Thunder Biography

UK hard rock quintet heavily influenced by Bad Company and the Rolling Stones. Thunder evolved from the ashes of Terraplane, with the surviving nucleus of Danny Bowes (14 April 1960, England; vocals), Luke Morley (b. 19 June 1960, England; guitar) and Gary James (b. 19 June 1960, England; drums) recruiting Mark Luckhurst (bass) and Ben Matthews (b. 21 July 1963, England; guitar/keyboards) to complete the line-up. Moving away from the melodic power pop of their former incarnation, they teamed up with producer Andy Taylor (ex-Duran Duran) to record Back Street Symphony, a stunning album of bluesy rockers and atmospheric ballads, which received widespread critical acclaim for their dual guitar attack of alternating riffs and lead breaks, with Bowes’ gritty and emotional vocals adding charisma and distinction. Live, the icing on the cake was drummer Gary James’ erratic behaviour, which included appearing in a tutu or offering impromptu Frank Sinatra impersonations.

Thunder landed the opening slot at the Donington Festival in 1990 and were the surprise success of the day. In 1991, they concentrated on the American market, touring extensively in an attempt to make the all-important breakthrough. However, though another strong collection, Laughing On Judgement Day was not the album to do it. Luckhurst (who would go on to join the David Coverdale / Jimmy Page touring band) departed in acrimony in 1993 to be replaced by Mikael Hoglund (b. 15 May 1962; ex-Great King Rat). The title of the band’s excellent third album, Behind Closed Doors, proved appropriate as the band had spent over 12 months recording the set in the USA with the aid of Aerosmith / AC/DC producer Mike Fraser. Hoglund departed prior to the release of The Thrill Of It All, which was released on the band’s B. Lucky Music imprint.

By the turn of the new millennium it appeared that Thunder had run its course, much to the disappointment of their still quite substantial following. The band was given a warm reception when, against the odds, they returned in 2003 with a new studio album, Shooting At The Sun. Even more successful was 2005’s The Magnificent Seventh, which spawned the UK Top 30 hit ‘I Love You More Than Rock ‘N’ Roll’. Thunder retain the spirit of great hard rock and blues rock bands of the 60s and 70s (Free, Bad Company) without sounding remotely dated.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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