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Magazine (band)

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Magazine performing at the Hop Farm Festival, 2011
Magazine performing at the Hop Farm Festival, 2011
Background information
OriginManchester, England
Years active1977–1981, 2009–2011
Past membersHoward Devoto
John McGeoch
Barry Adamson
Martin Jackson
Bob Dickinson
Dave Formula
Paul Spencer
John Doyle
Robin Simon
Ben Mandelson
Jonathan "Stan" White

Magazine were a British rock band formed in 1977 in Manchester in England by singer Howard Devoto and guitarist John McGeoch. After leaving the punk group Buzzcocks in early 1977, Devoto decided to create a more progressive and less "traditional" rock band. The original lineup of Magazine was composed of Devoto, McGeoch, Barry Adamson on bass, Bob Dickinson on keyboards and Martin Jackson on drums.

Their debut album, Real Life (1978), was critically acclaimed and was one of the first post-punk albums. After releasing two other albums, Secondhand Daylight and The Correct Use of Soap, McGeoch left the band in 1980 to join Siouxsie and the Banshees. Magazine released another studio album and disbanded in 1981. All four of their albums reached the top 40 on the UK Albums Chart.

They reunited in 2009 for a UK tour with Noko on guitar. Magazine released an album of new material, No Thyself, in October 2011, followed by a short UK tour.

Magazine have been cited as an influence by bands and musicians such as Simple Minds, the Smiths, Radiohead, Pulp and John Frusciante.



Devoto formed Magazine in Manchester, shortly after he left Buzzcocks in early 1977. In April 1977, he met guitarist McGeoch, then an art student, and they began writing songs, some of which would appear on the first Magazine album.[1] They then recruited Barry Adamson on bass, Bob Dickinson on keyboards and Martin Jackson (previously of the Freshies) on drums, forming the first lineup of the band. After signing to Virgin Records, Magazine played their debut live gig at Rafters in Manchester on 28 October 1977.[citation needed]

"Motorcade" co-writer Dickinson, whose background was in classical and avant-garde music,[citation needed] left shortly after several gigs in late 1977. In early 1978, the band released their first single, "Shot by Both Sides", a song Magazine recorded as a quartet. It featured a guitar-bass-drums sound similar to punk rock.[citation needed] Shortly after the single's release, Dave Formula, who had played with a briefly successful 1960s rock band from Manchester called St. Louis Union,[citation needed] joined as keyboardist. "Shot by Both Sides" used a chord progression suggested by Pete Shelley, which was also used in the Buzzcocks track "Lipstick".[2] The Magazine single just missed the UK top 40.[3] The band, with Formula on keyboards, made its first major TV appearance on Top of the Pops in February 1978, performing the single.[citation needed]

Following a British tour to promote their debut album, Real Life (which made the UK top 30),[3] Jackson left Magazine in late July. He was replaced briefly by Paul Spencer, who performed with the band for gigs across Europe and some television appearances, including The Old Grey Whistle Test, where they played "Definitive Gaze". Spencer quit partway through the tour, joining the Speedometors shortly afterwards. He was replaced in October by John Doyle, who completed the Real Life promotional tour and remained in the band.[4]

Magazine's second album, Secondhand Daylight, was released in 1979, reaching the UK top 40.[3] The album featured a greater use of synthesisers. That same year, McGeoch, Adamson and Formula joined electronic project Visage, recording and releasing the single "Tar".[citation needed]

After the release of Secondhand Daylight, Devoto decided to change producers.[citation needed] He chose Martin Hannett, who produced their next album, The Correct Use of Soap, released the following year and again making the top 30, while the single "Sweetheart Contract" was a minor success on the singles chart.[3] Following its release, McGeoch left the band, tired of Magazine's low sales and their less guitar-oriented songs.[citation needed] He soon joined Siouxsie and the Banshees. To replace him, the band hired Robin Simon, who had been in Ultravox and Neo. That lineup toured Europe and Australia, recording their next release, the live album Play. Simon made some initial recordings and rehearsals for what would be the next Magazine album, including co-writing the song "So Lucky", but he left the band before the album was released so that he could record the John Foxx solo album The Garden.[citation needed]

Again without a guitarist, Devoto called in his former college friend at Bolton, Ben Mandelson (a former Amazorblades member). This lineup completed the 1981 recording of the band's fourth studio album, Magic, Murder and the Weather, but Devoto quit that May, months before its release, and the remaining members disbanded. A year later, After the Fact, the first Magazine compilation, was released.

Adamson continued collaborating with Visage, and also began to work with Shelley, the Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Jackson later played with the Chameleons, Swing Out Sister and the Durutti Column. Formula continued as a member of Visage and joined Ludus, and Mandelson joined the Mekons.[5] Doyle joined the Armoury Show in Scotland in 1983, which also featured McGeoch; the latter later played guitar for Public Image Ltd. After a brief solo outing and two albums with Luxuria, Devoto quit music to become a photo archivist, until a new collaboration with Shelley produced the Buzzkunst album in 2002. McGeoch died in 2004, aged 48.[6]



In February 2009, Devoto and Magazine re-formed for five performances. The lineup included Devoto, Formula, Adamson and Doyle. The Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, a Magazine fan, declined an offer to fill in for McGeoch. According to the Radiohead collaborator Adam Buxton, Jonny was "overwhelmed" and too shy to accept the role.[7] Noko, Devoto's bandmate in Luxuria, was the guitarist on the tour.[citation needed]

The shows were sold out and received acclaim.[8][9][10] The group went on to play at festivals in the UK and abroad that summer, before performing "The Soap Show" in Manchester, Edinburgh and London. The band played two sets: a performance of The Correct Use of Soap in full, followed by a set composed of other songs from their catalogue.

In January 2010, Noko officially joined the band, becoming a full member of Magazine. The band started work on new material. In November 2010, Adamson left to concentrate on his film work and solo recordings. Jon "Stan" White joined as bass player on the new recordings and debuted live on 30 June 2011 at Wolverhampton Slade Rooms, where Magazine were playing a warm-up show for their Hop Farm Festival appearance two days later.

A new studio album, No Thyself, was released worldwide by Wire Sound on 24 October 2011, and the band embarked on a UK tour in November. On 16 April 2016, as part of Record Store Day, the band released Once at the Academy, a live 5-track 12" EP recorded at their reunion shows at Manchester Academy in February 2009.



Magazine was an influence on the fledgling Simple Minds, who supported them on a 1979 tour and much later covered "A Song from Under the Floorboards".[11][12] The Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood named McGeoch his biggest guitar influence, and said that Magazine's songwriting "informs so much of what we do".[13] Radiohead performed a cover of "Shot By Both Sides" in 2000.[14]

Johnny Marr of the Smiths cited Magazine as an influence, particularly McGeoch's guitar work.[15][16] The Smiths singer, Morrissey, covered "A Song from Under the Floorboards" as a B-side to his 2006 single "The Youngest Was the Most Loved". "Floorboards" was also covered by My Friend the Chocolate Cake on their 1994 album Brood. MGMT played a version of "Burst" on tour in 2011.[17]

Jarvis Cocker of Pulp praised Real Life saying: "this was such an important record for the time because it showed that you could still do something that had attack to it combined with a real intelligence, without going into ponce territory".[18] The band and their singer/lyricist Howard Devoto has also been cited as an influence on several 1980s bands, such as China Crisis[19] and Fiction Factory.[20]

Lolita Pop recorded a cover of "A Song from under the Floorboards" on 1989's Love Poison. Half Man Half Biscuit have performed live covers of a number of Magazine songs. "The Light Pours Out of Me" was covered by several acts including Peter Murphy, Ministry, the Mission, Sleep Chamber and Zero Boys. The band No Fun at All did a cover of "Shot by Both Sides" on their record And Now for Something Completely Different. Mansun covered "Shot by Both Sides" for John Peel sessions. Duff McKagan cited Real Life as an influence, particularly on tracks where a chorus effect is used.[21]



Classic line-up

Other members

  • Martin Jackson – drums (1977–1978)
  • Bob Dickinson – keyboards (1977)
  • John Scott – guitar (1977)
  • Paul Spencer – drums (1978)
  • Robin Simon – guitar (1980)
  • Ben Mandelson – guitar (1981)
  • Noko – guitar (2009–2011)
  • Jonathan "Stan" White – bass guitar (2010–2011)




Magazine discography
Studio albums5
Live albums4
Compilation albums7
Video albums2
Music videos6

The Magazine discography consists of five studio albums, four live albums, seven compilation albums, two video albums, one extended play and 10 singles.

All titles were released by Virgin Records, except where indicated.

Studio albums

Year Title Peak chart positions
1978 Real Life 29
1979 Secondhand Daylight 38
1980 The Correct Use of Soap 28 98
1981 Magic, Murder and the Weather 39 95
2011 No Thyself
  • Label: Wire-Sound
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Live albums

Year Title UK
1980 Play 69
1993 BBC Radio 1 in Concert
2009 Real Life & Thereafter
Live And Intermittent (Restored And Remastered) (08.79 + 09.79 + 09.80)
  • Label: Wire-Sound
2016 Once at the Academy (EP)
  • Label: Wire-Sound


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
US Dance
1978 "Shot by Both Sides" 41 Real Life
"The Light Pours Out Of Me "
"Touch and Go"[25] Non-album single
"Give Me Everything"
1979 "Rhythm of Cruelty" Secondhand Daylight
"Believe That I Understand"
1980 "A Song from Under the Floorboards" The Correct Use of Soap
"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" 42
"Upside Down" Non-album single
Sweetheart Contract (EP) 54 The Correct Use of Soap
1981 "About the Weather" Magic, Murder and the Weather
2011 "Hello Mr Curtis"
  • Label: Wire-Sound
No Thyself
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Compilation albums

Year Title
1982 After the Fact
1987 Rays and Hail 1978–1981: The Best of Magazine
1990 Scree – Rarities 1978–1981
2000 Where the Power Is
Maybe It's Right to Be Nervous Now
2008 The Complete John Peel Sessions
2009 Touch & Go: Anthology 02. 78–06. 81

Video albums

Year Title
1989 Magazine (VHS)
2009 Real Life & Thereafter DVD/CD
  • Label: Wire-Sound

Music Videos



  • Motorcade
  • The Light Pours Out Of Me
  • Touch And Go


  • Feed The Enemy
  • Cut Out Shapes


  • About The Weather

Further reading

  • Chase, Helen (2009). Magazine: The Biography. Northumbria Press. ISBN 978-1-904794-36-3.
  • Sullivan-Burke, Rory (April 2022). The Light Pours Out of Me: The Authorised Biography of John McGeoch. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1913172664.

See also



  1. ^ Real Life CD album reissue booklet (2007).
  2. ^ Perry, Andrew (11 February 2009). "Howard Devoto makes a comeback with his inspirational band, Magazine". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "Magazine". Official Charts.
  4. ^ Secondhand Daylight album reissue booklet (2007).
  5. ^ Strong, M. C., ed. (1998). The Great Rock Discography. Giunti. p. 112. ISBN 88-09-21522-2.
  6. ^ Simpson, Dave (12 March 2004). "Obituary: John McGeoch". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  7. ^ Thiessen, Brock (21 July 2009). "Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood "Too Shy" to Join Reunited Post-Punks Magazine". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  8. ^ Petridis, Alexis (14 February 2009). "Magazine: Forum, London". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Magazine – 'These gigs are a cherry on a cake'". The Independent. London. 20 February 2009. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  10. ^ Paphides, Pete (16 February 2009). "Magazine at the Forum, London NW5". The Times. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  11. ^ Jim Kerr (11 February 2009). "The Mighty Magazine". simpleminds.com.
  12. ^ "A Song from Under the Floorboards". Dream Giver Redux.
  13. ^ Greenwood, Jonny (11 February 2009). ""I've been blown about for years"". Dead Air Space. Radiohead.com. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  14. ^ Bartleet, Larry (4 October 2016). "11 times Radiohead covered other artists' songs brilliantly". NME. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  15. ^ Freeman, John (16 June 2015). "Rubber Rings: Johnny Marr's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  16. ^ Nash, Ed (1 June 2018). "Nine Songs: Johnny Marr". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  17. ^ "beatfest2011 – MGMT – Burst" on YouTube, uploaded by soundshineevents on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  18. ^ "Magazine – Real Life – Jarvis Cocker". NME. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  19. ^ China Crisis exclusive Louder Than War interview, Louder Than War, 14 June 2018
  20. ^ Zappa, François (3 August 2022). "Interview: Fiction Factory". El Garaje de Frank. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  21. ^ "Issue 66". Bass Guitar Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 January 2012.
  22. ^ a b c "Magazine". Official Charts. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  23. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 188. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  24. ^ "Magazine". Billboard. Archived from the original on 12 August 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Magazine – Touch And Go (Vinyl)". Discogs. 14 April 1978. Retrieved 14 October 2016.