This heavy metal group was formed in August 1969 by
Mick Bolton, Phil Mogg, Andy Parker and Pete Way and originally named Hocus
Pocus. Within 3 months they
re-named themselves UFO, which was the name of the club in London where they
were discovered and subsequently signed to Beacon Records by Noel Moore.
They released their debut UFO 1 in 1970, which
produced “C’Mon Everybody”, which became a hit in Japan and “Boogie for
George” which charted in Germany.
Their next album, UFO 2: Flying included the track “Prince
Kajuku” which would be a further chart hit in Germany.
Although they had gained popularity in Germany and
Japan, the UK and US didn’t give them much attention. To this end, their third album, Live,
was released solely in Japan in 1972.
That same year, Mick Bolton decided to leave the group and so they
took on Larry Wallis to replace him.
He lasted around 8 months and then was replaced by Bernie Marsden
who made a demo recording with them and performed on a European tour. In June 1973 they managed to get
Michael Schenker, who was at that time the guitarist for The Scorpions, to
come on board.
This proved to be a turning point for them and after
getting a deal with Chrysalis Records they released their Phenomenon
in 1974. It became an instant
album success with tracks that included “Rock Bottom” and “Doctor
Doctor”. The subsequent tour
also had the guitarist Paul Chapman who had been with Skid Row performing
with them, but he left before long to found the band Lone Star.
Chick Churchill, who had been the keyboard player for
Ten Years After joined them to perform on their release of Force It
in 1975 and Danny Peyronel from the Heavy Metal Kids also came on board as
a member in August of that year but only managed to stay a year before
going off to put together The Blue Max.
A year later, in 1976, out came No Heavy Petting
and finally they were getting some notice in the UK and US. Later that same year they took
Savoy Brown’s guitarist Paul Raymond on to perform on their next album;
1977’s critically acclaimed Lights Out.
Never ceasing to tour and record they put together Obsession
for release in 1978 and then toured the United States. During the tour the working
relationship between Michael Schenker and Phil Mogg became tense and
Schenker’s alcohol habit was becoming a problem. Michael completed the final show and then went back to
the Scorpions before starting his Michael Schenker Group.
A successful live recording, Strangers in the
Night, went out in January 1979 on the back of that tour and ultimately
found them sitting on the UK album chart in the #7 spot the following
month. Not long after this
they took Paul Chapman back into the fold to replace Michael Schenker.
High on their recent chart success with Stranger in
the Night, they hired George Martin of Beatles fame to produce their
1980 No Place to Run.
This sadly couldn’t emulate the previous album though. After the album tour Paul Raymond
left and Uriah Heep’s John Sloman briefly came in to take his place before
being replaced by Wild Horses’ Neil Carter.
1981 and they made it to the Top 20 with their
single “Lonely Heart” which came from their album The Wild, The Willing
and The Innocent, which they produced themselves. The following year their “Back Into
My Life” from Mechanix scratched the American chart. It wasn’t too long after that when
Pete Way decided to go off and put together Fastway and the next UFO album Making
Contact didn’t do anything of great import.
UFO decided to call it a day in 1983 and
performed the obligatory farewell tour but before too long a compilation
album was issued and rumours circulated about a possible reunion. Right enough, a re-jigged line-up
of UFO put out Misdemeanor and then the 1988 Ain’t Misbehavin’
EP. There wasn’t enough
interest to make the renewed version of UFO viable so they went their
separate ways yet again.
Since then there have been several re-unions with
revised line-ups and quite a few album releases. There was even a tour with the original line-up and once
again Michael Schenker left, but this time if was halfway
Through thick and thin, UFO are still going today and
in 2009 they released their 20th studio album, The Visitor
and a 6-CD box set.
Band members past and present:
Laurence Archer (guitar)
Mick Bolton (guitar)
Jason Bonham (drums)
Neil Carter (guitar and keyboards)
Paul Chapman (guitar)
Aynsley Dunbar (drums)
Clive Edwards (drums)
Robbie France (drums)
Paul Gray (bass)
Bernie Marsden (guitar)
Tommy McClendon (guitar)
Phil Mogg (vocals)
Vinnie Moore (guitar)
Andy Parker (drums)
Danny Peyronel (keyboards)
Paul Raymond (guitar and keyboards)
Michael Schenker (guitar)
Billy Sheehan (bass)
Larry Wallis (guitar)
Pete Way (bass)
Simon Wright (drums)