Every once in a while, you come across a band that you want the world to know about. I came across one of those bands in 1990 when I was in high school. I first saw the video for “Dirty Love” from Thunder on MTV (remember when MTV showed videos?). It made me run right out and buy Backstreet Symphony on cassette (I didn’t have a CD player yet). It blew me away.
Other than “Dirty Love” and “Love Walked In,” Thunder didn’t get much play in the U.S. Many missed out on the brief window they had to hear about this band. They were big in the U.K. and Japan and that’s allowed them to continue even to this day (with a couple of hiatuses). They’ve put out great straight-up rock music throughout their career. They came out at the height of the hair metal era, but they weren’t a hair metal band. There a guitar-based, blues-rock band.
Danny Bowes has one of the best voices in rock. He reminds me of a more soulful and bluesy David Coverdale. Lead guitarist and main songwriter, Luke Morley creates catchy riffs and crafts stories through their songs. Thunder‘s rhythm section on Backstreet Symphony included Ben Matthews on guitar and piano, Mark “Snake” Luckhurst on bass and Gary “Harry” James on drums. The band’s interplay sounds like they had been together much longer at that point (even including the time Bowes and Morley were in Terraplane).
Highlights of the album go deep. In fact, the first seven songs may be one of the best seven song stretches on any album. “She’s So Fine” kicks it off with Bowes singing of love at first site. The aforementioned “Dirty Love” leads to “Don’t Wait For Me” which gives Bowes a chance to shine on vocals. The songs just keep getting better with “Higher Ground,” “Until My Dying Day,” “Backstreet Symphony,” and “Love Walked In.” The rest of the songs don’t fall off much at all making this album a must-have for all rock fans.
Video Sources: “Dirty Love” – AORHeavenHD via YouTube; “Love Walked In” – Rock Classics via YouTube