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 week ago
  • SeaDog57 : thanks Berny
  • Berny : The FREE PDF version of Fireworks #82 is still available, including 88 (!!) bonus MP3 songs Just click on the banner on top of the site. Already 800+ downloads and counting!
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: Apologies! Link was fixed, CD 84 is now available from the FIREWORKS menu on top of the page (for registered members only). Thanks & best wishes, B :)
  • SeaDog57 : Doesn't seem to be a download for bonus cd 84 just 2 identical versions of Bonus CD 83?
  • Rocktopia Te : Interviews with Lordi, Dee Snider, W.A.S.P., Myles Kennedy and many more. Check out the Fireworks & Rocktopia interview sections!
  • Berny : We are proud to premiere the new lyric video by MASS! Check out the news section.
  • Berny : Hi biggywiggymusic: Sorted out, apologies for the delay.
  • biggywiggymu : Hi I just ordered download of 84 - took my PayPal and then it said I didn't pay. Have the transaction number. Can someone help?
  • Rocktopia Te : Fireworks #84 is out now!!
  • amcc1888 : Thanks Berny
  • Berny : @amcc1888: Please check your mail. Many thanks, B.
  • amcc1888 : Hi There i have ordered Fireworks Issue 83 and paid by PayPal but you have charged me twice but the download has not appeared in my account...also sent you a web contact message..anyone there to help me thanks Tony
  • Berny : We proudly present the new lyric video by AMERICAN TEARS, pls. check out our newsfeed!
  • Rocktopia Te : There are now 500 live reviews on Rocktopia! Check out the latest ones, incl. Iron Maiden, Steven Tyler and Steelhouse Festival 2018!
  • Berny : @Transmet1972: Purchases were added to your account. Sorry for the troubles, not sure why you are still having issues with the DL store. Pls. check your mail. Many thanks & best wishes, B.
  • Transmet1972 : Sent another email re new purchase. Same download issue. Thanks.
  • Berny : @Transmet1972: Support received your message, I already sent a reply.
  • Transmet1972 : Site wont allow me to send ticket to support.
  • Transmet1972 : I cant access the files for 2 downloadable mags i purchased. Site wint
  • Graham : Hi guys i wonder if anyone knows what happend to Greg Parker who formed the band Ozz that released 2 Lps in 1980,
  • Berny : HEAVEN'S TRAIL premiere their new lyric video on Rocktopia. Check out the news section ... «link»
  • Rocktopia Te : @Berny did another lyric video for ROYAL HUNT. Pls. check out our news aection and watch the video on YouTube ... «link»
  • Hysteria : @ Rocktopia Team: GREAT SONG & VIDEO!!! Thanks for sharing!
  • Rocktopia Te : EXCLUSIVE Guild Of Ages music video premiere! Check out «link» ! Did you like the video? Please send us your comments!
  • Berny : Check out the new live reviews: http;//livereviews.rocktopia.co.uk
  • Berny : Download Fireworks #82 for FREE, incl. all 88 songs and the bonus magazine. Just go to "Free Downloads" in the TOP menu. : - >
  • Berny : Fireworks #83 is out NOW!
  • Rocktopia Te : Exclusive MOONSPELL UK video premiere on Rocktopia: Check out the latest news!
  • Berny : Check out the new video by Mass: 'When 2 Worlds Collide' ... «link»
  • Rocktopia Te : We prouldy present the new music video by American Tears! Check out our News Section ... «link»

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