Thunder's Greatest Hits: file next to Bad Company, Thin Lizzy and UFO

Thunder milk their 30th anniversary on The Greatest Hits and produce nothing but cream

Thunder - Greatest Hits
(Image: © Thunder)

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Although the true measure of Thunder will always be their live shows – full houses and beaming smiles a speciality, festival bills propped up, weddings and bar mitzvahs at a push – there’s cast-iron proof here that they’re no slouches in the studio, either. 

The received wisdom is that they have never been able to recreate the magic of their first album. Which is bollocks, frankly. The quality here runs deep and long. Thunder could retire (again) now and put their feet up, certain in the knowledge that they have earned themselves a place in the pantheon of classic British rock, with songs of the heft and gravitas to get them mentioned in the same breath as Bad Company, Thin Lizzy and UFO

Over the course of The Greatest Hits’ very strong 28-song line-up – plus a five-song Planet Rock live session from earlier this year with some formats – Thunder’s legacy is revealed as cleverly sponging up their heroes (The Who, Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie... even Alannah Myles on In Another Life!) before wringing out a markedly different cocktail. 

There are two non-album tracks among the classics. The first is the charity single take on the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter, from 1993, the second a newly recorded cover of Zeppelin’s Your Time Is Gonna Come.

It’s questionable whether we really needed another compilation, but the latter track alone reminds us both of Thunder’s musicality and the very special instrument that is Danny Bowes’s voice. Sinatra was well past his best at 59; Bowes sounds better than ever.

Buy the Thunder Bundle edition of the current issue of Classic Rock.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush. Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.