Today in Music History:
In 1977 Suzi Quatro is cast on ABC-TV's 'Happy Days' as rocker Leather Tuscadero.Well this is the second time I've written this post. After spending three hours writing it, Blogger ate my post and royally pissed me off. I couldn't resist using that title for today's post.
Vocalist Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton, bassist Pete Way, and drummer Andy Parker formed the British space metal outfit UFO in 1969. Originally known as Hocus Pocus, the group took the name UFO in honor of a London club. The group went largely unnoticed until 1974 when former Scorpion guitar monger Michael Schenker joined the band. 1974 through 1979 were the golden years for UFO. Culmiinating in 1979 when they released Strangers in the Night, possibly the best live album ever recorded. In fact it is said that no sooner than the master tapes had reached the studio, Schenker had quit the band and refused to cooperate with any re dubs for the live album. If this is true, then this album is truly the Rosetta Stone of live hard rock lead guitar. Arguably the best lead guitarist of this rock genre, Schenker doesn't miss out when the tempo slows either. Listen to his lead break during "let It Roll" when he applies the brakes and displays great reverence for the slower material. This album was recorde while UFO was on tour with Blue Oyster Cult and quite simply, this is the best live rock performance you will ever listen to. A band at it's peak performance and extremely tight and in perfect synch. Every band member stands out in his own right, with a special emphasis on Schenker's guitar work, propelling his reputation as the mad axeman of his era.
Unfortunately UFO never recovered from losing Schenker and sank into obscurity. Although the group has largely been forgotten in North America, their mark has been left on bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Def Leppard, and Smashing Pumpkins. Schenker himself bopped around to different bands and rejoined UFO several times. Reading up on this band you need an abacus and a day pass for the merry go round as I counted 32 personnel changes from the beginning in 1969 to 2006. That probably hasn't helped matters. Most rock purists agree that Strangers has been the best live album ever recorded and if you haven't heard any cuts than I can help out. Then do yourself a favor and go get a copy of this underappreciated album. No self respecting rocker would be without a copy.