Classical gems: Magnum – On A Storyteller’s Night

Magnum – On A Storyteller’s Night

On A Storyteller’s Night
FM – Polydor
May 13th, 1985

Magnum were founded in Birmingham, UK in 1972 by singer Bob Catley and guitarist Tony Clarkin. At first they were the background band for various American singers, but only with moderate success. It was only when they appeared as a supporting act for Judas Priest in 1976 that they achieved a breakthrough. And they got their first record deal with Jet Records. The first two albums “Kingdom Of Madness” and “Magnum II) were released in 1978 and 1979. From 1980 more albums followed, but their level of awareness remained limited to Great Britain. The first major commercial success was also the best musical album to date. The fifth studio album “On A Storyteller’s Night” was released thirty-five years ago and became a milestone in the history of melodic hard rock. I took this anniversary as an opportunity to listen to the album more closely.

The album starts with one of the band’s greatest hits. “How Far Jerusalem” is still part of the permanent live repertoire and is regularly celebrated by the fans. After a short musical intro, you can really enjoy this song. On the keyboard, the recently returned Mark Stanway is completely convincing. Afterwards you can immediately hear the band’s trademarks, Bob Catley’s powerful and slightly scratchy voice and the melodic guitar playing of songwriter Tony Clarkin. These three were for many years the backbone of the British. “Just Like an Arrow” was released as a single. And made it to number 83 in the UK charts. With an amazing guitar solo. A lively rock song with a catchy tune, in a positive sense. The song by the storyteller (“On a Storyteller’s Night”) is also often presented live. Here, the creative duo Clarkin / Catley has created an epic song for eternity. After the rocking “Before First Light” follows with “Les Morts Dansants” another song that shouldn’t be missing on any setlist.

Goosebumps are guaranteed both in the studio version and live. What a great ballad. For this, Magnum really rock on with “Endless Love” again. There is also a chorus where you just have to sing along. “Two Hearts” can also be easily classified as a rock song. You don’t want to stand still, but dance along, or at least headbang. The guitar sounds would also go well with a Southern Rock song. This shows Mister Clarkin’s versatility. You have to emphasize that you can sing along to “Steal Your Heart”. Keyboarder Mark Stanway can really let off steam here. With “All England’s Eyes” follows just before the end of the next super-hit. This is also set at concerts. And always keeps the eyes of the fans shining. The album ends with another great ballad. “The Last Dance” is the crowning glory.

With “On A Storyteller’s Night” Magnum has released an outstanding album. Ten timelessly beautiful songs that music fans are still able to inspire today. The British are firing hit after hit here. There is not one weak point, no filler. It is difficult to particularly emphasize one or a song here. For me, the fifth album by the British is one of the best rock albums ever.

[wp-review id=”17846″]

Track list

  1. How Far Jerusalem
  2. Just Like an Arrow
  3. On a Storyteller’s Night
  4. Before First Light
  5. Les Morts Dansants
  6. Endless Love
  7. Two Hearts
  8. Steal Your Heart
  9. All England’s Eyes
  10. The Last Dance


Bob Catley – Vocals
Tony Clarkin – Guitar
Wally Lowe – Bass Guitar
Mark Stanway – Keyboards
Jim Simpson – Drums

MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber