Lights Out

UFO

UFO

UFO are one of the most influential bands the UK has ever produced. They really had it all, great songs, great front man, charismatic bass guitarist, top class drummer and the awesome phenomenal guitar fire power of Michael Schenker. What they didn’t have was the kind of management that they needed. If they had a manager of the calibre of Peter Grant or Ron Smallwood, someone who could have held them together and looked after them they could have been a lot bigger and they really should have been a lot bigger. If you love UFO I would recommend reading High Stakes and Dangerous Men: The UFO Story by Neil Daniels, its a great book and it details the problems they had with the booze and having a German in a British band. the whole difference in work effort, the very British ‘lets go to the pub and we’ll do this track later’ attitude vs. the Teutonic perfection that Schenker required to get every solo right, they were like oil and water and ultimately the centre couldn’t hold. By any measurement UFO wrote some of the classic rock anthems of all time and Strangers in The Night is widely regarded as one of the greatest live albums of all time. My mate Roger and I used to spend hours listening to Obsession and I was so glad when it finally got remastered recently and they fixed that awful hi-hat in ‘Only You Can Rock Me’. Listening to Schenker in UFO is something that everyone should do, he made more albums than I realised and as much as they missed him he was never as good as he was in UFO. I wish people could just get the fuck along, music would be so much better for it.

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All the old stuff is pretty poor quality but sonically this track isn’t bad. The band is tight and Phil Mogg just shows off that typical front man swagger which the big names in the 70’s perfected. This is the kind of look that every lead singer wanted but not all of them could pull it off like Plant or Morrison or Dave Lee Roth, I reckon Phil does fine. For such a hard drinking hell raising band there is no sign of it here, it’s just super tight balls to the wall rock and roll. It all comes together for me at 2:02 when Schenker does that first solo, he is just so slick and would blow away almost anyone playing around this time. The second solo at at around 4:07 shows those amazing melody lines he manages to weave into his playing better than anyone. UFO you were an incredible band.

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James Daubeney
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