by John Kindred
Staff Writer

UFO - THE CHRYSALIS YEARS (1973-1979)UFO is a blues-based hard rock band from the United Kingdom. The band was formed by the trio of Phil Mogg, Andy Parker and Pete Way in ’69. UFO released two studio albums, 1970’s UFO 1 and ’71’s UFO 2: Flying, prior to signing on with Chrysalis Records, which paved the way for their international success. During this time, the band’s featured guitarist was Mick Bolton from 1969 to ’72 and then Bernie Marsden, who later joined Whitesnake, briefly filled the slot in 1973.

In 1973, UFO asked the then 18-year-old Michael Schenker, from the Scorpions, to join the band after Schenker had filled in for Madsen at a headline gig in Germany. Schenker’s arrival denoted a period of six years in which UFO delivered some of its best-recorded works to the world, releasing five studio albums and one live double album from 1973 to ’79. The albums of that time period include: Phenomenon (1973), Force It (1975), No Heavy Petting (1976), Lights Out (1977) and Obsession (1978). The live album Strangers in the Night was released in 1979. The band’s core during this time comprised Mogg, Schenker, Way and Parker, with additional support from Danny Peyronel on No Heavy Petting and Paul Raymond on Obsession.

Paying tribute to UFO’s contributions to the hard rock and metal communities, Capitol/EMI Records have released the five-CD set THE CHRYSALIS YEARS (1973-1979). The five-CD collection features the 2007 re-mastered albums: Phenomenon, Force It and No Heavy Petting; the 2008 re-master of the albums Lights Out and Strangers In The Night; and the 1999 re-master of Obsession. Also included is a rare previously unreleased 45-minute concert recording from UFO’s first U.S. tour that was recorded in 1974 at Atlanta’s Electric Ballroom. Eighty-one tracks are culled from the original studio recordings (re-masters of course), including a live, unreleased concert from ’74, the band’s first-ever released singles from Chrysalis “Give Her The Gun” and “Sweet Little Thing,” BBC Radio Sessions, B-sides and rare remixes.

Eighty-one songs is a lot to digest for those who have never heard UFO, but as you listen, you will unearth some of rock’s most overlooked gems. The foundation is laid by Schenker, as the band moves from a predominantly blues-based hard rock unit to slightly experimental excursions and a heavier more metallic sound as they close out the 1970s. Most hard rock and metal fans know “Lights Out” or “Rock Bottom,” but here, they can experience instrumental songs, such as the elegant “Arbory Road” or “Lipstick Traces.” “Between the Walls” falls at the end of the song “This Kids” and is similar to the work Schenker performed with Scorpions on Lonesome Crow. “Try Me” from Lights Out features one of Schenker’s most melodic solos that he ever recorded. “Love to Love” from Lights Out is one of the greatest hard rock songs ever recorded and shows off the musical ability of the band. From the guitar, bass, drums and vocal, you can’t top what UFO deliver on this song.

Mogg is a singer who is really good at his craft. At times, he is great, and when he is, he truly shines. Pete Way set standards for performance that NWOBHM bands were soon to emulate at the end of the ’70s and into the ’80s. Andy Parker was the steady pulse that drove the ship. Schenker provided the aerial acrobatics that, when intermingled with Moggs vocals melodies, provided a magical spark of energy.

Strangers In The Night was the album from the tour that should have broken the band stateside. By 1978, tensions in the band led to Schenker leaving to rejoin the Scorpions and later forming the Michael Schenker Group, MSG. Schenker’s departure was the final nail in the coffin and stopped the band in its tracks from being the next big thing on America. Having almost reached the pinnacle of success that would have made the group a household name, the band slipped back a step or two.

The band release five more records on Chrysalis Records before moving to a new label. Between 1980 and 1992, the band worked with numerous guitarists who attempted to fill Schenker’s shoes as best they could. The band has had considerable turnover of musicians over the years, with Mogg being the constant band member. Schenker returned to UFO on 1995’s Walk on Water (Eagle Records), and he stayed with the band for two more albums on Shrapnel Records; ’00 Covenant and ’02 Sharks. He finally was replaced by guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore on 2004’s You Are Here (SPV Records) who has been with UFO since then.

Phil Mogg (vocals)
Michael Schenker (guitar)
Pete Way (bass)
Andy Parker (drums)
Danny Peyronel (vocals, keyboards on No Heavy Petting)
Paul Raymond (keyboards, guitar on Obsession)

Track Listing:

UFO - PhenomenonDISC ONE
1. Give Her The Gun (Single A-Side)
2. Sweet Little Thing (Single B-Side)
3. Oh My
4. Crystal Light
5. Doctor Doctor
6. Space Child
7. Rock Bottom
8. Too Young To Know
9. Time On My Hands
10. Built For Comfort
11. Lipstick Traces
12. Queen Of The Deep
Bonus Track
13. Doctor Doctor (Single Edit)*
Bob Harris session (28th October 1974)
14. Rock Bottom
15. Time On My Hands
16. Give Her The Gun

Electric Ballroom, Atlanta, GA 5th November 1974**
(Previously Unreleased)
1. Oh My
2. Doctor Doctor
3. Built For Comfort
4. Give Her The Gun
5. Cold Turkey
6. Space Child
7. Rock Bottom
8. Prince Kujuku
Force It (Side One)
9. Let It Roll
10. Shoot Shoot
11. High Flyer (4:09)
12. Love Lost Love (3:22)
13. Out In The Street

UFO - No Heavy PettingDISC THREE
Force It (Side Two)
1. Mother Mary
2. Too Much Of Nothing
3. Dance Your Life Away
4. This Kid’s (Including ‘Between The Walls’)
No Heavy Petting
5. Natural Thing
6. I’m A Loser
7. Can You Roll Her
8. Belladonna
9. Reasons Love
10. Highway Lady
11. On With The Action
12. A Fool In Love
13. Martian Landscape
Lights Out (Side One)
14. Too Hot To Handle
15. Just Another Suicide
16. Try Me
17. Lights Out

Lights Out (Side Two)
1. Gettin’ Ready
2. Alone Again Or
3. Electric Phase
4. Love To Love
Lights Out Bonus Track
5. Try Me (Single Remix)*
John Peel session (27th June 1977)
6. Too Hot To Handle
7. Lights Out
8. Try Me
9. Only You Can Rock Me
10. Pack It Up (And Go)
11. Arbory Hill
12. Ain’t No Baby
13. Lookin’ Out For No 1
14. Hot ‘N’ Ready
15. Cherry
16. You Don’t Fool Me
17. Lookin’ Out For No 1 (Reprise)
18. One More For The Rodeo
19. Born To Lose
Bonus Track
20. Only You Can Rock Me (Single Version)*

Strangers In The Night
1. Natural Thing
2. Out In The Street
3. Only You Can Rock Me
4. Doctor Doctor
5. Mother Mary
6. This Kid’s
7. Love To Love
8. Lights Out
9. Rock Bottom
10. Too Hot To Handle
11. I’m A Loser
12. Let It Roll
13. Shoot Shoot

UFO - Strangers in the NightStrangers In The Night Bonus Tracks
14. Doctor Doctor (Live Single Edit)
15. On With The Action (Live Single B-Side)*

*Available on CD for the first time
**Previously unreleased


Hardrock Haven rating: n/a

1 Comment on UFO | THE CHRYSALIS YEARS (1973-1979)

  1. Great review but no mention of “Doctor Doctor” which fall in the same breath as their other epics “Lights Out” and “Rock Bottom”. Looks like some good bonus material but look for the individual remasters in conjunction with Rock Candy. Each stand alone cd has pertinent bonus tracks from that era and with the improvement in sound may be an equally enticing option that the above boxset. And of course each disc comes with an extensive write up and rare photos.

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