Fireworks

Mark Donnelly

Fireworks & Rocktopia Contributing Writer
Mark Donnelly
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I first got into rock music back in 1980 whilst at secondary school, in my hometown of Lincoln. The song that started my journey was Rainbow’s ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’. I subsequently got a cassette of the album ‘Down To Earth’ that I had on continuous rotation throughout that summer. I started religiously listening to ‘The Friday Rock Show’ and recording live concerts off the radio from the likes of AC/DC, Whitesnake and Foreigner. That Christmas I received the following albums: AC/DC ‘Back In Black’, Saxon ‘Wheels Of Steel’, Motorhead ‘Ace Of Spades’, Rainbow ‘Rising’ and Black Sabbath ‘Heaven & Hell’. The latter two albums are still in my all-time top ten.

Ironically, two of my all-time favourite artists, Journey and Rush, I did not like when I first heard thinking that the singers sounded like girls! In the early days the heavier the better but I soon developed a love for all things Melodic Rock and AOR and the latter, still to this day, remains my favourite genre. The album that changed everything for me was Def Leppard’s ‘Pyromania’ with its blend of hard rock and pop. I was fortunate to see them in Nottingham on that tour, in 1983, and have subsequently seen them many times since over the years.

I went to my first ever gig in October 1982 to see AC/DC at the now no more Leeds Queens Hall. Technically speaking the support band Y&T were the first I saw and I was thrilled to see them again, last year, at York Fibbers, almost exactly thirty-one years later.

From my very early concert-going days I began to record the set-lists and hand- write reviews. Back in the eighties I had the ability to memorise all the songs played at the show and in what order, however, these days I have to refer to my notebook and The Internet.

In 1990 I moved to Southampton that enabled me to see a lot more bands in the capital. In the early-nineties I would think nothing of going up to London after work for a concert, however, with added responsibilities and the advent of speed cameras the latter dwindled away as we entered the new Millennium. A move back up North, to Sheffield, in 2006 changed all that and has given me the opportunity to frequent more concerts these days.

When I am not working, as a Calibrations Services Manager, I spend most of my time watching sport, crime dramas and of course listening to music. I also like foreign travel especially cruises, however, I have still not convinced the wife to go on a rock cruise…

I got my opportunity to write for Fireworks and Rocktopia following a conversation with the then Reviews Editor, Paul Jerome Smith, at Firefest X. I was amazed that Paul had read some of my reviews that I had posted on melodicrock.com under the nom-de-plume Rockingbear. My first two album reviews were published in Issue 61 and since then I have not looked back. The main thing that I like about the magazine is that all the writers are fans and write from the heart; I am amazed at the knowledge of some of my colleagues as I thought that I was a bit of anorak! I would like to thank Paul and also Dave Scott, the new Reviews Editor, who are have been and are still very supportive and say that it is both an honour and a privilege to write for Fireworks and Rocktopia.

MARK DONNELLY

Mark's TOP 5 ARTISTS:

1. Def Leppard
2. Rush
3. Toto
4. Night Ranger
5. Journey

Mark's TOP 5 ALBUMS:

1. Journey – ‘Escape’
2. Def Leppard – ‘Pyromania’
3. Def Leppard – ‘Hysteria’
4. Van Stephenson – ‘Righteous Anger’
5. White Sister – ‘White Sister’

Mark's TOP 5 SONGS:

1. Journey – ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’
2. Rainbow – ‘Stargazer’
3. White Sister – ‘Promises’
4. Rush – ‘Tom Sawyer’
5. Night Ranger – ‘Don’t Say That You Love Me’

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Latest Message: 1 month, 4 weeks ago
  • Berny : @bpomper: Could you pls. contact me at «email» ? Many thanks in advance!
  • bpomper : if i bought the hard copy can i also download and if so how
  • bpomper : im checking to make sure my fireworks #98 was sent out transaction ending in 1241
  • Berny : @all: The download version of Fireworks #98 is available!
  • Berny : @RobC68: We really seem to share a love & hate relationship, right? ;) Pls. check your mail.
  • RobC68 : still waiting for download version of #98 to be available.....pathetic service
  • Berny : @iangreenfiel: The magazine is available in a number of WH Smith branches. Could you pls. contact me at «email» ? I will then send you the latest list of participating stores.
  • iangreenfiel : Can issue 97 only be ordered online? I've tried several branches of WHSmith and had no luck
  • Berny : @vialli999: I've just talked to the guys at Fireworks HQ, unfortunately, the print copy of #90 is no longer available. Sorry! :(
  • vialli999 : DO YOU HAVE A PAPER COPY OF ISSUE 90 BERNY ?
  • vialli999 : forget that last comment i found it....der
  • vialli999 : sorry but i must be really stupid how do i take out a subscription ?
  • vialli999 : I have the download i want a paper copy cheers tel
  • Berny : @vialli999: You get issue 90 from our download store. Would you like to purchase a physical copy?
  • vialli999 : STILL DESPERATE TO GET A COPY OF ISSUE NO. 90
  • Berny : You can pre - order FIREWORKS MAGAZINE #97 now!
  • Deeppurple#1 : Hi,I downloaded my free copy of issue #87 but I can't seem to open the file. Any advice?
  • Berny : RIP Alan Lancaster! :(
  • Berny : @Barneypippa: I forwarded your mail to the Fireworks team. You should receive a reply asap.
  • Barneypippa : My magazine (#96) hasnt arrived yet - should have been here last week
  • Rocktopia Te : @bakerstreetish: Pls. check your email for download instructions.
  • bakerstreeti : Hi, I just bought digital download #96. How will I be able to receive/access it? First time on this site. Thanks!
  • zom414 : Have they been posted out yet? Not received mine yet but may have the release date wrong!
  • Johns Band : Received glossy Fireworks 96 and one of best ever. I am still looking at pictures and "Revisit The Gods AOR Festive" should be great. Probably get download from issue 101 to save on space & it is read to me from audio voice. Already got Robben Ford Instrumental album "Pure" great stuff & Freddy King singing & guitar I love, so Bernie Marsden new album I will have on Amazon Prime. If you are into 70's Rock then new Help Yourself 6 CD Boxset + info will be good for you plus expert to pay no more
  • Berny : Fireworks #96 is out now! :)
  • Berny : @Paul wiv: Pls. check your email!
  • Paul wiv : I have paid for issue 92 but it hasn't downloaded yet.
  • Berny : @Adamson: Bitte kontaktiere mich direkt, meine Mailadresse lautet «email»
  • Adamson : kann man hier auch auf Deutsch schreiben? denn ich hätte eine Frage?
  • KI2000 : Wow, issue #95 has to be the BEST one so far. Congratulations guys!!

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