One of Britain’s greatest hard rockers, Tony Clarkin of Magnum, has passed away after a short illness.
In a short statement his daughter Dionne said:“I know that Tony has touched so many people through his music in so many different ways. I don’t really have words to express what he meant to me right now as the grief is too fresh. As many of you know Tony had a great affinity with animals. It is the family’s intention to set up a charitable trust in his name to aid this cause, further details to follow. Please do not send flowers or cards, as he would have much preferred expressions of sympathy to go to charity in this way.It was a privilege to call him my Dad.”
Sentinel Daily editor Scott Adams writes: “As we all grow older we expect our heroes to leave us, but this one is a shock. Only just over a week ago I was blithely speculating on Tony’s recovery and the prospect of a couple more albums from his ‘fecund pen’, but now a huge void has opened up in my – and tens of thousands of other – life with this news. I only joined the Magnum bandwagon around the time of 1982’s Chase The Dragon, but since then they’ve been one of the musical cornerstones of my life. And at their centre was the partnership of vocalist Bob Catley and towering guitarist/songwriter/lyricist Tony Clarkin. As I write, Don’t Wake The Lion, from the band’s commercial high water mark Wings of Heaven is pounding out from the speakers, just one of the man’s many treatises on War and one of the most epic to flow from his pen. But he wasn’t just a writer of portentous historical pomp – one look at a CV that contains stone cold classics like Two Hearts, The Spirit, The Prize, Back To Earth, Vigilante or How Far Jerusalem confirms that. Clarkin knew a thing or two about the human condition, but perhaps more importantly he knew just how to translate that knowledge into beautiful, moving music that allowed us all to share in his world. From The Last Dance through The Lights Burned Out to When The World Comes Down, he showed that his tender observations of affairs of the heart were just as acute as his distaste for the sausage machine tactics of the Western Front. No one trick pony he.
In 1984 I saw the band’s star rise from perennial support act and headliner at the Marquee Club in London to signing a major record deal with Polydor, appearing in front of fifty-odd thousand people at Donington’s Monsters of Rock Festival to finally headlining at British rock’s spiritual home, the Hammersmith Odeon; The band never changed their attitude to their fans over that time, or over the next half a decade when they became one of British rock’s real success stories. After the inevitable tailing off of success, he marshalled the band through a remarkable ‘second career’ that saw Magnum continue to amaze and delight in equal measure for another twenty years and twelve more albums choc full of quality hard rock. I doubt we’ll see his like again, but I feel honoured to have been able to witness and enjoy this man’s remarkable work for over forty years. Thanks for the music Tony – I’ll raise a glass tonight and burn a nite light or two in your honour”.