From NWOBHM heroes to chart botherers and on to being affectionately regarded as cult masters. Magnum’s journey over the last 40 years has been remarkable, littered with obstacles such as a label who didn’t care about them and guitarist Tony Clarkin’s ill health (in the early part of the last decade), plus coming close to breaking up more than once. But they’ve overcome them all with fortitude, application and dignity.
Although the Birmingham band had been around for close to a decade by then, it was with 1978’s ‘Kingdom Of Madness’ album that they gained a reputation. Their dedication to epic music made them stand apart from the NWOBHM melée, as did Bob Catley’s powerful vocals. But a steady rise during the early 1980s was halted when their label Jet lost all interest and dropped them. The band thought seriously about quitting, but a farewell tour in 1984 turned into an astonishing resurrection nnd 1985’s ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’ album set the quintet on the path to a major deal with Polydor, which saw them have five top 30 albums in the UK and arena tours around the UK and Europe; they even got to appear at the Monsters Of Rock Festival in 1985.
Aside from a hiatus in the late 1990s, the band have kept going, releasing consistently impressive albums, which showcased not only Magnum’s musical expertise but Clarkin’s supreme writing skills; he’s been responsible all the material since their inception. And the current line-up of Catley, Clarkin, keyboard player Mark Stanway (who’s been with them since 1980), bassist Al Barrow and drummer Harry James is arguably their finest in a distinguished career.
‘On A Storytellers Night’, ‘Sacred Hour’, ‘Start Talking Love’
Their Finest Hour
‘On A Storyteller’s Night’ 1985
The band live in Germany during 1986. The atmosphere, the performance. Startling.