Backstreet Symphony

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Backstreet Symphony
Thunder backstreet.jpg
Studio album by
Released5 March 1990 (1990-03-05)
RecordedAugust – September 1989
StudioGreat Linford Manor Studios
(Milton Keynes, England)
ProducerAndy Taylor
Thunder studio album chronology
Backstreet Symphony
Laughing on Judgement Day
Singles from Backstreet Symphony
  1. "She's So Fine"
    Released: 30 October 1989 (1989-10-30)
  2. "Dirty Love"
    Released: 5 February 1990 (1990-02-05)
  3. "Backstreet Symphony"
    Released: 30 April 1990 (1990-04-30)
  4. "Gimme Some Lovin'"
    Released: 2 July 1990 (1990-07-02)
  5. "Love Walked In"
    Released: 11 February 1991 (1991-02-11)
Alternate cover
Japanese and US reissue cover
Japanese and US reissue cover

Backstreet Symphony is the debut studio album by English hard rock band Thunder. Recorded in 1989 at Great Linford Manor Studios in Milton Keynes, it was produced by former Duran Duran and The Power Station guitarist Andy Taylor, then mixed by Mike Fraser at AIR Studios in London. The album was initially released on 5 March 1990 by EMI Records in the UK and Capitol Records in the US, and was later re-released the following year in the US by Geffen Records.

The material on Backstreet Symphony was written primarily by the band's lead guitarist Luke Morley, with two songs co-written by Taylor and one cover version included. The album received positive reviews from a number of critics and peaked at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart, receiving a gold certification from the British Phonographic Industry for sales in excess of 100,000 units. Upon its 1991 re-release, the album registered at number 114 on the US Billboard 200.

Backstreet Symphony was promoted on a worldwide tour beginning in February 1990, which included shows in Europe supporting Heart, Love/Hate and ZZ Top, as well as dates in North America. Five singles were released from the album, all of which reached the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart – "Dirty Love" peaked at number 32, "Backstreet Symphony" at number 25, "Gimme Some Lovin'" at number 36, "She's So Fine" at number 34 and "Love Walked In" at number 21.

Recording and production[edit]

Thunder began recording their debut studio album with producer Andy Taylor and engineer Mike Fraser on 7 August 1989.[1] Sessions took place at the Great Linford Manor in Milton Keynes, and were described by the band's guitarist and keyboardist Ben Matthews as "like being at a party where an album broke out every now and then" due to the group's excessive drinking habits.[2] Taylor recalls that the recording process was "uplifting" and "special", suggesting that they comprised "60 per cent laughing, 20 per cent drinking, [and] 20 per cent work".[3] Drummer Gary "Harry" James also recollected the band's tendency to drink during the Backstreet Symphony recording, admitting that "We did a ridiculous amount of partying" and suggesting that it was "The booziest time" of his career.[4][2] The album was mixed at AIR Studios.[5]

Promotion and release[edit]

"She's So Fine" was released as the lead single from Thunder's upcoming debut album on 30 October 1989.[1] "Dirty Love" followed on 5 February 1990,[1] debuting as the band's first UK Singles Chart top 40 and peaking the following week at number 32.[6] The band's third single, for the album's title track, was issued in April and debuted at number 25 on the UK Singles Chart.[6] "Gimme Some Lovin'" was released as the fourth single from the album on 2 July, peaking at number 36 in the UK; "She's So Fine" was reissued in September and peaked at number 34; and "Love Walked In" was released as the final UK single from the album on 11 February 1991, reaching a peak chart position of number 21.[6] In the United States, "Dirty Love", "Until My Dying Day" and "Love Walked In" were issued as singles in 1991.[1] "Dirty Love" registered at number 55 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, while "Until My Dying Day" and "Love Walked In" also reached the Mainstream Rock top 50.[7][8]

Backstreet Symphony was first released on 5 March 1990 in the UK by EMI Records.[1] The initial North American release by Capitol Records followed on 9 April.[9] Thunder left Capitol in 1991, as they were "notorious at the time for not supporting acts signed to EMI in the UK" according to journalist Mick Wall, and signed with Geffen Records.[10] The album was re-released in North America on 15 April 1991 with a different album cover.[1] After its initial release in Japan on 24 April,[11] on 21 June Backstreet Symphony was issued by Toshiba EMI featuring the new album cover and a bonus disc of live recordings.[1] At the end of 1990, a video album entitled Backstreet Symphony: The Videos was released featuring the band's first four music videos and four live performances from the band's set at Monsters of Rock earlier in the year.[12]

Thunder toured worldwide in promotion of their debut album. The Backstreet Symphony Tour commenced on 22 February 1990 in Dublin, Ireland, with the opening UK leg running until 1 April, before also ending in Dublin.[13] The band supported Heart on a run of shows in Europe and the UK between 25 April and 13 May, and later opened for Love/Hate in Germany and the Netherlands in July.[13] On 18 August, Thunder appeared for the first time at the Monsters of Rock festival, performing in front of their biggest crowd of approximately 80,000 people.[14] The band's headline tour continued in October with another European leg of shows, returning to the UK for the remainder of the year.[13] Touring continued into 1991 with festival appearances, a support slot for ZZ Top, and shows in the United States and Canada.[13]

Artwork and concept[edit]

The concept for the Backstreet Symphony album cover was originally proposed by guitarist and songwriter Luke Morley, who asked his mother Christine Morley to produce an initial sketch of the scene.[15] The cover depicts James, a "tramp" and a female in an alleyway, photographed by Andy Earle in London's Artillery Passage.[1][15] Bassist Mark "Snake" Luckhurst described the artwork as "An example of Thunder's take-no-prisoners attitude", recalling that while the EMI Records marketing team opposed its lack of inclusion of the band, "The band put their foot down and said no. They liked the concept and said they wanted to stick with it".[15]

Commercial reception[edit]

Upon its initial release, Backstreet Symphony debuted at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart, its peak position.[6] It remained in the top 40 for one more week, before dropping out of the top 100 at the end of a four-week run.[6] The album re-entered the chart for three weeks in May, and later returned to for a week in July, three weeks in September, and finally five weeks in March 1991 following the success of final single "Love Walked In".[6] The album was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in September 1990 and gold in May 1991, indicating sales of 100,000 units.[16] Upon its release in the US, the album debuted at number 185 on the Billboard 200 for the week ending June 1, 1991,[17] before peaking at number 114 and spending a total of ten weeks on the chart.[18]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[19]

Writing for Classic Rock magazine in 2002, journalist Dave Ling claimed that Backstreet Symphony was "greeted with critical rapture", calling it "one of the all-time great hard rock debuts".[20] Reviewing the album for AllMusic, Alex Henderson praised it as "a decent hard rock offering that should have done better".[19] Highlighting tracks such as "She's So Fine", "Loved Walked In" and the "inspired cover" of The Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'", Henderson described the album's sound as "a mixture of Bad Company and Deep Purple", claiming that "while Thunder [weren't] the most original or groundbreaking band in the world, [they weren't] lacking when it came to spirit and enthusiasm".[19] In The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, writer Colin Larkin hailed Backstreet Symphony as "a stunning album of bluesy rockers and atmospheric ballads", claiming that the songs on the album "received widespread critical acclaim for their dual guitar attack of alternating riffs and lead breaks".[21]

Backstreet Symphony was featured at number 7 on the Kerrang! "Albums of the Year" feature for 1990,[22] and in 2008 was voted the 84th best British rock album of all-time by the magazine's readers.[23]

Track listing[edit]

1."She's So Fine"5:30
2."Dirty Love"Morley5:21
3."Don't Wait for Me"Morley5:32
4."Higher Ground"Morley5:06
5."Until My Dying Day"
  • Morley
  • Taylor
6."Backstreet Symphony"Morley4:30
7."Love Walked In"Morley6:25
8."An Englishman on Holiday"Morley4:27
9."Girl's Going Out of Her Head"Morley4:18
10."Gimme Some Lovin'" (The Spencer Davis Group cover)3:51
Total length:51:32
CD and cassette versions
11."Distant Thunder"Morley4:56
Total length:56:28


Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Europe 5 March 1990 EMI Records Compact disc CDEMC 3570
LP record EMC 3570
Cassette TCEMC 3570
United Kingdom 5 March 1990 EMI Records Picture disc EMCPD 3570
United States 9 April 1990 Capitol Records Compact disc CDP 7 93614 2
LP record C1-93614
Cassette CDP 7 93614 4
Canada 9 April 1990 EMI of Canada Compact disc C2 96649
United States 15 April 1991 Geffen Records Compact disc GEFD24384
Cassette GEFC24384
Japan 24 April 1991 Toshiba EMI Compact disc TOCP-6126
Japan 21 June 1991 Toshiba EMI Double CD TOCP-6729/30
Japan 9 October 1991 Toshiba EMI Compact disc TOCP-6966
Japan 24 March 1993 Toshiba EMI Compact disc TOCP-7633
Japan 23 July 1999 Toshiba EMI Compact disc TOCP-50774
Japan 9 March 2004 Toshiba EMI Compact disc TOCP-67581
Europe 6 July 2009 EMI Records Double CD 964 803 2
Japan 29 January 2014 Warner Music Japan Compact disc WPCR-80062

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1990–1991) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[6] 21
US Billboard 200[18] 114


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "History". Thunder. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b McIver 2016, p. 109
  3. ^ McIver 2016, p. 110
  4. ^ McIver 2016, p. 112
  5. ^ McIver 2016, p. 114
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Thunder Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  7. ^ "The Hot 100: Thunder Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Mainstream Rock Songs: Thunder Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  9. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Backstreet Symphony (CD - Capitol #CDP 7936142) - Thunder: Release Info". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  10. ^ McIver 2016, pp. 128–129
  11. ^ "1st Album (Backstreet Symphony)" (in Japanese). Ikuko "Ken-san" Yamamoto. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Backstreet Symphony : The Videos". Thunder. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d "Backstreet Symphony Tour". Thunder. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  14. ^ Bradley, Simon (9 August 2010). "Luke Morley (Thunder, The Union) remembers Donington 1990". MusicRadar. Future plc. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  15. ^ a b c McIver 2016, p. 116
  16. ^ "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 27 May 2017. Note: User must manually define search parameter as "Thunder" and click the 'Search' button in order to yield results.
  17. ^ "Top 200 Albums: The Week of June 1, 1991". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Billboard 200: Thunder Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  19. ^ a b c Henderson, Alex. "Backstreet Symphony - Thunder: Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  20. ^ Ling, Dave. "Thunder". Dave Ling. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  21. ^ Larkin 2011, p. 3456
  22. ^ "Kerrang! Albums Of The Year 1990". Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Kerrang! The 100 Best British Rock Albums Ever!". Retrieved 27 May 2017.


External links[edit]