8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
One of the best bands never to make it big in the UK,
This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
There are many theories as to why a lot of British bands never made inroads in the UK during the 1970s, I tend to favour the one that holds the Radio One Playlist Policy to blame. Hard to believe there was no internet or Spotify or even Amazon in those days, but it's true (look it up if you don't believe me) and radio airplay was the one and only route to superstardom. That, coupled with the fact there was really only one radio station broadcasting pop-rock (the aforementioned Radio One) and you can see why such conspiracy theories abound.
UFO are foremost in that category of bands who missed the UK target. Their music was never astonishing, certainly not up to the standards of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep, but it was always well above the average line, and very consistent from album to album. Admittedly they followed the classic, and lazy, method of songwriting, coming up merely with a verse and chorus, then repeating to end, usually with a guitar break popped in after the second batch of repeats, but there was a laid back brilliance to Mogg's vocals, and Schenker's axework was always hot-off-the-press fresh and articulate. Their music, as these 5 consecutive albums they released on the Chrysalis label show, occupied that uncertain borderland between the generic and the differentiated. Scattered in these albums are one or two out-of-character epics which alone make this set worth having in your collection. Otherwise it's "all good stuff" that never quite rears its head into magnificence.
Brief UK chart fame came with a later live album, which drew all its songs from these albums, so if you remember them from "Strangers in the Night", you'll enjoy seeking out the original studio cuts here.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Feb 2014 05:29:18 GMT
John Rowley says:
you obviously never saw them live !!! Schenker influenced a generation of guitarists, for brief UK chart fame, A number one album with strangers in the night ?? Hardly Brief, it was in the charts for months. Circa 1978/79 UFO were pretty much the biggest Rock band in the world.
Posted on 7 Feb 2014 17:54:30 GMT
D. Carter says:
Your review has made me feel suddenly very old. For a start, is it really so hard to believe now that the Internet and Amazon weren't always around - would anyone seriously need to look for hard proof of that? Conspiracy theories...wtf?
Tracks like Love to Love and This Kid's not astonishing / not up to the standard of Uriah Heep??! You're joking there, obviously.
If you're a budding heavy rock historian, please consider a career change.
Posted on 18 May 2014 06:59:40 BDT
S. Robson says:
I have to agree with the previous two comments, this review is somewhat misleading to those unfamiliar with UFO. To state that UFO's music was "certainly not up to the standards of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep" is highly questionable. However, as with all music it is down to personal taste and everyone is entitled to their opinion but to state that UFO indulged in "lazy songwriting" is just plain wrong. Just listening to songs like Love to Love, Rock Bottom, This Kids, Mother Mary, Lights out etc etc provide the listener with more bridges, twists and turnarounds than an average RAC rally stage! Always interesting to the listener, well crafted and never dull or mundane, this definitely could not be said about a number of other bands of this era particularly on their live releases. That is why 'Strangers in the Night' pound for pound in my opinion is probably the greatest live album to ever emerge from this genre and era. The vibe and excitement captured on 'Strangers in the Night' still hits you between the eyes today. Every version of the songs on 'Strangers' exceeds and enhances the studio version. This was a brilliant achievement which I don't think has been repeated. If you are new to UFO 'Strangers in the Night' was their 'finest hour'. These studio albums never quite captured the excitement and immediacy of the Schenker era UFO live but hidden treasures such as 'Try Me' demonstrate the brilliance of UFO in the studio.
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