UFO was founded by Phil Mogg, who has functioned as the lead singer, primary song writer, and sole consistent member of the band. Like other legacy bands that would not yield to time Mogg has kept the dream alive despite numerous line of changes and two two-year hiatuses. To date UFO has released twenty-two studio albums, that is a serious commitment by Mogg and worthy of respect, I have listened to several, but nowhere near all of them.
My introduction to UFO had a winding path to it, which starts with the Scorpions.
Everyone knows who Rudolf Schenker is; at least everyone should know who Rudolf Schenker is. He is guitarist and founding member of the Scorpions along with lead singer Klaus Meine. Not everyone is as familiar with Rudolf’s younger brother Michael.
Michael Schenker worked with his big brother on the first two Scorpions’ albums “Lonesome Crow” (1972) and “Fly to the Rainbow” (1974), but after that he wished to branch out, concerned he would end up living in his brother’s shadow. Rudolf, being a great guy, at least from what I know of him, was very supportive of Michael going his own way. Michael would return to the Scorpions briefly in 1979 to work on the album “Lovedrive” this is one of the few Scorpion albums I do not know very much about, so I will have to look into that soon, as I am surprised to learn Michael returned at all.
Michael Schenker’s first stop after leaving the Scorpions was to join up with UFO. It is these albums that include Michael that I am most familiar with. It is these albums that UFO is most famous for. In total Micheal Schenker was involved in eight UFO albums over the course of two tenures, the first five, the ones I know, from 1974 to 1978, and three later from 1995 to 2002, I am not familiar with those.
After his first stint with UFO Michael would end up working on his quasi solo band Michael Schenker Group (MSG), however his work with UFO is what he is best known for.
There is something of a cult following for Michael. His popularity has maintained itself over time, but like most people, I really only know him for those early UFO albums, and a little bit because of those early Scorpions albums. I often feel bad typing out something like that, like I should know better, but there is a reason why most of us only know that part of his work, that reason is that it is really good. I feel even worse going on about Michael when Phil Mogg is the true leader of UFO and probably deserves more attention and praise.
“Obsession” would be the last album Michael worked on with UFO, before his temporary later return, and in recent listens it has been the one I have given the most attention. As stated “Only You Can Rock Me” is my favorite UFO song, and it being the first track on this album, makes “Obsession” a good candidate for my favorite UFO album.
There is an interesting game of steps of separation that exists in classic rock that can lead us to somewhat forgotten gems. The Scorpions are huge and likely to be remembered forever, and with that guitarist Rudolf Schenker will be immortalized, but his brother, less successfully but similar to talent, will the advantage of being remembered by association and then for his great work. UFO, a band clearly worthy of compliment gets recalled because of Michael, and Phil Mogg gets noticed as the workforce singer and song writer he is. That is how this discovery happened to me, and it only encourages me to dig deeper.
I am filled with questions, like what was UFO like before and after Michael Schenker? How good is MSG? And hey, Graham Bonnet was the lead singer on the album “Assault Attack” and I just a review explaining how his band Alcatrazz was a primarily forgotten classis. Another degree of separation with a similar story.
Writing reviews like this are challenging, because there is some much I am still discovering, but it is also a major source of enjoyment in my live. UFO, five good albums that I know, “Only You Can Rock Me” is really great, I could have just said that for now, but I cannot because there is so much more to take in, and I look forward to it.
Oh, and by the way, “Only You Can Rock Me” is really good. So, good I am willing to ramble on about a band I do not know very much about, just to share with the world how good of a song it is. Phil Mogg sings not only well but at a pace where he nearly overlaps himself, and I do not know if a recording trick is being used or not, because that live version I am so deeply familiar with he creates the same affect. Michael has a great, but short solo, and all in all it is a quick punchy song. A straight forward, high quality rock song, exactly the sort of thing I love.
Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.
- King of Braves