This is "The Big 10 - The Essential Tracks", in which we take a closer look at particular artist's or band's back catalogue, and choose the 10 finest moments. These are our subjective choices, so if you want to ask how on earth we could leave off such and such song from the list, you can... and the answer is... because we could.

  There really is nothing to say about Magnum that hasn't already been said. They’ve been going since prehistoric times, with vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist/songwriter Tony Clarkin meeting at a spear convention in Cheddar caves. Of course, this is just a bit of fun at the old geezer’s expense, but it’s staggering just how long these tow guys (and their various bandmates) have been churning out high quality rock music.

I was first really aware of them in 1985, when they released the seminal “On A Storyteller’s Night” album, still regarded by many as their finest hour. I’ve stuck with them ever since, through their greatest commercial success (“Wings Of Heaven”) to the split and reformation and even Hard Rain inbetween. What I’m saying is that I think I’m pretty qualified to pick ten of the best songs by this band.

If only it were that easy! We’ve had the likes of FM, Gary Moore and Dio so far (plus others), and whilst these guys were all great they haven’t got the wealth of material that Magnum have amassed over 36 years. Do you go for the big, epic pieces, or the ones that just make you want to sing? Do you go for the early, more proggy stuff or the pompy melody of the 80s? There’s only one way to decide when it’s a band like this, which is to make a short list of about 20 songs and then be brutal. Trust me, dear readers, it wasn’t pretty, but here they are: the top ten tracks by Magnum:

10. Back To Earth
9. That Holy Touch
8. Just Like An Arrow
7. The Spirit
6. On A Storyteller’s Night

5. Days Of No Trust
Simply a great track, upbeat and uplifting, with Bob Catley and co appearing in a video that tried to make them look awesomely cool and pretty much failed. Great lyrics, a superb melody and a perfect snapshot of the band when they were at the peak of their popularity.

4. Pray For The Day
A meaningful track about division and warfare, all wrapped up in a catchy chorus and chord progressions that are alarmingly like “There’s No Easy Way Out” from the Rocky films. Despite this, it’s a track that I always love listening to, and another reason that "Wings Of Heaven" stood out so much from the pack.

3. The Last Dance
The lost little track at the end of “Storytellers…”, this is simply one of the most heartbreaking songs I’ve ever heard. The pain and loneliness in the lyrics, coupled with Catley’s flawless delivery, always remind me of the power of music, and it’s one of the few songs to bring a tear to my eye.

2. The Fall
The most recent track on the list, this was recorded as a new track on the “Evolution” compilation. Straight away I fell for “The Fall”, as it always brings me back to the happy bounce that made me fall in love with the band the first time I heard “Just Like An Arrow”. Along with the other new track “Do You Know Who You Are”, this reinforced my belief that Magnum were far from a spent force.

1. Don’t Wake The Lion
This may be the most predictable choice on the list, sure, but once you’ve heard it, it’s hard to forget. Ten and a half minutes of anti war song, it weaves it’s way between out and out rock, prog and AOR without missing a step, all the time throwing lyrics powerful enough to genuinely move the listener and make them think about the horrors of the first world war. Only Tony Clarkin can make you do all that whilst tapping your feet and singing along joyfully, clever bastard that he is.

This list by: Alan Holloway,

The list as a YouTube playlist

Individual lists:

Kimmo Toivonen:

10. Heartbroke And Busted
9. Sleepwalking
8. Pray For The Day
7. Back To Earth
6. Days Of No Trust
5. Vigilante
4. On A Storytellers Night
3. Sacred Hour
2. Midnight
1. Just Like An Arrow

Martien Koolen:

10. If I Could Live Forever
9. On a Storyteller's Night
8. Vigilante
7. Start talking love
6. Kingdom of Madness
5. Days of no trust
4. Dragons Are Real
3. It Must Have Been Love
2. Holy Rider
1. Don't Wake The Lion

Urban Wallström:

10. Kingdom of Madness
9. Midnight
8. Need A Lot Of Love
7. Love's A Stranger
6. Pray For The Day
5. Just Like An Arrow
4. Days Of No Trust
3. On a Storyteller's Night
2. Vigilante
1. Don't Wake The Lion


(c) 2014 RockUnited.Com


10.Sacred Hour
9. The Fall
8. Holy Rider
7. Midnight
6. Pray For The Day
5. Vigilante
4. Just Like An Arrow
3. On a Storyteller's Night
2. Days Of No Trust
1. Don't Wake The Lion