UFO are one of heavy metal's earliest and greatest bands. The classic 70's lineup was: Andy Parker (drums), Michael Schenker (guitars), Paul Raymond (keys), Phil Mog (vox) and Pete Way (bass). I have yet to replace my extensive UFO vinyl collection with cd copies, so this collection is only just begun.

Phenomenon UFO-Phenomenon (Chrysalis) 1974

1. "Oh My" (2:27)
2. "Crystal Light" (3:47)
3. "Doctor Doctor" (4:12)
4. "Space Child" (4:01)
5. "Rock Bottom" (6:31)
6. "Too Young to No" (3:10)
7. "Time on My Hands" (4:12)
8. "Built for Comfort" (3:08)
9. "Lipstick Traces" (2:20)
10. "Queen of the Deep" (5:43)

"Phenomenon" was the first UFO album to feature young teenage guitarist Michael Schenker, however, the band did not totally shake loose the space rock trash of their first two studio efforts. "Time on My Hands" and "Crystal Light" are boring acoustic guitars numbers, while "Space Child" continues in the Hawkwind space rock of the band's past. This being said, however, "Phenomenon" features two of the band's most classic cuts in "Doctor Doctor" and Schenker's awesome "Rock Bottom." I suppose this album would have been considered the band's crossover album or their "transitional period." "Built for Comfort" is a Willie Dixon blues number. Unlike most UFO discs, this one is pretty easy to find. CDNow has it for $11.49.

Force It UFO-Force It (Chrysalis) 1975

1. "Let It Roll" (3:57)
2. "Shoot Shoot" (3:40)
3. "High Flyer" (4:10)
4. "Love Lost Love" (3:22)
5. "Out in the Street" (5:17)
6. "Mother Mary" (3:50)
7. "Too Much of Nothing" (4:03)
8. "Dance Your Life Away" (3:36)
9. "This Kids Between the Walls" (6:14)

"Force It" is the first UFO album to totally abandon the psychedelic space rock of past albums. It is in reality, their fourth release respectively. Michael Schenker has pretty much taken over the reigns along with Phil Mogg to create an incredible British Heavy Metal classic. The first two songs are classic UFO and sport the early heavy metal sound that made UFO the influential band they are. The whole disc, however, is quite good. Even the ballads don't disappoint. Much of this material continued to be played live through most of the band's existence. Unfortunately, like the majority of UFO's classic catalogue, their cds are a rare find. A friend in Germany found this "recycled" copy.

No Heavy Petting UFO-No Heavy Petting (Chrysalis) 1976

1. "Natural Thing" (4:00)
2. "I'm A Loser" (3:54)
3. "Can You Roll Her" (2:56)
4. "Belladonna" (4:30)
5. "Reasons Love" (3:19)
6. "Highway Lady" (3:47)
7. "One With The Action" (5:02)
8. "A Fool in Love" (5:02)
9. "Martian Landscape" (5:08)

"No Heavy Petting" is an essential UFO album. There are lots of classic tracks, but most importantly are the tracks not included on any number of different compilation discs. For some reason this album received lukewarm reviews when it was first released despite the success of the band's two former albums. Many reviews said the album stuck to close to the formula laid down by "Force It." Whatever! The album whole album is actually a solid slab of British heavy metal. When a band finds their niche, why change it? One of the albums best tracks is "I'm a Loser" which showcases one of Schenker's best guitar solos ever. Unfortunately, not unlike the Scorpions album "Taken By Force," this disc is relatively hard to find on cd so it sells consistently on eBay for $20 and over.

Lights Out UFO-Lights Out (Chrysalis) 1977

1. "Too Hot to Handle" (3:37)
2. "Just Another Suicide" (4:58)
3. "Try Me" (4:49)
4. "Lights Out" (4:34)
5. "Gettin' Ready" (3:46)
6. "Alone Again Or" (3:00)
7. "Electric Phase" (4:17)
8. "Love to Love" (7:40)

I knew if I held out long enough I would eventually find a used copy of this disc. Found this particular copy for $7.99 at a small used cd store in Albuquerque, NM. As for the music, well, there was never a more classic UFO studio album from the classic lineup of Schenker, Way, Mogg, Parker, and Raymond than this one. UFO's Euro blues/heavy metal incorporated challenging dynamics, epic ballads, and plenty of aggression. If I am not mistaken, this was UFO's biggest release in the U.S. with the title track becoming their one and only radio staple. Perhaps it can also be said that this album may have helped spawn a new generation of heavy metal as leaders like Paul Dianno were greatly inspired by this classic. "Alone Again Or" is a Love cover

Obsession UFO-Obsession (EMI) 1978

1. "Only You Can Rock Me" (4:08)
2. "Pack It Up (And Go)" (3:14)
3. "Arbory Hill" (1:11)
4. "Ain't No Baby" (3:58)
5. "Lookin' Out for No. 1" (4:34)
6. "Hot 'N' Ready" (3:16)
7. "Cherry" (3:34)
8. "You Don't Fool Me" (3:23)
9. "Lookin' Out for No. 1 (Reprise)" (1:14)
10. "One More for the Rodeo" (3:45)
11. "Born to Lose" (3:31)

Obsession was the last UFO disc to feature Michael Schenker, who went on to form the Michael Schenker Group (MSG). Obsession is also one of the band's best discs ever. There is not a bad cut on this one. There are some experimental cuts on this disc that caused a bit of a stir when it was released, but listening now, I don't see what the big deal was. There are a few ballads, but they are all tastefully done. It all sounds like prime UFO to me. This particular copy is a German import and part of the EMI "Classic Rock Series." The booklet contains no lyrics but does have a nice commentary written by Dave Ling.

Strangers in the Night UFO-Strangers in the Night (Chrysalis) 1979

1. "Hot 'N' Ready" (7:05)
2. "Cherry" (3:34)
3. "Let It Roll" (3:58)
4. "Love to Love" (4:30)
5. "Natural Thing" (3:17)
6. "Out in the Street" (4:40)
7. "Only You Can Rock Me" (7:37)
8. "Mother Mary" (4:55)
9. "This Kids" (11:02)
10. "Doctor Doctor" (4:17)
11. "I'm a Loser" (3:49)
12. "Lights Out" (4:35)
13. "Rock Bottom" (3:45)
14. "Too Hot to Handle" (4:40)
15. "Shoot Shoot" (4:16)

Unequivocally "Strangers in the Night" is one of the greatest live albums on the 70's. It ranks up with Kiss' "Alive," Thin Lizzy's "Live and Dangerous" and Ted Nugent's "Double Live Gonzo." "Strangers in the Night" showed UFO at their peek during the band's prime lineup, which at the time included Michael Schenker. Capitol Records' 1999 CD reissue of "Strangers in the Night" contains two bonus tracks ("Hot N Ready" and "Cherry"), that are added to the beginning of the disc to make the album faithful to the band's late 70's set list. Track 1 was recorded in Youngstown, OH 10/15/78. Track 2 was recorded in Cleveland, OH 10/16/78. The rest of the set was recorded in either in 1978 at The Amphitheater, Chicago, IL and The Gardens, Louisville, IL during their tour with Blue Oyster Cult.

Mechanix UFO-The Wild The Willing and the Innocent/Mechanix (BGD) 1981/82

1. "Chains Chains" (3:24)
2. "Long Gone" (5:17)
3. "The Long, the Willing and the Innocent" (4:57)
4. "It's Killing Me" (4:29)
5. "Makin' Moves" (4:43)
6. "Lonely Heart" (5:00)
7. "Couldn't Get It Right" (4:33)
8. "Profession of Violence" (4:22)
9. "The Writer" (4:08)
10. "Somethin' Else" (3:18)
11. "Back into My Life" (4:55)
12. "You'll Get Love" (3:06)
13. "Doing It All for You" (5:00)
14. "We Belong to the Night" (3:56)
15. "Let It Rain" (4:00)
16. "Terri" (3:49)
17. "Feel It" (4:03)
18. "Dreaming" (3:53)

Two classic albums on one European import cd. Best of all, I found this cd for a mere $5.99 at a chain store. I've said this before, but you have to love these chain stores that sell total crap like Limp Bizcrap and Britney Spears for premium prices then put genuine classics like this in the bargain bins. Anyhow I was really into these guys in the early 80's despite the fact that most people were ignoring them. UFO were still churning out quality British heavy metal. Inside this re-issue there are some extensive liner notes by Kerrang writer Malcolm Dome. In his writing he suggests that "The Wild The Willing and the Innocent" is the band's finest collection of songs all together. Now I would not disagree that this is an awesome album, but I am not sure that I would agree that it beats some of the early albums with Schenker. Certainly new guitarist Paul Chapman is an excellent axeman and a capable song writer, but it's almost impossible to totally replace a personality like Schenker. Still, as I said, both of these albums are great and both come seriously close to the greatness of albums like "Force It," "Lights Out" and "Obsession."

Making Contact UFO-Making Contact (Chrysalis) 1983

1. "Blinded By A Lie" (3:48)
2. "Diesel In The Dust" (4:30)
3. "A Fool For Love" (3:57)
4. "You And Me" (3:21)
5. "When It's Time To Rock" (5:28)
6. "The Way The Wild Wind Blows" (4:14)
7. "Call My Name" (3:15)
8. "All Over You" (4:24)
9. "No Getaway" (3:32)
10. "Push It's Love " (3:17)
11. "Everbody Knows" (3:33)

Many thought this would be UFO's last album, and perhaps it might have been better if it was. (Nah!) This album is full of killer riffs and upholds the high standards the band had already set for themsleves. Paul Chapman's axework smokes and proves once again that he is every bit the guitarist that Schenker was. Picked up this Japanese import, obi strip and all, on eBay for $12. Not a bad deal considering it sells for over $20 on CDNow.

Ain't Misbehaving UFO-Ain't Misbehavin' (Enigma/Metal Blade) 1988

1. "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" (3:50)
2. "Another Saturday Night" (4:40)
3. "At War With the World" (3:04)
4. "Hunger in the Night" (4:11)
5. "Easy Money" (3:38)
6. "Rock Boyz, Rock" (3:20)
7. "Lonely Cities (of the Heart)" (4:13)

Short little disc that barely qualifies as an album. The band is now made up of only Phil Mogg on vocals and a host of professional musicians backing him up. Still this '88 release is a decent slab of hard rock/metal by a veteran vocalist who just refuses, for the time, to give up the UFO name. To tell you the truth though, I just do not see UFO as an entity outside it's members. This disc is pretty rare, but has been re-released in Europe and is available on CDNow for about $26.

BBC Radio One Live UFO-BBC Radio One Live in Concert (Griffin/Winsong) 1992

1. "Lettin' Go" (4:16)
2. "No Place to Run" (4:46)
3. "Out in the Street" (4:59)
4. "Cherry" (4:11)
5. "Only You Can Rock Me" (4:24)
6. "Love to Love" (8:33)
7. "Mystery Train" (5:38)
8. "Lights Out" (4:44)
9. "Built for Comfort" (3:50)
10. "Rock Bottom" (8:52)
11. "Doctor Doctor" (4:32)
12. "Shoot Shoot" (4:34)

I love these BBC live discs. Not only do they usually provide rare tracks that aren't found on official live albums, but they usually show the band in their unedited, raw best. There are no studio edits to fix the rim shots or dropped sticks, just 100% r-n-r. This particular UFO BBC sessions is no different. Tracks 1-8 were recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon on February 4, 1980. Tracks 9-12 were recorded June 6th 1974. The last four songs are especially cool as this was on of Schenker's early tours with UFO in support of "Force It." Of course "Rock Bottom," "Doctor Doctor," and "Shoot Shoot" are all classic tracks. The live version of "Built for Comfort" is killer with Michael Schenker giving it his all. This disc was released by Griffin/Winsong, who also released the Thin Lizzy BBC sessions. That disc went out of print years ago and sells for ridiculous amounts on money on eBay. This one is pretty easy to find right now, but give it a few years, I'm sure it will become a rarity as well. Also, do not confuse this disc with "UFO BBC Sessions," which is a completely different compilation of BBC tunes.

Essential UFO UFO-Essential UFO (Chrysalis) 1992

1. "Doctor Doctor" (4:07)
2. "Rock Bottom" (6:30)
3. "Out in the Street" (5:10)
4. "Mother Mary" (3:45)
5. "Natural Thing" (4:00)
6. "I'm a Loser" (3:48)
7. "Only You Can Rock Me" (4:05)
8. "Lookin' out for No. 1" (4:32)
9. "Cherry" (3:32)
10. "Born to Lose" (3:33)
11. "Too Hot to Handle" (3:37)
12. "Lights Out" (4:31)
13. "Love to Love" (7:36)
14. "This Kids" (4:50)
15. "Let It Roll" (4:51)
16. "Shoot Shoot" (4:05)

Essential UFO is an excellent "best of" compilation that will have to tide me over until I am able to purchase some of UFO's studio albums. I picked this disc up through BMG for $2.

High Stakes UFO-High Stakes & Dangerous Men (Razor/Griffin) 1992

1. "Borderline" (5:18)
2. "Primed for Time" (3:22)
3. "She's the One" (3:44)
4. "Ain't Life Sweet" (3:41)
5. "Don't Want to Lose You" (5:39)
6. "Burnin' Fire" (4:02)
7. "Running up the Highway" (4:39)
8. "Back Door Man" (5:07)
9. "One of Those Nights" (4:10)
10. "Revolution" (4:06)
11. "Love Deadly Love" (4:52)
12. "Let the Good Time Roll" (4:14)

UFO enters the 1990s. Exit Michael Schenker AGAIN, as well as Paul Raymond and Andy Parker. What we are left with is Phil Mogg (vocals) and Pete Way (bass). Being two of the main songwriters for the band, the music is not bad, but it doesn't have the same chemistry as any of their past discs or even "Walk On Water," a cd that surprised me when I first purchased it. What we really have is UFO on autopilot. Without Schenker's guitar assault the sound is a bit more laid back and almost adds a southern vibe, or at least that was the impression I got. Of course this could also be partially because I put this disc on only minutes after listing to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Guitarist Laurence Archer is a good guitarist with suitable chops, but it's hard to step into the shoes of a guitarist with such an unmistakable charisma. In any case, being a UFO diehard, I do like this disc, but it will never get the play time as the early classics or the more recent "Walk on Water."

Walk On Water UFO-Walk On Water (CMC International) 1995

1. "A Self Made Man" (6:26)
2. "Venus" (5:21)
3. "Pushed to the Limit" (3:51)
4. "Stopped by a Bullet (of Love)" (4:37)
5. "Darker Days" (5:38)
6. "Running on Empty" (5:12)
7. "Knock, Knock" (4:22)
8. "Dreaming of Summer" (7:04)
9. "Doctor, Doctor" (4:28)
10. "Lights Out" (5:10)

UFO are another of those bands that I never see in the used cd bins, so when I saw this copy for $5.99, I decided to give it a try, despite my weariness to buy another "reunion" cd. To my delight this cd is surprisingly good. Michael Schenker reunites with the entire classic UFO lineup including Phil Mogg, Pete Way, Paul Raymond and Andy Parker. The new material, while only eight songs, is quite aggressive, heavy, and hook laden. The reunited band recorded two of their classic songs as well, giving a 90's production to some killer 70's songs. ("Doctor Doctor," "Lights Out") Another surprise is Schenker's chops. I suppose I had placed him in the "past his prime" category long ago, but Schenker still can shred with the best of 'em. It's been over two decades since UFO formed, but they still have something to offer.

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