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Thunder in concert in Wolverhampton, circa December 2006
|Genres||Hard rock, blues rock|
|Years active||1989–2000, 2002–2009, 2011-present|
EMI Records, Geffen Records
Gary 'Harry' James
|Past members||Paul Caple
Mark 'Snake' Luckhurst
Thunder are an English hard rock band, who originally formed in 1989 when the band Terraplane broke up, leaving lead singer Danny Bowes and guitarist/main songwriter Luke Morley to form a new group, namely Thunder. Retaining Terraplane drummer Gary James (popularly known as 'Harry' James), they completed the line-up with bassist Mark 'Snake' Luckhurst and guitarist/keyboard player Ben Matthews. Though the band's main area of support has remained their homeland of the UK, they also enjoy significant success in Japan.
Luke Morley and Danny Bowes first met at Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College in 1975, where they formed the band Nuthin' Fancy, which played in pubs around the London area and released an independent single "Looking For A Good Time". When Harry James joined after the previous drummer left, the band renamed themselves Terraplane. As Terraplane they played numerous gigs, including regular performances at the Marquee Club and a slot at the 1982 Reading Festival. They were signed by Epic Records and ultimately released two albums.
Renamed Thunder, they were signed to EMI after performing a demo audition in 1989, and began recording their first album Back Street Symphony. With their producer, Andy Taylor (of Duran Duran) they created blues-rock and atmospheric ballads. Their debut album was a success in the UK, helped by an appearance at the 1990 Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park.
A follow-up album, Laughing on Judgement Day appeared in 1992 and reached number 2 in the UK Albums Chart. All four singles released from the album were Top 40 hits, and A Better Man made the UK Top 20 in early 1993. Snake quit the band after the subsequent tour and was replaced by Swedish bass player Mikael Höglund. In the meantime, rumours of an approach by Whitesnake singer David Coverdale to recruit Luke Morley were circulating, although in 2002 Danny Bowes stated that "the whole thing was made up" by the band to engineer some press interest. and it would be another two years before the third album appeared.
That album, Behind Closed Doors was reasonably successful, reaching number 5 in the UK Albums Chart. Despite this it was to be the band's last studio album for EMI, and they parted company with the label with a compilation: Their Finest Hour... And A Bit, notable for its inclusion of several unreleased tracks, in particular a cover of the Python Lee Jackson song "In a Broken Dream". For personal reasons Mikael Höglund was unable to participate in the recording of the band's fourth album The Thrill Of It All; Luke Morley handled bass duties and the album was released on the independent B Lucky record label. The band recruited bassist Chris Childs for the tour and he remained with them for the rest of their career.
In 1998, the band released Live. The album featured recordings from concerts in Wolverhampton and Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. A DVD of the album was also released. Later that year, two EPs were released containing the single "The Only One". One EP featured the studio recording while the other featured the live version. Both EPs contained three extra bonus tracks.
Retirement and solo projects
In 1999, Thunder released their fifth studio album Giving The Game Away. This album was released to coincide with the band's tenth anniversary; however they announced in 1999 that they were to split. Following a UK tour in November 1999, and some dates in Japan in early 2000, they bowed out on 4 May 2000 with a show at Camden Dingwalls in London, which was recorded for the album They Think It's All Over... It Is Now.
Luke Morley returned to the scene the following year with the solo album El Gringo Retro and played a brace of live shows at the Borderline in London, backed by virtually all of his former band mates (Danny Bowes being the exception) and with the McDonald sisters on backing vocals Tara McDonald and Anna McDonald. Morley and Bowes reunited in 2002 for the soul influenced album Moving Swiftly Along, again with the McDonalds on backing vocals.
Reformation and split
Thunder were tempted back into action by a slot on the touring Monsters of Rock UK arena shows in late 2002. They returned in November 2003 with a new album called Shooting at the Sun released on their own label STC Recordings.
Their second self-released album, The Magnificent Seventh spawned a top 30 single, "I Love You More Than Rock And Roll" in March 2005, reaching #27 in the UK Singles Chart. Their resurgence can be traced through the venues booked for their live tours. In 2006 Thunder returned, for the first time since the days of the EMI released Back Street Symphony album, to headline the Hammersmith Apollo at the end of a 12 date UK tour.
The band released their eighth studio album on 30 October 2006, entitled Robert Johnson's Tombstone.
The single "The Devil Made Me Do It" taken from this album reached #40 in the UK Singles Chart on 10 December 2006, and the video, produced and animated by Andy Doran, also enjoyed significant success on its first week when uploaded to the YouTube site, and has received airplay on Scuzz TV.
Thunder undertook a European Tour in early 2007, their first in nearly 12 years, playing small venues in Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Italy. A further UK tour took place in November and December 2007. In February 2008, it was announced Thunder would be the opening act on the second leg of Def Leppard and Whitesnake's co-headline UK arena tour. The second leg in July 2008 opened in Cardiff International Arena before heading to Liverpool Arena and Nottingham Arena.
Thunder released their ninth studio album 'Bang!' in the UK on 3 November 2008 through their own STC label and in mainland Europe via Frontiers Records on 7 November 2008. Whilst writing the album, they released limited edition EPs, "Six Of One,...Half A Dozen Of The Other" and "The Joy Of Six".
Thunder announced a decision to split on 28 January 2009 via their website. The band cited outside interests as the reasons for the split with members of the band playing in other bands when not touring with Thunder. Bowes mentioned the stresses of managing a website for the band, along with management and vocal duties taking their toll, added to the decision to split. The band played at Download-2009 (Tuborg stage) on Sat 13 June 2009, toured Europe and Japan before returning home for the British leg of their farewell tour in July 2009, their final full gig was played at the Hammersmith Apollo on 11 July, however the band made an appearance at the Rock of Ages festival in Germany on 31 July. Their final appearance took place at the Sonisphere Festival, Knebworth.
In 2009, Luke Morley teamed up with Peter Shoulder to form The Union, who released their first album in 2010 and second in 2011.
Harry James has appeared recently as Magnum's drummer. Danny Bowes has appeared as occasional vocalist for Kenney Jones's band the "Jones Gang" singing live at Kenney's Polo Club. Luke Morley has teamed up with Peter Shoulder in the band "The Union" and has played the High Voltage Festival in 2010. Chris Childs has joined the "Ultimate Eagles" an Eagles tribute band and toured extensively.
In February 2011, it was announced that the band would reunite for a one-off live performance, at that year's High Voltage Festival in July 2011. Thunder played on the Sunday and were third on the bill below Dream Theater and Black Country Communion.
In January 2012, Danny and Ben played a tour under the title of "Danny & Ben From Thunder" performing acoustic versions of Thunder songs, cover versions and telling stories of Thunder on the road. In April 2012, it was announced that Thunder would play a Christmas show at Manchester Academy on 21 December 2012. The band toured the UK with Whitesnake and Journey in May 2013. On 29 April 2013 it was confirmed by Andy Copping via Twitter, that Thunder will play the Download 2013 on 15 June on the Zippo Encore second stage. They will also perform at Wacken Open Air 2013 on 1 August.
On 13th May 2014, Thunder announced via their Facebook page that they were to record a new studio album. Live dates were also announced in August 2014 for shows in the UK and Europe in 2015.