(5 / 5)
A much under-rated rock singer who deserves to take a turn in the spotlight once again. Graham Bonnet’s “Anthology” is the first all encompassing, career-spanning retrospective from this highly respected singer and song writer, from his first hits of the late 1960s, right up to the Graham Bonnet Band in 2017.
Few front-men can claim to have had such a lengthy and far-reaching career, first finding fame as part of The Marbles duo, who enjoyed a hit with the Bee Gees’ ‘Only One Woman’ in 1968, followed by a solo career across the 1970s, again enjoying further success with the Bee Gees on the disco flavoured ‘Warm Ride’.
He achieved what was possibly his greatest success when he replaced Ronnie James Dio in 1979, for “Down To Earth” in Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Worldwide hits followed with the single ‘All Night Long’ and Russ Ballard’s ‘Since You Been Gone’, represented here with the latter single’s non-album B-Side, ‘Bad Girl’.
Solo success beckoned with the song ‘Night Games’, plus Russ Ballard’s ‘S.O.S.’, from the “Line-Up” album in 1981, backed-up by a stellar line-up that included Cozy Powell and Jon Lord, as well as guest appearances from Status Quo’s Francis Rossi and the late Rick Parfitt.
Graham briefly joined The Michael Schenker Group for 1982’s “Assault Attack”, represented here with the non-album B-Side ‘Girl From Uptown’.
Recognising that his greatest success to date was with the melodic hard rock of Rainbow, Graham formed Alcatrazz, with a then little known Swedish guitarist called Yngwie J. Malmsteen, and the “No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll” LP, producing ‘Island In The Sun’, and ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’.
Sadly, this line-up only lasted one studio and one live in Japan album, where Alcatrazz had quickly built a huge following, and from where ‘Since You Been Gone’ is taken. Graham evidently had a knack for finding highly influential guitar talent, recording second Alcatrazz opus with Steve Vai and the “Disturbing The Peace” album, featuring ‘God Blessed Video’, the anti-drink-driving song ‘Will You Be Home Tonight’ and ‘Skyfire’.
A third and final Alcatrazz record produced ‘Blue Boar’ from “Dangerous Games” before the singer hooked up with Chris Impellitteri and the band Impellitteri (‘Stand In Line’ & ‘Tonight I Fly’).
Graham has subsequently recorded with Forcefield (‘Hit And Run’ & ‘Let The Wild Run Free’), Japan’s Anthem, the Taz Taylor Band and the super group Blackthorne that he formed with guitarist Bob Kulick in 1993, represented here by ‘Afterlife’, ‘We Won’t Be Forgotten’ and ‘Don’t Kill The Thrill’. Over the years, Graham has also found time to reunite with Impellitteri, and more recently for successful shows with Alcatrazz and The Michael Schenker Group.
Now fronting the Graham Bonnet Band, represented here by an unreleased version of the Rainbow hit ‘All Night Long’, plus new songs ‘My Kingdom Come’ and ‘Mirror Lies’, this “Anthology” is completed by a DVD of many rare video clips taken from across Graham’s career, and includes some track-by-track intros from Graham, filmed especially for this collection. There are 36 audio tracks on the two CDs (20 + 16) and 23 cuts on the DVD and superb value for money at RRP less than twenty quid.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’