7. Vigilante Holding The Watch Over Europe
Roger Taylor, better known as QUEEN's drummer had seen MAGNUM's Hammersmith show on the previous tour. He contacted the band offering to produce their next album, which they quickly agreed to. Co-producer was Dave Richards. Band and producers set to work after Tony had completed the new songs in May. To record and mix them MAGNUM went into QUEEN's own Mountain Studio in Montreux/Switzerland. The production budget now soared up to around 200.000 pounds!!
Tony about working with Roger Taylor: “I must admit there were times I thought to myself “Oh God, what's he doing“, but it turned out just fine in the end. The guitars weren't heavy enough but the keyboards sounded great.“
Asked how he could be so successful with his songwriting Tony said: “Success for me is being able to achieve a level of commercial integrity without sacrificing the commodity that touch you there in the very first place.“
A new single, “Lonely Night“ was put out in June, followed by the next album “Vigilante“ in September. The album contained only nine tracks, but most of them were rather long, up to almost seven minutes. The songs were “Lonely Night“, “Need A Lot Of Love“, “Sometime Love“, “Midnight (You Won't Be Sleeping)“,“Red On The Highway“, “Holyrider“, “When The World Comes Down“, “Vigilante“ and “Back Street Kid“. Another new song, “It Must Have Been Love“ was dropped during production but only to be recorded for the next album.
This time, Tony had the idea for the cover. He wanted to have a white unicorn and asked Rodney Matthews to design a cover with one on it. So he did, but somehow Matthews' design with a check
board floor, a big white unicorn, a pink and purple sky and a small black fantasy car on the left side didn't suit the record company. There is also an alternative pencil sketch version which still shows a chequered floor of a living room with the unicorn standing on the right and a little demon is emerging from the floor on the left. The wall on it’s right is covered with the “Sword of Chaos”-motive, it’s opposite wall shows three flying bats. A huge fly is sitting on a TV showing a barcode whereas the back wall and the ceiling form a landscape picture. Two flower columns and a Chinese-style lamp dangling from the ceiling complete that draft.
Although Tony protested, Mr Matthews' cover draft vanished into his second book and Chris Moore designed the final artwork with a white unicorn in front of a big black rock within a semi-circled pink temple. Snow-covered mountains, a lake and a starry sky in the background give the picture an atmosphere of magic. Moore also designed a new band logo in broad letters that was to be on many future albums.
No less than four singles were lifted from the album, which all came in different formats with different previously unreleased B-sides. “Lonely Night“ doesn't need much explaining as the title says all about the contents of the song. The single came out on 7“, 12“ and a double 7“-EP. The B-side of the 7“ was “Les Morts Dansant (live)“, whereas on the 12“ there was a much longer “extended version“ of the song and the additional live-track “Hold Back Your Love“. The EP contained the single version of the song, “Les Morts Dansant (live)“, ”All England's Eyes (live)“ and “Hit And Run (live)“. MAGNUM were even given the chance to perform “Lonely Night” on a British TV show called “Razzamatazz”
The second single was “Midnight“ whose working title had been “Candle Bright”, which came out on 7“, 12“ and picture 12“.“Midnight“ is a song about a lover's feelings in the middle of the night. The B-side was “Back Street Kid“. The 12“ contained a “remix“ of the title track, which was considerably longer, and the picture 12“ also had an unreleased track on the B-side which was “Kingdom Of Madness (live)“
A song with fantastic lyrics was “When The World Comes Down“. It describes the well-known situation of a person who is about to give up hope in life as everything seems to go wrong. The lyrics encourage this person to go on and never give up, ending with “May all your dreams come true for you.“ This song came out as a 7“, which featured a shortened “edit“-versions of the title track and “Vigilante“. The UK 12“ contained the full length album versions whereas the German 12” version featured a live bonus track “The Last Dance”. Tony describes this song as “really passionate, with lots of harmonies like a national anthem“. He was especially pleased with Robert’s and Dave’s production which had added much of the sparkle the finished song has.
The strangest single was “Need A Lot Of Love“, because it didn't come out in the band's home country at all, but only in France and Germany. The 12“ featured a “remix“-version on the A-side and a live-version on the B-side; both versions appeared as “edits“ on the 7“. There were also a few CD-single promo-copies (making it the first MAGNUM-CD-single) which contained one more song, a live version of “How Far Jerusalem“. The song is an appeal to humanity badly needed in a warfaring world. Examples named in the text are the Berlin Wall, Northern Ireland, Lebanon and Vietnam. The live tracks were originally recorded at the Shepherds Bush Empire during the previous Christmas tour for a possible live album, but that never materialized.
The “Vigilante“-album was unique in several ways. Roger contributed background vocals to “When The World Comes Down“ and “Sometime Love“ and a lot of uncredited percussion parts. An additional musician, Daniel Bourquin, played the saxophone part of “Midnight“. This album was the first MAGNUM-album to be put out on picture disc (now very collectable) and on CD.
“Vigilante“ shot up the charts immediately after its release. It went up to No.24 in the UK national charts, even to No.11 in the Heavy Metal charts. It was No. 18 in Sweden and No. 57 in Germany (which was very good!) and was even released in Japan, the USA and Canada.
The album and single sales were pushed by a lot of radio airplay and by videos made to support the singles. The “Lonely Night“-clip showed Bob walking through dark streets encountering all kinds of strange people. The “Midnight“-clip strangely showed shipwrecked children looking for their parents.
The only thing that actually refers to the album is a unicorn skull the children find on the beach. The third clip for “When The World Comes Down“ was filmed at a live stage performance on the following European tour. Although no clip was made for “Need A Lot Of Love“ there is actually a fourth clip! The band were filmed doing “Vigilante“, the best-known song of the album for the ITV-programme “The Tube“. This monochrome clip was also broadcast, but as “Vigilante“ was no single it was never officially released on video, only as bonus material on DVD much later. There even is a second video of that song that shows the band performing the song in front of a medieval building wearing coats and jackets for the Jools Holland TV-show. It was not until 2004 that it was officially published as a bonus track to the re-release of the “A Winter’s Tale”-DVD under the name on “MAGNUM-Live Legends”.
Immediately after finishing the album the band went to play some open air festivals in summer. They played alongside MARILLION in Milton Keynes at a concert that became known as the “Garden Party“ and was broadcast live on the radio. Then they supported STATUS QUO at the Arborn festival in Switzerland.
The “Vigilante“-tour was the biggest one MAGNUM had ever ventured so far. It started in September in the UK with FM supporting the band. Unfortunately, this lead to a lawsuit as FM were treated really badly by some people responsible for the tour, but MAGNUM themselves were not to be blamed at all. Another 33 concerts all over Europe and Scandinavia followed, which really put the band on the map, especially in Germany, where they were supported by SINNER. The tour ended with the band performing in Dublin and Belfast. The running order was: Intro (a sound sample that eventually took up the rhythm of “Vigilante“) /“Vigilante“/ „Back Street Kid“/ „All England's Eyes“/ „On A Storyteller's Night“/ „How Far Jerusalem“/ „Need A Lot Of Love“/ „Two Hearts“/
“Midnight“/ „Les Morts Dansant“/ „The Spirit“/ „Holyrider“/ „Lonely Night“/ „Changes“/ „Just Like An Arrow“/ „Kingdom Of Madness“/ and “Sacred Hour“.
Not only was this the longest tour the band had ever been on, but it was also the most outstanding stage performance. The stage was decorated with a temple, just like the one on the album cover with a semi-circular staircase, which could be raised to serve as stage entrance. Whereas the others wore medieval-style black stage costumes Bob came on in a white uniform jacket.
There also were various merchandising items on sale now. Except the obligatory tour books and T-shirts there were buttons, posters, pins, caps and other items, that sold as fast as the tour tickets. Many of the venues were even sold out.
The second leg of the tour started in March 1987. The running order was slightly changed. Now it was: “Intro“/ „Vigilante“/ „All England's Eyes“/ „On A Storyteller's Night“/ „Need A Lot Of Love“/ „Two Hearts“/ „It Must Have Been Love“/ „How Far Jerusalem“/ „Midnight“/ „Les Morts Dansant“/ „The Spirit“/ „Backstreet Kid“/ „Lonely Night“/ „Just Like An Arrow“/ „Kingdom Of Madness“/ „When The World Comes Down“.
MAGNUM were supported by HEAVY PETTIN and the concerts at Birmingham Odeon and in the Hammersmith Odeon in London were sold out. The latter was even broadcast live on BBC Radio 1.
After that it was back to the continent again, this time including Denmark, France, Austria and Italy. Support on these concerts were the German TALLEN. Between the second and the third leg of the tour the band made a quick stop at the studio to rehearse and arrange some new songs Tony had meanwhile written.
In June and July they did some more concerts, some supporting MARILLION, some as headliners. In Germany they played at the “Out In The Green“-festival in Dinkelsbühl. This show was broadcast live on TV, which earned them even more fans. In August MAGNUM performed at the famous Reading Festival, where they first played two new songs called “Don't Wake The Lion“ and “Days Of No Trust“.
The band was popular all over Europe now, especially in the UK, Germany and Sweden. Mark about success in Germany: “With only one tour of Germany we had already achieved as much success as after ten years in England!“ Backed by a major record label they were on the way to their very top.
FM-records had now bought the rights for the band's back catalogue, and issued their first compilation called “Mirador“ with a beautiful Rodney Matthews-cover showing white elks. It contained MAGNUM's best songs up to “On A Storyteller's Night“. As LPs started to disappear from the market now all the older MAGNUM albums were re-released on CD.
Some bands even started to cover MAGNUM now .“Just Like An Arrow“ was re-recorded by the Canadian band WHITE WOLF and Patty Smyth (Yes, the two “Y“s are correct!) recorded “Call To Heaven“, which was a cover of “Les Morts Dansant“ for her album “Never Enough“.
Although being very busy with MAGNUM, Mark Stanway still found the time to contribute the keyboards to the album “The Sanctuary“ by the Swedish white metal band MOTHERLODE. The cover design for this album was also created by Rodney Matthews. A few years later a dubious bootleg called “MAGNUM – 12”history” could be found in second hand record shops. It contained many B-sides and a strange “extended remix” of “Back Street Kid”. The fans still disagree whether this is a very clever home mix or a version that was officially recorded for a potential 12” of the song.