land at Cork Rory Gallagher Airport one fine day.
You can follow Rory Gallagher fanatic Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.