Musical archaeology – Thunder

This week's musical archaelogist is Dominic O'Riley, who says: "I was in a number of very unsuccessful bands in the late 70’s early 80’s (editor's note - check out Straight Shooter - Dom is being modest!)  before embarking on a career in IT (because it paid more). I now run a new UK company called Andomise promoting Coupa Spend Management solutions in the UK and EMEA. If you are brave and have earplugs check out some of my music on"

Thunder are often described as ‘the greatest rock band you’ve never heard of!’ Formed in 1990 by Luke Morley (guitar) and Danny Bowes (vocals) from the ashes of another UK band Terraplane, Thunder signed to EMI in 1990.

Influenced by UK rock bands such as Free and the  Stones,  their first album Back Street Symphony is recognised by many as a Classic Rock ‘Classic’. It became a hit in the UK and was breaking in the states when Nirvana and grunge put paid to the Classic Rock bands of the era. Nevertheless they still sold well in UK/Japan and other places with the second album, Laughing on Judgement Day coming in at number two in the UK behind Kylie’s greatest hits!

They continued to release albums and singles until 1999 when they called it a day. Reformed in 2002 and were one of the first UK artists to set up their own company and website ( They released another 4 studio albums plus live DVD’s and albums before finally quitting again in 2009. They're renowned for their outstanding live performances, and Danny Bowes is one of the UK’s greatest ever Rock vocalists.

Great news for me was they came back to do a one-off festival appearance at the High Voltage festival this year and were by  far the most successful band of the weekend (Beating many other bands such as Jethro Tull, BCC, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy etc.) As a result it looks like they will do a Xmas show and my bet is they will reform in a year or so for the 25th anniversary tour..

Classic rock at it's classic best...!

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  1. Rob:

    I knew Thunder (and Danny) very well. I met them around 1990 – introduced by my mate Dave (honestly) who grew up with them.

    Danny laid the carpet in Dave’s flat (he was a carpet-fitter) before he became famous. The drummer, at that time, I recall, still lived with his mum. This was largely because Luke kept more than 80% of the income – he used to write many of the songs with Andy Taylor of Duran Duran (take a look at the credits on the album if you don’t believe me…)

    Interestingly, Dave also had a close friend called Andy Taylor who also lived in Greenwich where Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) lived! On numerous occasions, Andy (Dave’s mate) would mistakenly be sent some of Taylor’s cheques – his cut of the on-going (Duran Duran) loyalties – through the post. And he would cash them! Taylor never took him to court – it seems that he found out that Andy was a talented musicial (which he was) and thought he would need to the cash to support his music-writing.

    Great choice – I saw Thunder live at Donnington in the early 1990’s and they gave Robert Plant something to think about when he came on next…

    1. Dom O'Riley:

      Hi Rob
      Small world..the drummer for Thunder is a guy called Harry James (really Gary) and I do believe he did live with Ma and Pa in the old days!
      Thunder came from the ashes of another band called Terraplane which was signed to EMI I think..made a few albums and I know recorded a single with Ruby Turner.. Luke is now fronting a new band called the Union..also very good
      Danny has been singing with the Jones gang and also helped out another of my mates Dave ‘Bucket’Colwell (ex Bad Co)..but more of that another time!!

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