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Magic as a concept album

Gillan Magic original artwork

Classic Rock has an interesting opinion piece on Gillan’s Magic album:

Of the three major offshoots that emerged after the break-up of Deep Purple in 1976, Gillan (the band, not the man) was certainly the most musically daring. And Gillan’s most daring album just might be their last: 1982’s Magic.

Yes, the keyboard-heavy record carries a glossy, polished sheen; yes, it contains a pair of obvious stabs into ‘hit single’ territory; and yes, the off-the-rails kinetic chemistry of the Bernie Torme years is largely absent. But it’s not the music that makes makes Magic Gillan’s most fascinating record; it’s the words.

Truth be told, Magic could and should be looked at in hindsight as a concept album, as the lyrics throughout revolve around a common theme: Gillan (the man, not the band) was laying out his future plans right before our very eyes, misdirecting our attention with another album’s worth of musical hocus pocus while planning the greatest magic trick of all: making himself disappear.

Continue reading in Classic Rock.

Thanks to Jim Collins for the heads up.

12 Comments to “Magic as a concept album”:

  1. 1
    Martin Ashberry says:

    Yeah, utter bollocks. I reckon the journalist had experienced some magic of the mushroom variety before writing this chod.

  2. 2
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Sounds like a whole load of hocus pocus (the words, not the band) to this little white duck!.

  3. 3
    James Gemmell says:

    I have that LP (original). Pretty good. I never heard any Gillan band music in the United States on any station, and I listened to the radio all the time back in the day. It just wasn’t promoted over here. Strange, because Purple had been big for a couple years in the U.S.

  4. 4
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    I always thought Gillan(the band) made music as good if not better that Rainbow. Glory Road is a masterpiece and I always liked Magic.

  5. 5
    Nick Martinez says:

    He needed blackmore,Gillan was broke and rainbow was doing great,he needed blackmore’s ideas

  6. 6
    LT says:

    Anyone who followed closely enough can relate to this somehow. I just never thought we’d see anyone take the time to write an article about it, let alone with the premeditated factor which makes it hard to swallow. It’s like putting the cart before the horse. I always looked at some of these lyrical coincidences as just that, coincidences. But since the work at my label is done up to 9 months in advance with contracts and lead time recording and tour scheduling, when I combine the two it makes this a lot more believable that Ian new his already drawn plans would fit into the concept of this album. I still somehow doubt it’s true just because it can be made to look that way. Songs can be deceiving though, especially some of Ian’s. For instance, Fools and No One Came have meaning, Highway Star really does not. I have even seen longtime fans shocked at this, calling it complete nonsense. You decide.

  7. 7
    Jean says:

    @5 I think it’s funny how people are always capable of inviting that old debate in the discussion: “Blackmore is a great musician but a a*******, Gillan is selfish and wants money and he can’t write hits on his own!”
    Pff… Rehashing the same stuff again. I think that all MK2 members will be dead for long and people will still be discussing that.
    If Blackmore was doing that great with Rainbow, why stop? Why should he make a DP reunion? He probably had the same reasons as IG: he, too, wanted to make great music with his old friends again!

  8. 8
    Joan Masip says:

    The purple family is a monster. Many other families are, too (Scorpions/UFO/MSG, Yes/Howe/Wakeman, Free/Bad Cº/[late]Queen…) but purple is fundamental, is the core. DP/War horse/Captain/Rainbow/WS/Gary Moore/Hughes/PAL and many many others. What’s great with this giant family is that each member gives a different color that blends within smoothly when you look at the whole picture. all of them are like links in the chain, pieces of the puzzle. I don’t like particularly the Gillan part (think that WS or Rainbow are a hundred times better) but he took risks, progressed, from Child in Time and Clear Air Turbulence to the last two with Janick Gers (nowadays living the life, under Maiden’s umbrella), clearly going in directions and exploring territories farther away from hard rock and blues than WS or Rainbow ever did.
    As always, I can only say thank you big big to them all, for being there and contributing in doing that monster a MONSTER.

  9. 9
    Buttockss says:

    My favorite Gillian album from the bunch.

  10. 10
    TheoM says:

    Blackmore wanted to make much money and for that he needed DP

  11. 11
    Mateusz Yanofsky says:

    Fantastic band…when Torme was in it….afterwards, not so much.

  12. 12
    uwe hornung says:

    I always thought that Magic sounded like a band on the wane – not because it was a bad material album, but because it sounded unhappy and confidence-shaken. There was something afoot and you could hear it. I’m sure the author is on to something, Ian always writes about what is going on in his mind and heart, that is what I love about his lyrics.

    Gillan always sounded a little rough and very, very – Monty Python’esque even – English, that gave them street credibility at home, but hindered their success everywhere else I think. But as regards taking commercial risks, off-the-wall songwriting by both Towns and McCoy, creative lyrics as well as generally not just playing to people’s expectations both Ian Gillan Band and Gillan (the band) were head and shoulders above anything either Rainbow or Whitesnake ever did, both staunchly conservative bands, more so than Dee Purple ever was.

    If you distill the freakish parts out of DP’s Fireball album, you end up with an extract that nurtured Gillan. Rainbow and Whitesnake lacked DP’s creativity and flourish as well as its prog’ish influence, Gillan otoh lacked DP’s warmth in sound and general accessability, making the listening experience sometimes a little grating.

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