Rory Gallagher, John Lennon, and Jerry Lee Lewis

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Rory Gallagher, John Lennon, and Jerry Lee Lewis

Postby RobertaSparrow » 26 Jul 2016, 05:29

This is an old story, one Rory relayed to others in interviews, and one that Donal has re-told many times. It's a favorite, and this is the anniversary of that event.

Here is a site for reference:

In part, as told by Rory:

Rory and a few friends were invited to a special Jerry Lee Lewis showcase gig at the Roxy club in Los Angles. The concert began equably enough and the audience was really starting to get into it when who should walk in but one John Lennon.

"Lennon was going through his LA phase at the time and his hair was really short but everyone still recognised him and they all turned around to look at him as he took his seat in the balcony,” recalls Rory. "Needless to say, the fact that he was being upstaged drove Jerry Lee wild. He started to do the "Jerry Lee Rag” but everybody was still looking up at Lennon and whispering about him. All of a sudden, Jerry Lee stopped and started on about how The Beatles were shit and The Stones were shit and there ain't nobody could play real rock `n' roll the way Jerry Lee could. Lennon loved this. He had his boot up on the balcony and he started egging Jerry Lee on, shouting (adopts convincing Lennon voice) `yeah, you're right there man, The Beatles are shit!' People started laughing but Jerry Lee thought that Lennon was shouting abuse at him so he freaked out altogether. He just pushed the piano across the stage and stormed off.”

The atmosphere in The Roxy was understandably tense. Most people left, fearing that Jerry Lee might go on the rampage with one of the firearms that everyone knew he always carried with him. Others stuck around hoping to witness just such an eventuality. As it happened, Rory Gallagher had a backstage pass and wanted to go in to Jerry Lee's dressing room to try and cheer him up and calm him down. Rory's brother and manager, Donal, warned against this and argued that he would be risking his life to enter such a fearsome lion's den at a time like this. Enter, at this delicate juncture, Tom O'Driscoll.

O'Driscoll is a brick-shithouse of a man from Scull, Co. Cork. A fisherman by trade, he has acted as Rory's unofficial bodyguard for almost two decades and still travels most places with him today. Donal Gallagher agreed that Rory could go backstage provided that O'Driscoll went with him. "I wasn't too afraid of Jerry Lee because I had worked on the sessions with him,” says Rory. "But everybody else was obviously very scared because there was nobody else in the dressing room when Tom and I went in.”

It took considerable diplomacy and tact on Gallagher's part but gradually he managed to coax Jerry Lee out of his sulk. "We actually got to the point where we were just chatting away, reminiscing about the sessions and that kind of thing.” Rory recalls. "Then, all of a sudden, the door opened and in walked Lennon. There was dead silence for a couple of seconds. I just stared at Jerry Lee to see how he was going to react. But Tom O'Driscoll couldn't resist this opportunity. He was a huge Beatles fan and he just went over to Lennon, dropped down on his knees, kissed his hand and said `I've been waiting twenty years to get the autograph of the king of rock `n' roll'!

"Of course, this drove Jerry Lee completely wild. He went for his sock, thinking that he had a gun in it and then he started looking around for something to throw or break. Lennon could see all this so he quickly signed Tom's piece of paper and then, to diffuse the situation, he took the pen and another piece of paper from Tom and went across the room to Jerry Lee. He did exactly what Tom had done to him. He went down on his knees, kissed Jerry Lee's hand and said `I've been waiting twenty years to get the autograph of the real king of rock `n' roll'. Jerry Lee was delighted. He signed the scrap of paper and they started talking then and everything was fine. It was a wonderful moment.”

- See more at: ... dIwKA.dpuf

Post Script- I lived in Los Angeles at that time, and John Lennon had been in the local news a couple times that month. That was the time which John referred to as his "lost weekend." I myself was never a Jerry Lee fan. However, if I had known two of my favorite musicians were at The Roxy, I'd have found a way to be there. :)
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Re: Rory Gallagher, John Lennon, and Jerry Lee Lewis

Postby ailish78 » 26 Jul 2016, 13:27

Thank you for posting this Cynthia. I know I've read this before, but I had forgotten.
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Re: Rory Gallagher, John Lennon, and Jerry Lee Lewis

Postby Sinner Girl » 27 Jul 2016, 14:16

Thanks for posting, very nice to read :D :D
''When I was a cowboy out on the Western Plain''

''Being back home means a lot.A bit a peace and quiet and some rest . I write all my songs at home.Its an amazing thing, the minute I get here I begin to wright'
Rory Gallagher
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