last updated Friday November 06, 2020

George Galway Aged 79
RIP 4th October 2020

Photo courtesy of George's Facebook Page
Typical of his wicked humour, George put his birth date as 23rd Dec 1905 making him 115

My thanks to Rae Owens for this beautiful recording of
George playing Autumn Leaves with the Chicago Teds

On 3rd October 2020, George posted this message on Facebook - "Hello folks! It's been a while since I was on Facebook. I've not been very well. Five months in hospital and NHS care since February, and trying to recuperate at home with great support from the NHS and Martin so far. I don't have much energy, and can't really carry on a phone conversation. I very much hope I can turn it all around and get better! Please keep me in your prayers".

Martin subsequently wrote, "Sadly and unexpectedly, George passed away peacefully, less than 24hrs after this post".

I met George when he was playing at the Swan with Two Necks in Chorley in Sept 2008, where I recorded this small clip of the Rae Owens Quintet,  which featured George on Clarinet, Billy Edwards (tpt), Tony Dunleavy (tbn), Tony Ormesher (bjo), and Rae Owens (tuba) - Fred Burnett


05/10/20 -

Saxophonist George Galway died yesterday. He'll be sadly missed, he was a great player & he touched many peoples lives.

Laurie Cooper

05/10/20 -

This morning I sent you a link to my Soundcloud page which has several tunes/songs with George Galway playing. I only heard at 2.30  this afternoon that George had passed away which is so very sad. George is playing on the following numbered tracks -  10,13,20,21,23,25,26 & 27. We really had such a great time and lots of fun.

Julia Flynn

05/10/20 -

So sorry to hear about George. And just after he'd messaged us yesterday. He was a very fine player and a real character. I treasure the times I was fortunate enough to play with him at the Jazz Rendezvous and elsewhere and smile as I can hear him singing "I'm gonna sit right down and knit myself a sweater."

Keith Allcock


End of an era...
Superb player...One of the good guys.
Wish that I'd had a world famous brother.. handing me down 2nd hand gold flutes.
Told some ace anecdotes.

Howard Murray.

06/10/20 -

Aw' Jeez wee George gone now !  Being a fellow country man I enjoyed a number of wee chats with him, And his brother, with the sparkling eyes, was, of course, James the man with the Golden Flute.  On one occasion I was at a lunchtime gig down north Manchester somewhere and he said he was playing same evening for Derek Daniels in Garstang, but ' I haven't got a bloody clue how to get there '.  And I says ' Well you're in luck there my aul' son, let's go have something to eat and then you can follow me '  That was a good day out and some good craic. 

May the sun shine warm on your face, and the wind be always at your back.

RIP  Norman  Gibson

06/10/20 -

This is sad news indeed Fred. He was a superb musician with a great dry razor sharp sense of humour. It was always a privilege to play Jazz with him.

Roy Gregory Parade Jazzband

07/10/20 -

George Galway was a lovely man and a wonderful musician. He always made me laugh. I had some lessons with him and he was so fun, encouraging and generous - especially with his brother’s CDs! He gave me one for my Mum as I remember.

I saw him many times and his performances were always uplifting and inspiring. I particularly remember his version of Vittorio Monti’s Czardas that he performed at Stockport Town Hall. Everyone was awe struck by his virtuoso playing, and in fits of laughter at his spoken interludes where he explained how the music represented the courtship of a young man and his love - who was not so keen! It was hilariously funny. He’s exactly what we need right now!

I also remember working in Alan Gregory’s and George came in to get some music books for his students. When I told him the price, including his discount, he looked at me and said, in his lovely Irish accent, “At least Dick Turpin wore a mask!”, well we laughed and laughed.

It really is so sad to lose such a kind soul who was such an experienced and talented musician. He will be greatly missed.

Cat Hayden (friend, former student, and a fan always!)

08/10/20 -

What sad news, George was just about as good as it got, musically and as a wonderful friend.  He taught my daughter, who had just lost her mother, to play flute to a high standard for which she is ever grateful.

I was privileged to play with George on so many occasions I can’t even count them (e.g. Some of the wonderful stuff Julie put on).  When I used to run a jazz club at Manchester Rugby Club, George was a regular (and much loved) guest.

I’m not sure about this, but I think I may have been the last person to play with George on a gig.... 2 years ago a friend asked me to put “some jazz” on for his 60th.  After weeks of persuading, George said “ok”. A quartet of Roger Browne, Paul Medina, myself and George brought the house down!  (Someone may tell me differently)?

Top class musician, teacher and friend. Bless you George

Chris Pendlebury

08/10/20 -

I first met George sometime in the 1980s, when we were both peripatetic music teachers for Manchester Education, me for brass and George, naturally for reeds and woodwind. We both played in the Music Teachers' Big Band which used to tour the local schools. One of George's never to be forgotten tricks, often repeated over the years was to dangle the bottom half of his clarinet like a pendulum which always had his audiences, no matter what age, in tucks.

On another occasion, he told of the time when a member of the audience asked to blow his sax.
He said to the person '' Have you got AIDS?''
To which the person replied '' No.''
''Well I have!'' was George's response.

One cannot leave the subject of George without mentioning his flute playing, which my wife describes as magical and captivating. What a fulsome rich tone!  Throughout the following years, I was privileged to play alongside George in many ensembles, his impish grin never to be forgotten; a true leprechaun! RIP

Paul Medina

08/10/20 -

What an extraordinary, beautiful rendition of “Autumn Leaves, from a lovely, unassuming, twinkling man.

Very sad.

Jon Critchley

10/10/20 -

So sad to hear that George has left us. I was lucky enough to have played many gigs with George over the last 40 years or so. It goes without saying, a brilliant musician, but if George was on the job it was always going to be a fun night. Still playing like a dream with the end of the ‘broken’ clarinet waving around the room. The rest of the band trying to play on and keep a straight face.

A man who never failed to brighten up the day. He will be much missed.

John Goodfellow

11/10/20 -

Very sad to of the loss of George Galway. I had the honour of working with him on many occasions in big bands, recording at Strawberry Studios and on the cabaret circuit.

He’ll be sadly missed I’m sure by everybody he came into contact with.

Rest in peace George, God Bless.

Gerry Clayton

12/10/20 -

Passed on by Paul Medina, this notice on line at

"George GALWAY passed away peacefully at home on October 4th 2020 aged 79 years. Beloved Husband of the late Muriel, much loved Dad of Martin and Brian and a loved Brother of Sir James and his wife Lady Jeanne. George will be sadly missed by nieces Jacqueline and Lorraine and friends Sue, Jenny and Sylvie. The funeral will be a private family service. All enquiries to Eamonn A. Kennedy Funeral Directors, Northenden tel 0161 945 2097.''

15/10/20 -

My friendship with George goes back some 50 years. During that time we did countless gigs together and I visited him regularly at his home in Didsbury. He was a very talented musician with an impish sense of humour.

When I called him on the phone I used to say, “Is that himself”? and he used to reply”, “To be sure to be sure”.

He will be sadly missed by all his many friends and my thoughts and prayers go out to Martin and the family with my deepest sympathy

Bryan Pendleton

06/11/20 -

Just to let you know that George Galway’s son Martin asked me to speak at George’s funeral 0n Monday 26th April. I wrote a short address on behalf of all the Jazz Musicians and audiences that had enjoyed his many talents over the years. I asked for my husband Paul Bamford to make the speech for me because I knew that I would be too upset to do it myself.

George’s brother Sir James Galway played a classical piece together with his wife Jeanie on flutes and spoke about their childhood in Belfast. James played Danny Boy and then Jimmy Cricket the Irish Comedian spoke of George playing regularly with Ken Dodd and himself and of the good times that they had spent together.

Paul Bamford said that there were too many people to mention that had played with George but he was unique, a one off, never to be repeated. One of his favourite sayings was

“ Hoagy Carmichael wrote this shortly before he died , as he wrote all his tunes before he died”. Although we had heard the gag many times it still made everyone laugh.

When George’s friend, pianist Alan Howarth was in a nursing home having lost most of his memory through dementia, George visited and found him in a corner with a tiny keyboard playing a hymn. George took out his Clarinet and played the intro to a tune. Alan was straight in and played the number all the way through- It was Autumn leaves .

There are lots of stories to be told – Greatly missed our friend George Galway.

I have included 2 photo’s of my band Kings of Swing with George[Reeds], Alan Howarth [Piano], Ernie Dodd [Bass] Paul Bamford [Guitar] Mike Burns [Trumpet] and Nigel Cretney [Drums]

Julie Flynn


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