Real Life (Magazine album)

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Real Life
Studio album by Magazine
Released June 1978
Recorded March–April 1978 at the Virgin Mobile and Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Post-punk
Length 41:24
Label Virgin
Producer John Leckie
Magazine chronology
Real Life
Secondhand Daylight
Singles from Real Life
  1. "Shot by Both Sides" b/w "My Mind Ain't So Open"
    Released: 20 January 1978

Real Life is the debut studio album by English post-punk band Magazine. It was released in June 1978 by record label Virgin. The album includes the band's debut single "Shot by Both Sides", and was also preceded by the non-album single "Touch and Go", a song from the album's recording sessions.

Background and recording[edit]

The album was written over the preceding year by the band with Howard Devoto providing all of the lyrics. The two earliest songs "Shot by Both Sides" and "The Light Pours Out of Me" are co-written with Devoto's former Buzzcocks bandmate Pete Shelley. The majority of the material on the album was written by Devoto in collaboration with guitarist and founding member John McGeoch. "Motorcade" was co-written with the group's keyboardist Bob Dickinson, who played with the group in mid-1977 before being dismissed. The music for album's final track "Parade" was written by Dickinson's replacement Dave Formula with bassist Barry Adamson.

Having toured much of the album through 1977 and early 1978, the group's then line-up of Devoto (vocals), McGeoch (guitar and saxophone), Adamson (bass), Formula (keyboards) and Martin Jackson (drums) recorded the album in sessions using the Virgin Mobile and at Abbey Road Studios between March and April 1978. The album was produced and engineered by John Leckie.

The original artwork and monoprint for the album was designed by Linder and the photography was by Adrian Boot.


Real Life was released on LP and cassette in June 1978. It peaked at number 29 on the UK Album Chart.[1]

The album was reissued in remastered form by Virgin/EMI in 2007, along with the other three of the band's first four studio albums, and includes four bonus tracks and liner notes by Kieron Tyler.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
BBC Music favourable[3]
Stylus B+[4]
Uncut very favourable[5]

Real Life has been critically acclaimed since its release. Melody Maker declared "no one that has the slightest interest in the present and future of rock 'n' roll should rest until they've heard Real Life".[citation needed]


Real Life is included on several "best of" lists.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Howard Devoto

Side A
No. Title Music Length
1. "Definitive Gaze"   Devoto, John McGeoch 4:25
2. "My Tulpa"   Devoto, McGeoch 4:47
3. "Shot by Both Sides"   Devoto, Pete Shelley 4:01
4. "Recoil"   Devoto, McGeoch 2:50
5. "Burst"   Devoto 5:00
Side B
No. Title Music Length
6. "Motorcade"   Devoto, Dickinson 5:41
7. "The Great Beautician in the Sky"   Devoto, McGeoch 4:56
8. "The Light Pours Out of Me"   Devoto, McGeoch, Shelley 4:36
9. "Parade"   Barry Adamson, Dave Formula 5:08


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
UK Album Chart 29[1]
Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Shot by Both Sides" UK Singles Chart 41[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Magazine | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Real Life – Magazine | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards |". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Easlea, Daryl (13 March 2007). "BBC – Music – Review of Magazine – Real Life, Secondhand Daylight, Correct Use of Soap, Magic, Murder and the Weather". BBC Music. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Parrish, Peter (4 May 2007). "Magazine – Real Life / Secondhand Daylight / The Correct Use of Soap / Magic, Murder and the Weather – Review – Stylus Magazine". Stylus. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Mueller, Andrew. "Magazine – Reissues –". Uncut. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Artists Beginning with M (part 1)". The Guardian. 20 November 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Magazine Real Life". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 

External links[edit]