A two-hour special was broadcast on Sunday 20 March celebrating the music of Magnum and the 50th Anniversary with interview excerpts from the GRTR! archive, fan recollections, and classic tracks.
BONUS TRACKS! Weve added some Magnum archive material to our podcasts. These can be accessed at the foot of the page (GRTR! RSS) or via our Podcast page.
Magnum in the Millennium
MAGNUM MONTH @ GRTR! (Radio)
Monday 7 March 16:00 GMT (repeated 10 March, 23:00)
What Magnum Means To Me: Malcolm Dome
Monday 14 March 16:00 GMT (repeated 17 March, 23:00)
Evolution: Bob Catley & Tony Clarkin at 40
Thursday 17 March, 22:00 GMT:
Vintage Rare Magnum
Sunday 20 March, 18:00 GMT (repeated 24 March, 22:00)
What Magnum Means To Me: Al Barrow
Sunday 20 March 22:00 GMT:
What Magnum Means To Me: Two hour special
Monday 21 March 16:00 GMT
Magnum in the 1990s
Thursday 24 March 23:00 GMT:
Sleepwalking in the BBC Archive
Sunday 27 March: 18:00 GMT:
Bob Catley in 2016
Monday 28 March 16:00 GMT:
Tony Clarkin in 2014
In March 2022 Get Ready to ROCK! celebrates 20 years reviewing melodic rock band Magnum. The band celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2022 with a new album and UK/European tour from late March.
We are taking the opportunity to bring together a selection of our material to give a flavour of the band in the 21st century. This will also be reflected on our radio station with a month-long promotion of their music including archive interviews and special features.
Get Ready to ROCK! editors Jason Ritchie and David Randall are long-standing fans. Jason’s first Magnum gig was Monsters Of Rock in 1985 (shortly after the release of their classic ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’) whilst David caught up with them in the early 1990s. Both have been keen fans ever since.
Each section in our special feature is prefaced by reviewer recollections. It is interesting that their selection of favourite tracks usually coincides with their early interest in the band so most choices focus on the 1980s.
Magnum’s long-serving bass player Al Barrow chatted to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio about his time with the band and chose favourite tracks. First broadcast 20 March 2022.
It’s very touching to know the fans are still there after all these years.
The late Malcolm Dome was a long-standing advocate for the band with Magnum’s progress in the early 1980s coinciding with his early music writing. He subsequently contributed pieces to the band’s tour programmes. His notes for the ‘Wings Of Heaven’ tour in 1988 (admittedly partisan but heartfelt nevertheless) attempted to analyse the fans great devotion:
“I’ve seen both sides of the Magnum coin – triumph and agony. I saw them clamber out of the pit and confound all critics… and rising to ever greater heights. But, you know what, I still don’t know what draws me constantly into the cuckholding arms of this most gentle of acts… We are all totally and unreservedly committed to Magnum, it’s as simple as that.”
Malcolm then went on to describe “one of the finest outfits Britain has EVER produced in the rock field also instills a unique sense of loyalty and comradeship amongst us.”
He therefore identifys key aspects which are repeated through the years: the personal impact of the music and mutual support through good and bad times, a sense of shared experience and fraternity, a sort of tribalism which of course is manifest in a communal display of attitude and attire: what Dome called “the guy (or girl) in the tired leather, the jaded denims and the weary T-shirt.” Of course it helps too if the band is “accessible” and “approachable” for fans. Countless album launches and meet and greets have endeared Magnum to the fans whilst a hard-working backroom team ensure the wheels keep turning.
A rookie journalist after seeing the band support Def Leppard at Nottingham Boat Club Dome declared “I’d discovered an army and was proud to be a foot soldier.”
In 2012 Malcolm Dome produced a one hour radio special for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio which is repeated as part of our Magnum Month celebrations. Monday 7 March 16:00 GMT (repeated 10 March, 23:00)
Magnum should be treasured as jewels in the crown of British Rock.
By way of introduction to “Magnum Month” David Randall give his own thoughts on…
What Magnum Means to Me…
In the late-1970s I was a student in the band’s happy home stomping ground of Birmingham but for some reason they passed me by. I missed their late 1980′s “heyday” as well. I first got into Magnum in the early 1990s and during that decade became slightly obsessive about their music, buying into the “brand”, collecting T-shirts, picture discs and travelling large distances to see them play live.
Within a couple of years, like my GRTR! colleagues a decade earlier, I had been drawn in hook, line and sinker. Indeed Bob’s mum Ollie, who replied to all correspondence at this time, commented “Pleased to hear you are now an addict. Your sentiments are the thoughts of most people who write to me of all ages, and we are always pleased to hear it. Bob read your letter with a smile on his face.”
I was also fortunate to see them “on my doorstep” as they played several dates in the early-1990s at the Tivoli venue in North Wales. On one occasion they were a week ahead of a fledgling Oasis. I even plucked up the courage to interview the genial Bob Catley, battling with the background noise of a rock club and not realising there were better ways of doing this.
To be honest it was a bit of a shock seeing the “classic” line-up ducking the low ceiling of a small rock club when they had been able to command the stage at the Hammersmith Odeon only a few years before.
Photo: Ian Pollard
I can see why the band evoke such passion and loyalty in the fans. Part of the reason is they have maintained a consistency and quality throughout their 50 year career. Yes, certain albums may have polarised the faithful but that’s always going to happen in a five decade lifespan. Albums can always be revisited and re-evaluated. For a long time the band had a stable line-up although latterly Magnum has revolved around the two mainmen and founders, Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin.
Catley and Clarkin’s rapport and musical relationship has served them well since the late 1960s when they first played cover versions together at a club in Birmingham, The Rum Runner. Catley is a charismatic frontman who interprets Clarkin’s songs with both insight and intuition. Clarkin is a master songwriter, a thoughtful lyricist and never too far away from the next anthemic hook.
Get Ready to ROCK! has borne witness to the band’s early millennium renaissance. After a perhaps inevitable hiatus in the mid-1990s they regrouped with 2002′s suitably entitled ‘Breath Of Life’. Since that time they have released a new studio album every couple of years. The band have formed the basis of many reviews on the website, gigs and interviews reflecting the shared interest of several reviewers.
Even if you like a band it is never all sweetness and light, opinions can change with the latest gig or new album. I like to think that we’ve always been honest in our appraisal and if a setlist was predictable or there was an album anomaly, we said so. But in the context of 20 years of reviewing a consistency is evident, they seldom fall below a 4 out of 5 star rating.
The over-riding opinion is that we love Magnum. We salute the band in their 50th year.
1. Stormy Weather (Sleepwalking, 1992)
2. Vigilante (Vigilante, 1986)
3. Brand New Morning (Brand New Morning, 2004)
4. Love’s A Stranger (Rock Art, 1994)
5. Matter Of Survival (Goodnight L.A., 1990)