A tribute by Elliott Murphy

Elliott Murphy is acclaimed as one of his generation's most literate singer-songwriters. He has also authored a novel and two collections of short stories. His admirers in the music industry include such notables as Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Lou Reed, John Mellencamp, and Peter Buck of R.E.M. When Bruce Springsteen last toured Europe (1995), he invited Mr. Murphy to join him on stage in Paris. Over the last two decades, Mr. Murphy has released 15 albums, including his debut Aquashow in 1973, the well-received 1977 release Just a Story From America, in 1986 Milwaukee, and his latest (1996) offering Selling the Gold, which features a duet with Bruce Springsteen on the track Everything I Do (Leads Me Back to You). A native of Long Island, New York, Mr. Murphy lives in Paris, France.

For information on Elliott Murphy and his albums, contact dejadisc@eden.com. Here follows his recollection and tribute to Rory Gallagher:

June 18, 1996

When French promoter Pascal Bernardin asked me if I would be interested in opening on the Rory Gallagher 1979 Tour of France, I said yes right away. I knew of Rory Gallagher for some time, as we were both on Polydor Records in the U.S. during the early 70's, and even before that I had been a fan of Taste as well.

There have been many shows for me in the 18 years since, but I still vividly remember Rory's galvanizing performance. He played with a trio, and his sunburst Stratocaster was even more beat-up than my own. It was amazing how he could mesmerize thousands of people with no special lighting effects, no synthesizers, no background singers -- just the man and his undeniable abundance of soul. He was the real thing.

During the show in Paris I fell off the back of the stage and badly sprained my ankle and had to spend a week on crutches. I remember Rory coming backstage right away to see how the medics were treating me, and kidding me about doing (the Who's) Pete Townshend's jumps with my eyes closed. Many crazy things happened on that tour -- once the money sack with all my bands'proceeds from the tour was lost, and one of Rory's roadies casually walked into our dressing room and tossed it to my brother asking if he had misplaced it. There were thousands of dollars inside and not a cent missing. We celebrated that night by emptying our minibars.

There was much drinking on that tour, and at the end-of-tour dinner I insisted upon going around the table and giving each musician, roadie, manager, promoter, etc. a big kiss on the cheek. I was kind of embarrassed the next morning. In fact some years later, I found the booze was running me instead of me running it, and with the help of some friends I stopped drinking.

I followed Rory's exploits when I read a word about him. Heard he was living in Belgium for a while and I always hoped to cross paths again. He had the heart and soul and voice of a true bluesman, and I guess along the way he perhaps picked up a few of their vices as well. It's always hard to say why a man is led down a certain road in life and I'm the last to preach to anyone. I can say, however, that I always knew Rory to be deep down a truly sensitive artist and a master of his craft.

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to thank him again for taking me on that tour... He was more of a legend than he ever knew and there won't be many more like him. Rest in peace my friend.

Elliott Murphy

Thanks to Shiv Cariappa for contacting Elliott Murphy and also for writing the introduction.
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