UFO
Hard Rock / Proto-Metal • United Kingdom

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Beginning (1969–1972):

Singer Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton, bassist Pete Way, and drummer Andy Parker formed the band in August 1969. Originally taking the name Hocus Pocus, the group changed their name in October 1969 to UFO in honour of the London club where they were spotted by Noel Moore, who signed them to his Beacon Records label. Their eponymously titled first album debuted in 1970 and was a typical example of early hard rock including a heavy version of the Eddie Cochran's classic "C'mon Everybody". Both UFO 1 and its follow-up UFO 2: Flying, were successful in Japan (especially the single "C'mon Everybody" which became a huge hit there) and Germany (the song "Boogie For George," also from the first album, reached #30 in German singles charts as well as "Prince Kajuku" from Flying reached #26), but generated poor interest in Britain and America. Consequently, their third effort, Live (later
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UFO Discography

UFO albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.14 | 13 ratings
UFO 1
Proto-Metal 1970
.. Album Cover 3.51 | 12 ratings
UFO II
Proto-Metal 1971
.. Album Cover 3.72 | 22 ratings
Phenomenon
Proto-Metal 1974
.. Album Cover 3.98 | 19 ratings
Force It
Proto-Metal 1975
.. Album Cover 4.01 | 13 ratings
No Heavy Petting
Hard Rock 1976
.. Album Cover 4.12 | 17 ratings
Lights Out
Hard Rock 1977
.. Album Cover 4.30 | 17 ratings
Obsession
Hard Rock 1978
.. Album Cover 2.57 | 10 ratings
No Place to Run
Hard Rock 1980
.. Album Cover 3.84 | 10 ratings
The Wild, The WIlling and the Innocent
Hard Rock 1981
.. Album Cover 3.92 | 8 ratings
Mechanix
Hard Rock 1982
.. Album Cover 3.97 | 8 ratings
Making Contact
Hard Rock 1983
.. Album Cover 3.49 | 7 ratings
Misdemeanor
Hard Rock 1985
.. Album Cover 3.93 | 4 ratings
Ain't Misbehavin'
Hard Rock 1988
.. Album Cover 3.67 | 3 ratings
High Stakes and Dangerous Men
Hard Rock 1992
.. Album Cover 4.02 | 8 ratings
Walk on Water
Hard Rock 1995
.. Album Cover 3.08 | 6 ratings
Covenant
Hard Rock 2000
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 7 ratings
Sharks
Hard Rock 2002
.. Album Cover 3.98 | 6 ratings
You Are Here
Hard Rock 2004
.. Album Cover 3.70 | 5 ratings
The Monkey Puzzle
Hard Rock 2006
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Visitor
Hard Rock 2009
.. Album Cover 3.91 | 3 ratings
Seven Deadly
Hard Rock 2012
.. Album Cover 3.17 | 3 ratings
A Conspiracy Of Stars
Hard Rock 2015

UFO EPs & splits

UFO live albums

.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
UFO Live
Proto-Metal 1972
.. Album Cover 4.52 | 13 ratings
Strangers in the Night
Hard Rock 1978
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Lights Out in Tokyo
Hard Rock 1992
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Big Apple Encounters
Hard Rock 2003
.. Album Cover 4.05 | 2 ratings
Showtime
Hard Rock 2005

UFO demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

UFO boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.52 | 2 ratings
Headstone
Hard Rock 1983
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of UFO
Hard Rock 1996
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best of A Decade
Hard Rock 2010

UFO singles (0)

UFO movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Too Hot To Handle
Hard Rock 1992
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Misdemeanor Tour
Hard Rock 2001
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Legends of Rock
Hard Rock 2002
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live on Earth
Hard Rock 2003

UFO Reviews

UFO UFO 1

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
Before UFO ever snaffued Michael Schenker from the Scorpions, leaving the band to temporarily fold until their rebirth with Uli Jon Roth, the British heavy guitar rock band were four young musicians full of vigor and eager to play loud.

Vocalist Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton, bassist Pete Way, and drummer Andy Parker released their debut in 1970. Not entirely confident in writing their own material, the album included covers by Eddie Cochrane ("C'mon Everybody"), the blues classic covered earlier by the Yardbirds, "Who Do You Love", and the sentimental postwar-themed tune "(Come Away) Melinda" which appear on Uriah Heep's debut in the same year. And though "Follow You Home" is credited to Way, the "You Really Got Me" similarities prompted another band member to reflect years later "He wanted to sound like the Kinks".

The construct of the album is fairly simple: heavy blues and heavy psychedelic music, loud guitar distortion for most songs and frequent wah-wah pedal, bass mixed loudly on some tracks, especially "(Come Away) Melinda", and busy psychedelic-style drumming. Phil Mogg's vocals have a good heavy blues edge to them but hadn't matured into a distinct style yet. A cursory listen and this album sounds like a typical contemporary American heavy guitar rock album in spite of the band's British nationality.

I've said that the album's basic construct is simple but that does not mean that there isn't variety or any surprises. In particular, the bluesy "Who Do You Love" features some heavy psych guitar similar to the best of Iron Butterfly's free form solos of the sixties. "Timothy" is a very heavy guitar rocker and it's my pick for most metal song off the album. "Evil", as you would expect, also is pretty heavy and musically reminds me of Sainte Anthony's Fyre. It's interesting to look over the album history and read that the band wanted to cover an Eddie Cochrane tune but not "Summertime Blues" because "everyone had done it". I say interesting because their version of "C'mon Everybody" has the same heavy galloping bass and loud distortion approach as Blue Cheer's cover of "Summertime Blues". Admittedly, Blue Cheer are heavier but not by that much. UFO still leave The Who trampled in the dust when it comes to heavy covers of Eddie Cochrane.

Other songs on the album have their charm points when it comes to the music and guitar. There's no real pop chart single and no acoustic work or sappy love songs. No matter how a song begins you can expect some raucous guitar and vigorous rhythm work. The only true weak point that strikes me is the song writing. It hasn't matured yet. Neither has the band's sound but they make up for their greeness with energy and drive. The next album would venture into lengthy space rock compositions (two tracks taking up 45 minutes!) and then the new UFO with Schenker would come to be.

For a very raw album with simple production and loud guitar, this is not a bad little effort to pick up.

UFO Phenomenon

Album · 1974 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Certif1ed
Phenomenal

If you want troo Heavy Metal from the early 1970s, it don't come much truer than this.

The addition of ex-Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker in 1973 to UFO served to supercharge a rather dull Krautrock-style jam band into one of the first bona fide heavy metal acts - if not THE first. Schenker was chosen above Larry Wallis, ex Pink-Fairies guitarist, who would go on to join the earliest incarnation of Motorhead.

True, there had been Black Sabbath and the hordes of imitators, and there had also been some wonderful acts in the Krautrock scene, Ladbroke Grove in London - as well as across the globe in various guises - but none had produced an album which was 100% heavy metal in form, style or attitude, with the exception of Sabbath.

Sabbath, however, represent a different branch of metal, one that would not resurface for almost a decade - but when it did, all metaldom went ballistic and paid maximum homage.

What UFO brought to the table was everything about metal that Sabbath weren't. Sabbath were the dark, doomy side - but as everyone knows, metal has it's melodic side, there are swathes of bands that focus on the technical aspects, and some may hate the radio-friendly side of metal, but it's no less metal than the really unlistenable hardcore stuff.

It's also true that Phenomenon isn't 100% metal - especially in its latter half, when it kinda kicks back a little and puts its metaphorical feet up - maybe saving energy for the ultimate climax. "Queen of the Deep" contains some of the best soloing you will ever hear - but more of that later.

Musically, Phenomenon lives up to its title, with really strong songwriting and dazzling guitar soloing - the pentatonic noodly rubbish favoured by so many bands has been chucked away in favour of Schenker's trademark encyclopaedia of metal licks, based on a wide variety of scales and influences - but always with a diamond-sharp edge.

This album is the perfect answer to dandruff - simply crank it up as loud as it'll go and hey presto! In no time, you'll be banging your head so hard that the white stuff'll have no chance whatsoever.

We dive straight in to the pounding "Oh My", take a little breather with "Crystal Light" (watch out as you hold that lighter above your head - you don't want to set fire to the room above), then it's Classic time. If you don't already know "Doctor Doctor", what planet have you been living on?

Another mellifluous ballad follows, and it is such as Journey would base an entire career on, albeit a very welcome showcase for Schenker's amazing feel for extended melody.

There then follows the other track that you NEED to know, which is another Schenker showcase, and I won't insult anyone by naming it. Suffice to say that the title is the exact opposite of the music.

Side 2 is devoid of classics, infused instead with a slightly countrified air, and begins with the rather average "Too Young To Know". It's no slouch, however, with the gorgeous "Time on My Hand", the driving cover of the Willie Dixon tune, "Built For Comfort", the classically inspired "Lipstick Traces", which is a foundation stone of the Malmsteen style, and "Queen of The Deep", a metal classic that never was.

Herein lies some of Schenker's finest soloing work - an almost unplundered library of licks well worth stealing, some tasty breakdown riffs - and the single most annoying fadeout I've ever heard - it's far too early!

Phenomenon is quite simply essential listening.

UFO UFO II

Album · 1971 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Certif1ed
For their second album, UFO decided to stick to the formula of the first, ie "heavy" psych rock, based around a small collection of rather unadventurous riff patterns.

An album for fans only, there's little to get excited about in here;

The opener, "Flying" is a somewhat dull jam - indeed, there's not much "psych" about it. There are a few tasty licks among the neverending noodle - Mick Bolton is no Michael Schenker for sure, and is the weak link in the jigsaw puzzle, as Pete Way and Andy Parker serve up a solid but ultimately boring backdrop that only serves to hint tantalisingly at the superb songs they were later to pen. Phil Mogg's voice has also yet to find its feet, so to speak, so this is not the UFO of "Phenomenon".

After several listens, I still find it fairly difficult to differentiate the pieces - they're all much of a muchness, although not quite as crushingly dull as some of the more mundane Krautrock from which this album undoubtedly springs - there is an emphasis on the sound of the crashing rhythm chords that suggests some thought has gone into the structuring.

Turning up the volume doesn't fix this, and neither, I've discovered, does beer. The (literally) monotonous vocals of "Star Storm" are not the soaring masterpieces that the band would come to write, and do not come up to the kneecaps of their peers.

The incessant wailing of the over-effected guitar really gets old quite quickly - and there are 3 tracks to go, which, for better or worse, sound exactly the same, except the notes are in different orders.

Avoid unless you're desparate to hear what UFO were like before they were amazing.

One and a half stars - really it's a half star album, musically and metally - but Way, Parker and Mogg are at least there, and solid. Nothing to dislike there.

UFO Lights Out

Album · 1977 · Hard Rock
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Pelata
UFO always escaped me. I knew Michael Schenker used to play guitar with them. I knew that they are revered in UK Rock and Metal circles. I even used to own a found copy of Obsession on vinyl when I was in 10th grade, but can only recall "Only You Can Rock Me" (cool song) from it (it was stolen from me in later years). So, in my quest to discover bands and albums I overlooked early on, this time I chose Lights Out.

I first heard the title track when it was covered by Fifth Angel, and I only heard that 6 or 7 years ago. The original version here rocks! It kind of reminds me of Rainbow with its organ and galloping tempo. What a nice slice of Heavy Metal that is! "Love To Love" is another standout track to my ears. It has a cool, dark and moody vibe to it and kind of reminds me of Pink Floyd in places with the moody build-ups and airy atmosphere. Song to song, it's a pretty diverse album...which is cool. "Just Another Suicide" and "Getting Ready" are solid, radio-friendly Classic Rock ala BTO (former) and Tom Pertty (latter) while the somber "Try Me" is a really good melancholic piano ballad. "Electric Phase" has a strong attitude and vibe as does "Too Hot To Handle". Then there's "Alone Again Or" which I thought was an odd sock in the basket, sounding like some old 60s tune (til I looked it up and saw it was a Love cover). I liked it though.

Verdict: Strong record with good songs and loads of variety.

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