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So, British hard rock/metal institution Thunder, now celebrating thirty years (with gaps!) since they formed, are due to release another “best of” compilation in this very neat package, aptly titled ‘The Greatest Hits’. Following their last extensive assemblage of most popular tunes on 2009’s ‘The Very Best of Thunder’ (should this new one not be called ‘The Very VERY best of Thunder’, in that sense?), just what does this latest double disc offering provide to the Thunder aficionado? First, the package is rather smart - a three panel digipak, housing two discs and a booklet. Within said generously sized booklet are extensive new liner notes (written this year) by the band’s biographer, Joel McIver, along with song-by-song recollections by guitarist Luke Morley (chronologically collated by each album they’re from).

As for the tracklist, there are many overlaps with that previous compilation, but some appear on here, in compilation form, afresh. In fact, press blurb informs that ‘The Greatest Hits’ is “the first ever collection to actually be sanctioned by the band” and was compiled by band members themselves. So, while personal favourites might be absent for various fans, you know you’ll be getting what Thunder consider to be their strongest, most representational material from each of their albums and eras. All twelve of their studio albums, to be precise, from 1990’s ‘Backstreet Symphony’ to 2019’s ‘Please Remain Seated’; the latter one featuring reimagined versions of older tracks across disparate genres.

Different albums are represented to varying degrees - four tracks feature from their debut, for example, but only one from the second pre-hiatus 2008 work, ‘Bang!’. However, what’s on offer, is all unmitigated classic Thunder, and a reminder of why they were, have been, and remain one of Britain’s most perennially popular bunch of rock stalwarts. The evolution of their development and aptitude for writing catchy, melodically fuelled compositions is evidenced here in spades, in a not quite chronologically ordered tracklist (it’s almost chronological, but a series of tracks from one album seem to be interposed with a track from each subsequent album… very strange!)

Also available in the vinyl format and a 3CD edition that features a Plant Rock live session from January this year, I guess the latter will be the main draw for Thunder fans. And for the casual listener who wants to delve headfirst into their back catalogue, this will provide the perfect starting point to get a taste of their output over the last three decades. As frontman Danny Bowes says, this is “all killer, no filler, and we hope fans like having it all in one place.” He’s not wrong. And with a new studio album that will apparently materialise late next year, it seems Thunder are set to continue rumbling well into the next decade.
Review by Mark Holmes
27th Sept 2019
CD1: 1) Dirty Love; 2) Love Walked In; 3) She's So Fine; 4) A Better Man; 5) Backstreet Symphony; 6) Low Life in High Places; 7) River of Pain; 8) Like a Satellite; 9) Stand Up; 10) Living for Today; 11) Love Worth Dying For; 12) Just Another Suicide; 13) All I Ever Wanted; 14) Gimme Shelter
CD2: 1) I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Roll; 2) Loser; 3) I'm Dreaming Again; 4) The Devil Made Me Do It; 5) On the Radio; 6) The Rain; 7) Wonder Days; 8) Rip It Up; 9) In Another Life; 10) Right From The Start; 11) The Thing I Want; 12) Future Train; 13) Low Life in High Places; 14) Your TIme is Gonna Come
"...all unmitigated classic Thunder, and a reminder of why they were, have been, and remain one of Britain’s most perennially popular bunch of rock stalwarts."