Magazine (band)

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Magazine (English band).jpg
Magazine performing at the Hop Farm Music Festival, 2011.
Background information
Origin Manchester, England
Years active 1977–1981, 2009–2011
Associated acts
Website Official MySpace site
Past members Howard Devoto
Dave Formula
John Doyle
Jon "Stan" White
John McGeoch
Barry Adamson
Bob Dickinson
Martin Jackson
Paul Spencer
Robin Simon
Ben Mandelson

Magazine are an English post-punk band active from 1977 to 1981, then reformed in 2009. The band was formed by Howard Devoto after leaving punk band Buzzcocks in early 1977. Devoto had decided to create a more progressive and less "traditional" rock band.

Magazine reunited in 2009 for a UK tour, with almost all the remaining and "classic" line-up, with the exception of guitarist John McGeoch who died in 2004. He was replaced by Noko, who played with Devoto in Luxuria. Magazine released an album of new material, No Thyself, in October 2011, followed by a short UK tour.


Howard Devoto formed Magazine in Manchester shortly after he left Buzzcocks in early 1977. In April 1977 he met guitarist John 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[2] and Martin Jackson (previously of The Freshies) on drums, to form the first line-up of the band. After signing to Virgin Records, Magazine played their debut live gig at the Rafters in Manchester on 28 October 1977.

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

Following a British tour to promote their critically acclaimed debut album Real Life (which made the UK Top 30), Jackson left Magazine in late July, and 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, and he was replaced in October by John Doyle, who completed the Real Life promotional tour and remained in the band.[4]

In 1979 Magazine's second album, Secondhand Daylight, was released, reaching the UK Top 40. The album features a greater use of synthesisers. That same year, McGeoch, Adamson and Formula joined electronic project Visage, recording and releasing the single "Tar".

After the release of Secondhand Daylight, Devoto decided to change producer, choosing Martin Hannett, who produced their next album, The Correct Use of Soap, released the following year and again making the Top 30. Following its release McGeoch decided to leave the band, tired of Magazine's low sales and their less guitar-oriented songs, joining Siouxsie and the Banshees. To replace him the band called Robin Simon, who previously was in Ultravox and Neo. That line-up toured across 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 on the John Foxx solo album The Garden.

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

Adamson continued collaborating with Visage, and also began to work with The Birthday Party and Pete Shelley; Formula continued as member of Visage and joined Ludus; Mandelson joined The Mekons,[5] and Doyle joined The Armoury Show in Scotland in 1983, which also featured John McGeoch. After a brief solo outing and two albums with Luxuria Devoto quit music to become a photo archivist, until a collaboration with Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley produced the Buzzkunst album in 2002.


It was confirmed in July 2008 that Howard Devoto and Magazine would reform for five dates in February 2009. The line-up included Devoto, Formula, Adamson and Doyle. In November 2008, the band announced Noko, Devoto's bandmate in Luxuria, would be the guitarist in the reformation line-up,[citation needed] taking the place of John McGeoch, who died in 2004.

The sold-out shows received widespread critical acclaim.[6][7][8] The group then went on to play at festivals in the UK and abroad over summer, before performing The Soap Show in Manchester, Edinburgh and London. At these concerts, 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 Barry 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 2011.


Magazine's music continues to be an influence today. While rooted in the punk and new wave movements,[2] Magazine combined elements of avant-garde and pop. Radiohead in particular draw on the lyrical style of the group, and have performed "Shot by Both Sides" in concert. What's more, Radiohead's 1995 single "Just", with its ascending guitar hook, bears a passing resemblance to "Shot by Both Sides". Morrissey, a fan and acquaintance of Devoto's, covered "A Song from Under the Floorboards" as a B-side to his 2006 single "The Youngest Was the Most Loved". "Floorboards" was covered by My Friend the Chocolate Cake on their 1994 album Brood. Half Man Half Biscuit have performed live covers of a number of Magazine songs. "The Light Pours Out of Me", from the album Real Life, has been covered by The Mission, Peter Murphy, Sleep Chamber, Zero Boys and Ministry. Swedish punk band No Fun at All did a cover of "Shot by Both Sides" on their record And Now for Something Completely Different. Devoto co-wrote two songs with Mansun, "Everyone Must Win" and "Railings", contributing vocals to the latter, and the band later covered "Shot by Both Sides" for John Peel Sessions. In issue 66 (May 2011) of Bass Guitar Magazine[9] Duff McKagan cites Magazine's album Real Life as an influence, particularly on tracks where McKagan uses a chorus effect. Johnny Marr cited Magazine as one of his main influences when promoting his debut solo album The Messenger in 2013.[10]




Magazine discography
Studio albums 5
Live albums 4
Compilation albums 7
EPs 1
Singles 10
Video albums 2

The discography of the English post-punk band Magazine consists of five studio albums, four live albums, seven compilation albums, two video albums, one extended play and ten singles.

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

Studio albums
Year Title UK[11]
1978 Real Life 29
1979 Secondhand Daylight 38
1980 The Correct Use of Soap 28
1981 Magic, Murder and the Weather 39
2011 No Thyself
  • Label: Wire-Sound
Live albums
Year Title UK[11]
1980 Play 69
1993 BBC Radio 1 in Concert
  • Label: Windsong International
2009 Real Life & Thereafter
Live And Intermittent (Restored And Remastered) (08.79 + 09.79 + 09.80)
  • Label: Wire-Sound
Year Title b/w UK[11] Album
1978 "Shot by Both Sides" "My Mind Ain't So Open" 41 Real Life
"Touch and Go" "Goldfinger" Non-album single
"Give Me Everything" "I Love You, You Big Dummy"
1979 "Rhythm of Cruelty" "TV Baby" Secondhand Daylight
1980 "A Song From Under the Floorboards" "Twenty Years Ago" The Correct Use of Soap
"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" "The Book"
"Upside Down" "The Light Pours Out of Me (Version)" Non-album single
Sweetheart Contract (EP) "Sweetheart Contract", "Feed The Enemy (Live)",
"Twenty Years Ago (Live)", "Shot By Both Sides (Live)"
54 The Correct Use of Soap
1981 "About the Weather" "In the Dark", "The Operative" Magic, Murder and the Weather
2011 "Hello Mr Curtis"
  • Label: Wire-Sound
"Holy Dotage" No Thyself
Compilation albums
Year Title
1982 After the Fact
1987 Rays and Hail 1978–1981: The Best of Magazine
1991 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

Further reading[edit]

  • Chase, Helen (2009). Magazine: The Biography. Northumbria Press. ISBN 1-904794-36-X. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Real Life CD album reissue booklet (2007)
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Magazine | Biography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Perry, Andrew (11 February 2009). "Howard Devoto Makes a Comeback with His Inspirational Band, Magazine. – Telegraph". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  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. ^ Petridis, Alexis (14 February 2009). "Pop Review: Magazine, Forum, London | Music | The Guardian". The Independent. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Magazine – 'These Gigs Are a Cherry on a Cake' – Features, Music – The Independent". The Independent. London. 20 February 2009. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Paphides, Pete (16 February 2009). "Magazine at the Forum London NW5". The Times. Retrieved 29 December 2014. (subscription required)
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Swift, Jacqui (22 February 2013). "Johnny Marr on The Messenger: It’s the right time to do a solo album..I can’t play music I don’t believe in | The Sun |Showbiz|SFTW". London: The Sun. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "Magazine". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 

External links[edit]