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.
Discovering Iron Maiden is covered in detail in The Story of Rock and Roll. When I first heard them Paul Di’Anno was on vocals and, as you should know, it was only when Bruce Dickenson left Samson to join Maiden and they released The Number of the Beast in 1982 that things really took off for the band. The Di’Anno years are very special to me as I love finding bands before they become famous. I think Killers was one of the best albums I ever heard but most people only really got into Maiden after Bruce joined. In terms of video we’ll stick with Bruce for this round though.
”Back at school for another term and there was serious shit going down. Ozzy had been thrown out of Sabbath and had started his own band. Sabbath were going to carry on but they were going to use Dio on vocals. What the fuck? We couldn’t imagine how it was going to sound. No way Ozzy would be able to do it without Sabbath and vice versa.” The Story of Rock and Roll – James Daubeney
Ronnie James Dio (RIP) in Black Sabbath was amazing. No-one could really imagine how it would sound and in many ways the line-up was written off before they started. That all changed once the album came out and it is safe to say that Heaven and Hell is one of the all time classic rock albums.
There are better videos than this one, its about as ’80s cheesy as you can get but as I explain in The Story of Rock and Roll, there were other good uses for this song. The fact of the matter is that the only two bands that came out of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal and had worldwide success were Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. The Leps caught on like wildfire in the USA. The albums that followed High and Dry in 1981 were all multi-platinum sellers.
We thought ACDC were finished after Bon Scott died, no-one anticipated just how massive the band would become with Brian Johnson on vocals. Back in Black is one of the top selling albums of all time. 36 years later is sounds as fresh as the day it came out.ers.
The Gaslight Anthem
The Gaslight Anthem are an incredible band, I explain how I found them in The Story of Rock and Roll but if you haven’t checked them out they are one of the best bands I have heard in the last 20 years. Sadly they seem to be on a hiatus at the moment or maybe even broken up but there are 5 incredible albums to fall back on. This is way out in terms of chronology but it fits with where it is discussed in The Story of Rock and Roll