“It was Clarkin alone who fed the band, writing the entirety of Magnum’s catalog and admitting in 2002 that he thought of little else”: Remembering Tony Clarkin, the driving force behind a British rock institution

The late Tony Clarkin of Magnum performs onstage at High Voltage Festival in London, 2010
(Image credit: Rob Monk/Classic Rock Magazine/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

An insatiable songwriter, evocative guitarist and far warmer interviewee than his inscrutable dark glasses would suggest, it was Tony Clarkin’s role as the driving force behind Magnum that sustained the band he co-founded in 1972 for a half-century, even through the periods when their brand of prog-tinged melodic rock fell from favour. 

In the end, the release of 23rd album Here Comes The Rain in January – just five days after his death aged 77, following diagnosis with a rare spinal condition – was the one band commitment that Clarkin missed over a lifetime’s service.

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Henry Yates

Henry Yates is a freelance journalist who has written about music for titles including The Guardian, Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a talking head on Times Radio and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl and many more. As a guitarist with three decades' experience, he mostly plays a Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul.