The UFO album by album thread.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Jimmy Agates, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. rcdupre

    rcdupre Flying is Trying is Dying

    Location:
    Tokyo
    yes, but I'd rather do it in chronological order, like the On With The Action Live at the Roundhouse 1976 CD, which would be about now...but I'm easy
  2. slipkid

    slipkid Forum Resident

    I know we have a couple albums to go before we get to the legendary live Strangers In The Night, but when we do I'd be grateful if folks familiar with the multitude of reissues of that one could give their opinion on which is/are the best (& why). I have three versions of it now ("expanded edition" on Chrysalis/Capital from 1999, remastered edition on Chrysalis from 2008, and the one from the Chrysalis years box set from 2011) - not counting various imports I think there was also at least one other reissue branded as "deluxe" or something like that that came out sometime in the '00's which I avoided for some reason but can't recall why now).
    Jimmy Agates and phoenixhwy1982 like this.
  3. Jimmy Agates

    Jimmy Agates Forum Resident

    Ok...I'm fine with that - lets wait until Force It and No Heavy Petting have been fully discussed...

    BTW here's what there is in the way of official releases

    [​IMG]
    The Chrysalis Year contains a previously unreleased gig from November 1974 recorded on their first US tour. The 8 tracks include a rare cover of Lennon's Cold Turkey as well as the likes of Give Her The Gun and Prince Kajuku.

    [​IMG]

    This BBC archive release contains tracks from Oct 74, June 77, June 74 and Dec 75 of which all were included on the recently issued
    UFO at the BBC On Air 5cd/dvd boxset with a couple more tracks added.

    [​IMG]

    This is the widely bootleged radio broadcast from The Record Plant NY 1975 - this was also
    included in the Official Bootleg 6cd boxset released a few years back.

    [​IMG]

    This is as the package says a live album from 1976 recorded at The Roundhouse in Camden - the entire gig (sans All Or Nothing)
    was also included on the Official Bootleg boxset.
  4. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Great stuff.
    With Force It and NHP, there is a lot to discuss. I guess they are picked the most as favorites.
    Not sure if it was mentioned anywhere but, Force It was the first UFO album to feature keyboards. I will get to that on my review of Out In the Street.
  5. phoenixhwy1982

    phoenixhwy1982 The Last Cowboy

    Location:
    Chicago
    With Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Zep all releasing classic albums that year how do you guys rank Force It in the 1975 hard rock scene?
  6. GodShifter

    GodShifter Harvester of Sorrow

    Location:
    North Texas
    I mentioned it in my review. Chick Churchill of Ten Years After was brought in by former bandmate Leo Lyons for those sessions.
  7. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greater St. Louis
    It is pretty heavy compared to all those bands, even Sabbath at that time. Not as well known, however. I still think UFO is a second tier band, unfortunately.
  8. GodShifter

    GodShifter Harvester of Sorrow

    Location:
    North Texas
    Force It is right up there in terms of being a classic hard rock record.

    IMO, it's probably compositionally a bit stronger than even Black Sabbath's Sabotage. For 1975, I'd rank it right up there with Nugent's s/t debut, Nazareth's Hair of the Dog, Budgie's Bandolier, and Rush's Fly By Night. It's not as good Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti but that's pretty stiff competition right there.
  9. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Thanks for the info. I don't know why but I always think it is Leo Lyons that played keys. o_O
    I guess after Force It, they had no choice but to hire a keyboard player. :D
  10. GodShifter

    GodShifter Harvester of Sorrow

    Location:
    North Texas
    Nah, Leo Lyons was the bass player. Have you ever seen video footage of TYA's performance at Woodstock? Leo Lyons is really into it. The only guy that could hold a candle to his intensity was the bass player from Canned Heat who performed on Day 2.
  11. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    As promised.

    Out in the Street...another awesome song from Force It.

    The song starts out with keyboards playing a bluesy A major to D major riff with A as the pedal tone. When I first heard the song I said wait a minute...where is the trademark Schenker riff? UFO with keyboards?! I thought, I hope this gets better. By the end of the song I would have my answer.

    The keyboards flow along with some tasty cymbal work until the heavy main riff (G-D-A) comes crashing in at :24. Phil is once again in fine form. Back to the keyboards and a repeat of the main riff until 1:07 where the band plays a slight variation of the main riff with Michael playing some great sliding power chords and the chorus "Over my Head" with Phil adding harmonies.

    The main keyboard riff returns at 1:22 signaling the start of the second verse. The riff variation returns at 1:57 with the chorus until 2:12 where the band breaks into a bridge in C major. Another great bridge ...the album has a bunch of them. The keyboards play along in the bridge with Chick Churchill adding some tasty arpeggios.

    At 2:38 it's back to A Major with Michael playing some slow tasty fills. At 3:09 the tempo steps up with Michael soloing over C-G-A. It's another blistering solo with searing bends and pull offs. Michael plays a cool little descending thirds line at 3:23 with the final note being G, reminding our ear of the G major in the accompanying chords. It's little phrases like this that make his solos great and never boring.

    The solo ends with the bridge returning at 3:37. There is a repeat of the first verse starting at 4:11.
    The verse repeat chugs along with the chorus following until at 4:53 where Michael plays a couple of pull offs signaling the end of the song with the main riff played ending on an A major chord which fades out.

    I had my answer...it's a great song.
    I was never sure what the lyrics were exactly about. I am guessing it is about a prostitute with a spin on the theatricality side of the hooker's job. :D

    Jimmy Agates and phoenixhwy1982 like this.
  12. bt1098

    bt1098 Member

    I was fortunate enough to see them during the "Lights Out" tour in the 70's, unfortunately it was my first rock concert, and was all a blur....I do remember that "odd" smell, and seeing some classmates in the audience. Being my first "concert" experience, it was a little more memorable than some, as I do recall visions of Schenker and the Flying V. Or, maybe it was all a dream? I had plans to see UFO during the You are There tour, but was canceled due to Visa issues or something. Would have liked to of seen it....
  13. GodShifter

    GodShifter Harvester of Sorrow

    Location:
    North Texas
    [​IMG]

    UFO Lights Out (1977)

    1. Too Hot To Handle (Way/Mogg)
    2. Just Another Suicide (Mogg)
    3. Try Me (Schenker/Mogg)
    4. Lights Out (Schenker/Mogg/Way/Parker)

    5. Gettin' Ready (Schenker/Mogg)
    6. Alone Again Or (Bryan MacLean)
    7. Electric Phase (Way/Mogg/Schenker)
    8. Love to Love (Schenker/Mogg)

    Line-up:

    Phil Mogg: vocals
    Michael Schenker: lead guitar
    Paul Raymond: rhythm guitar, keyboards
    Pete Way: bass
    Andy Parker: drums

    Produced by Ron Nevison
    Orchestral and horn arrangements: Alan McMillan


    Continuing the band's routine of the yearly record/tour regiment that was the way of hard rock bands in the decade of the 7o's (unless you were Led Zeppelin), UFO returned to the studio for their 1977 outing, Lights Out. This time, however, they would be without Chrysalis in-studio producer Leo Lyons, who had been a fixture at the board for the band since their 1974 Phenomenon album. Lyons departure was due to UFO feeling that, after the relatively disappointing reception of No Heavy Petting, a change was needed in terms of a producer. So, looking at the past track record of Ron Nevison, who had engineered hit albums for The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, as well as the first three albums for Bad Company plus producing Thin Lizzy's Night Life, the band felt that Nevison had the necessary skills to help them create an album that would be dynamic in terms of its sound spectrum as well as be more radio friendly. After all, UFO had released three remarkable slabs of commercial oriented hard rock with Lyons, yet the albums had not done well in terms of sales. Due to time constraints and cost, the band had always felt rushed in the studio with Lyons (Phenomenon had been recorded and mixed in ten days, Force It in fifteen, and No Heavy Petting in twenty) so this time the band would take a bit more time in studio. Working closely under the tutelage of Nevison, the band strived to hone and perfect their song craft for maximum radio success, and further, to create an album that was sonically pleasing to the listener's ear.

    The decision was made within the band to try write more accessible/hook laden rock tunes and, in effect, soften their sound a bit (much to Pete Way's disapproval). Another move the band had made was the hiring of keyboardist/guitarist Paul Raymond (ex-Chicken Shack and Savoy Brown) to their line-up as a replacement for the now departed Danny Peyronel. Raymond, who was a good friend of Pete Way, seemed to be the perfect addition for UFO due to his ability play both keyboards and guitar on stage (often within the same song) which helped to significantly beef up their live sound.

    In terms of songwriting, Paul Raymond would not contribute any songs to Lights Out. Instead, of the eight songs that appear on the album, the compositions would come from the four other band members in various combinations. The Schenker/Mogg team, as a duo, would only contribute three songs of the eight. Four other songs would include Pete Way in some equation, (he is sole co-writer on "Too Hot to Handle" with Mogg) and, as a first, Phil Mogg would have sole composition credit in the ballad/rocker "Just Another Suicide". Rounding out the album was the cover of "Alone Again Or" from the LA based psychedelic band, Love, written by Bryan MacLean, which appears on the 1967 album Forever Changes.

    The Way/Mogg penned tune "Too Hot to Handle" opens Lights Out with an infectious riff and a rousing chorus that was stadium themed (and endorsed). Indeed, "Too Hot to Handle" got its fair share of play on FM radio which was a first for the band, at least in terms of the US. I guess, in a way, this is UFO's answer to BTO's "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet": a simplistic, riff driven song complete with the stuttering type deal with the "sha-la-la-la, roll you over" in the chorus, but it works in same way as the BTO cut did, in that it's catchy and memorable. "Too Hot to Handle" is a radio driven cut with a relatively short, melodic, processed solo from Schenker that ends quickly and returns back to the chorus. It's a good rocker, though, and I've always thought of it as the brother to "Only You Can Rock Me". Indeed, they're very similar, rabble rousing, chorus infectious songs and both are prime time radio ready songs.

    The title track, "Lights Out", is a raucous, anger fueled rocker. I love the brisk, driving staccato rhythm during the chorus; it really accentuates the urgency of the song. "Lights Out" is really one of the heaviest rockers that UFO has ever cranked out, past or present. Also fueling the drive of the song is the poignant, depressive lyrics concerning the English economy. It's one of UFO's first forays, lyrically, into the political/socially based spectrum and, obviously, a response to the burgeoning punk scene that was developing at the same time that this album was recorded. God Save The Queen, indeed! "Lights Out" features a great solo from Schenker which works with the driving chorus rhythm. Schenker is particularly effective with his accents on the "lights out!" parts in the chorus. Pete Way's bass and Andy Parker's double kick drums rumble and tumble together perfectly on this in terms of the rhythm section. Additionally, Paul Raymond's use of the organ as a layered instrument, adds to the oppressive nature of the song.

    The other out and out rocker on Lights Out is "Electric Phase" that begins with a bass riff similar to "Cherry" (from Obsession); a throbbing and percussive line. Michael Schenker puts down slide guitar lines similar to that of Manny Charlton of Nazareth (i.e. No Mean City) while his double tracked dry distorted riffs work underneath the slide guitar for added effect. In terms of effect, Raymond's organ on "Electric Phase" is distracting and doesn't add to the song in a meaningful way. Schenker's solo is, once again, remarkable with the guitarist displaying his terrific sense of high soaring melody.

    As a producer, one of things that Ron Nevison did for UFO was to incorporate a lot of orchestration for Lights Out to give it a lot of mood and contrast. In some senses, it worked well (see "Love to Love"), but in other cases it did not. For instance "Just Another Suicide", which was written solely by Phil Mogg, hints at something that might have been on Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. It's a cut that Jim Steinman could (and would) be proud of with heavy piano working with acoustic guitar to create a sense of drama. Michael Schenker tries to pick his spots here, lead riffing during the verses, but it doesn't work. The solo is great, though, and highlights the clean, bright production that Nevison had developed for Schenker's guitar sound (really just furthering the sound Lyons helped to coin, to be completely honest). It's Schenker's trademark and I've remarked on it before (thanks to Slipkid and River Rose Bear, I now know it's due to the use of a wah pedal half compressed to keep things sounding clean and precise). Ultimately, however, "Suicide" fails due to over (false) orchestration from the keyboards causing the song to sound more like musical theater than a rock song; maybe like something from "Phantom of the Paradise" or "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". It doesn't work. Speaking of things that don't work, "Try Me" is a heavily orchestrated ballad that falls flat as well. Even Michael Schenker's obligatory guitar solo in the middle section can't save the song from the melodramatic and the mundane. Evidently, "Try Me" is an attempt at the lighter approach that Pete Way didn't approve of. Rightly so, as it falls flat. What it does do, however, is highlight Mogg's somewhat gritty and expressive vocals. I've said it before, but Mogg has an extremely unique voice. I've only heard (maybe) one other singer sound like him in all of hard rock, but I can't remember the band at the moment. A singularity! (almost).

    The cover of Love's "Alone Again Or" is somewhat interesting and, yet, it's not. Though I own Forever Changes, I'm not overly familiar with this song. To me this sounds like more acoustic/rock theater stuff akin to "Just Another Suicide". The good part: there's a slight Rush vibe in some of the chording on this but it's, sadly, slight and only in small spots. This song fails due to, again, over orchestration like "Suicide". Michael Schenker's multi-tracked guitar is great here, though. That being said, UFO's cover of "Alone Again Or" sounds like it could just as easily be an up-tempo Moody Blues song. It doesn't really work, and makes me wonder if they included a cover like this to satisfy the bigwigs at Chrysalis. "We need a hit!"

    Closing out Lights Out is the band's magnum opus "Love to Love" which begins by featuring more of Schenker's multi-tracking with some dissonant lines in the melody to make it sound conflicted (light and shade). The use of electric piano on this cut is brilliant. Normally, I'm not overly fond of the instrument, but here it's terrific due to, seemingly, a bit of reverb on it. "Love to Love" might have one of the most effective build ups of almost any rock tune I can think of -- on par with Rush's "Xanadu", in fact. It's that good. The ELO like nuances (multi-tracked acoustic guitar? synthesizer? both?) that work during the phrases in conjunction with the piano are very effective in creating tension. When the intro segues into Mogg's weary, longing vocal the song stretches out like a long, dark road ahead with the destination unknown. Driver be prepared! "Love to Love" is a moody, introspective, smoky ballad/rocker that highlights UFO's ability incorporate darker and lighter nuances within the same song. After Mogg sings his last "misty green and blue!" Michael Schenker kicks into the ultimate guitar solo/meltdown climaxing with a dramatic, bombastic conclusion. It's such a well crafted song. No wonder Steve Harris of Iron Maiden has stated that it's his favorite song of all-time! It's up there for me, too.

    Side bar for me: "Love to Love" is a great live staple for the band and, arguably, the pinnacle of the band's set. On Strangers in the Night, the beginning section of the version is spine chilling, especially when some guy in the audience screams loudly "WOOOOOHOOO" as the electric piano pounds out the melody and the band kicks in behind it. It's one of my favorite moments in recorded hard rock music! "Love to Love" was the first UFO song I ever heard, and I've relayed the circumstances of me hearing it before on this forum, so I'll spare the reader that reminiscence again for this review. I will say, though, it is the song responsible for me getting into the band and learning about their music, so it will always have a special place in my headspace for that alone, never mind it's an absolutely brilliant piece of music.

    Summing up the album, for me, Lights Out falls somewhere between Force It and Obsession in terms of being a favorite. (In truth, Obsession is the weaker cousin of Lights Out. It's set up the same in terms of strengths and, basically, track listing, but has less strong material overall, but because I heard Obsession first, it peaks above Lights Out in terms of a personal favorite). Force It, in sum total, is a stronger album than Lights Out in every respect as far as I'm concerned. It has the most concert staples, as I pointed out in its review and it flows much smoother to my ears.

    In truth, Lights Out isn't that great of a record with all its parts considered. I think it's seen as a stronger outing because of Ron Nevison's clean, polished sheen and because of having two absolutely stunning tracks in the title cut and "Love to Love" which, by itself, is transcendently brilliant. Other than that, Lights Out suffers due to over orchestration and material that is decidedly more mainstream than previous efforts. In sum: Lights Out seems to be a product of a band over thinking, to an extent. As I pointed out at the beginning of the review, Pete Way was not happy with the direction the band had decided for Lights Out and, being that he was a founding member of the band, and a contributor in terms of songwriting, it tells me that the decision to head in the direction that Lights Out did was probably Phil Mogg's. Indeed, this album allows for, and highlights, Mogg's vocals more than any UFO release before it and, simultaneously, eschews Schenker in the process. The long, extended Schenker solo outings were, for all intents and purposes, gone on Lights Out and, replacing them, were more thoughtful arranged melodic pieces that spanned the spectrum of radio ready rock music for the time. Indeed, in some respects, Lights Out is the first UFO album that might be considered truly AOR in terms of the material. It was definitely the most ambitious and daring album the band had put forth so far, but it is not their best, at least not in my opinion.

    A couple of notes:

    The band has stated that Nevison was no easy task master and was often harsh and demanding in terms of trying to get the best performances from the musicians. Indeed, Paul Raymond admitted that he stormed out of the studio due to one of Nevison's comments, but was finally coaxed back by assistant engineer Mike Clink while still in the parking lot. Tensions were often high within the band as well as Michael Schenker was becomingly increasingly estranged from the rest of the group. In fact, after the UK tour for Lights Out, Schenker disappeared just before the US tour was to begin prompting Mogg to seek out, once again, Lonestar guitarist Paul Chapman to replace him. Schenker would later return at the behest of Pete Way and record and tour for 1978's Obsession, but it was clear Schenker's status was tenuous, at best, and Raymond has remarked that he had to be treated with kid gloves as to not upset the cart, so to speak.

    Cover by Hipgnosis again.



    Back cover of 2008 remaster with bonus tracks:

    [​IMG]
  14. thiswas

    thiswas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Great review! "Lights Out" is one of the rare UFO songs I've heard, and it always sounded to me like a bona fide NWOBHM songs, and NWOBHM didn't really start until 1979, as far as I'm concerned (bands like Priest and Motorhead are precursors, but not actual NWOBHM, although they benefited from that movement's momentum and fit well alongside it). So, yes, the influence of UFO on NWOBHM is really apparent here. Excellent song.
  15. Curveboy

    Curveboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    On the remaster for Lights Out there is a drop out on Too Hot to Handle. I don't have it with me but I believe it's after the first chorus. It's right around when he sings "wink of an eye"; it almost sounds like a compressor misfiring. I don't have the original CD to compare it to either to see if it was part of the original mix/recording.
    Use_Your_Koala likes this.
  16. GodShifter

    GodShifter Harvester of Sorrow

    Location:
    North Texas
    Thanks, and I think your comment about the song "Lights Out" being a precursor to the NWOBHM sound is right on. It's definitely a tougher, non-blues based hard rock track. The heavy, staccato rhythm that propels the song reminds me a bit of Diamond Head's "Helpless" (a seminal NWOBHM track), so I'd say your thoughts hit the nail on the head.
  17. thiswas

    thiswas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Precisely! When I first saw a live performance of this on TV, I actually thought it was Diamond Head.
    GodShifter likes this.
  18. GodShifter

    GodShifter Harvester of Sorrow

    Location:
    North Texas
    Heh, great minds :thumbsup:
    thiswas likes this.
  19. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Godshifter did a great job reviewing Lights Out.
    Here is my two cents from a guitar players view on Too Hot To Handle...the hot opener on Lights Out

    Too Hot to Handle is a masterwork in commonly used guitar tricks which make a song more interesting.

    The song opens with an E major chord with a suspended fourth pull off added. The next chord is A Major with a suspended fourth also. The suspended fourth is what you hear at :02 and :04. Suspended fourths are commonly used in rock and roll to make simple chord progressions a little more interesting. Johnny Thunders used them just about every time he played. It's Michael's way of adding some color to this Pete Way song. At :06, Michael pulls off at the third fret of the bottom E string to the open E. This is used by many guitar players to add a boogie type feel to a song. At :16, Pete Way enters the fray with the beginning of the first verse. The chorus starts at :30 with Michael playing sliding power chords to give the chorus a shuffle feel.
    After the second verse we come to the bridge at 1:16 which shifts to B Major. Michael's guitar solo begins at 1:31 in B Major with some wicked bent double notes a la Chuck Berry. Michael jumps to the 19th fret position at 1:36 with some more nasty bent double notes and stays at that position for some single string soloing at 1:42. He plays some beautiful flowing legato lines along the way with the solo ending at 2:00. At 2:01 it is back to the bridge chords with the bridge verse delayed entering at 2:15. At 2:30, Michael plays a Chuck Berry type shuffle on the B chord before the final verse comes in. The song moves along thru the final verse to the chorus with Michael adding some fills before launching into a outro solo starting with some Johnny Thunders type bent double notes at 3:01. He plays some hot double notes at 3:18 followed by some wicked pull offs a la Jimmy Page. The solo and song ends with Michael playing a bent note to E with an accompanying E power chord fast fade out.

    A standard rocker that would sound pretty boring if not for the flourishes played by Michael.

    JohnG, GodShifter and phoenixhwy1982 like this.
  20. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    I can't hear it. Will listen with headphones. :)
  21. StrayCat

    StrayCat Active Member

    Location:
    Cymru Gorllewin
    Phenomenom is my UFO album of choice, followed by Lights Out.

    But for me they were only ever a 2nd division band.
  22. DPM

    DPM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nevada, USA
    Lights Out was my first UFO album, and though it's not my favorite I do like it more than the reviewer. The orchestration doesn't bother me one bit, and I think that it was a good idea for the band to try something new--even if it did take off some of their heavy rock edge. I disagree with the reviewer regarding Just Another Suicide and Try Me not working because of the orchestration. I think said orchestration adds some nice color to these tunes. In fact, Just Another Suicide may be my favorite track off this album, and Mogg's vocal on Try Me is heartfelt and engaging. Ol' Phil brought the ache and longing on that one.

    Also, the lighter nature of some of the tunes on Lights Out allowed the heavier songs to hit with that much more impact. Consider the opening onslaught of the title track following the gentle close of Try Me just seconds before. Talk about shock and awe. Whoever programed this album is a genius.

    Lights Out would shine on SACD. :uhhuh:
    JohnG and Jimmy Agates like this.
  23. GodShifter

    GodShifter Harvester of Sorrow

    Location:
    North Texas
    No question that both the title track and "Love to Love" are the anchors of the album and, thus, why they are placed at the end of both sides. Go out with a bang!

    There's nothing wrong with the band trying to do something different and, as I noted in my review, I think it was a move they felt they had to take as their previous outings with Lyons had not been met with commercial success. If you look at RYM's ratings, Lights Out is rated a 3.91 out a possible 5, which is the highest rating any studio UFO album has. So, by and large, by the fans, it is considered the band's best record. I just don't like it as much as the other albums I mentioned in my review.

    There's no question that UFO is a "2nd tier" band when looking back at the trajectory of their career. Indeed, Lights Out and Obsession would be the albums that get them as close to tier 1 status as they'd ever be. Whether it be lack of charisma, songs that didn't quite resonate with US listening preferences, or internal conflicts that slowed their possible momentum, UFO would never get to the upper echelons of the hard rock stratosphere as they had hoped. Nevertheless, they cranked out some great music and have a couple of truly brilliant pieces that were highly influential on bands that would follow after them.
  24. DPM

    DPM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nevada, USA
    And therein lies the big question: what went wrong?

    Sometimes I wonder if MTV had happened a few years sooner if UFO's fortunes might have turned out different. Then again, compared to most bands that have come and gone, second tier status isn't such a bad outcome. As you stated, UFO definitely left their mark, and they created some great music. And hey, they're still out there tearing up stages everywhere. Things could have turned out much worse.
    Carserguev likes this.
  25. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Force It was ahead of its time, an 80's hard rock album adrift in the mid-70's.

    (I said the same thing in some other thread a long time ago, but it bears repeating. :laugh:)