UFO (band)

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UFO - Hamburger Harley Days 2015 04.jpg
UFO at the Hamburg Harley Days 2015
Background information
OriginLondon, England
Years active
  • 1968–1983
  • 1984–1989
  • 1991–present
Associated acts
Website www.ufo-music.info OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Members Phil Mogg
Andy Parker
Neil Carter
Vinnie Moore
Rob De Luca
Past members Michael Schenker
Pete Way
Paul Raymond
Paul Chapman
Danny Peyronel
Larry Wallis
Bernie Marsden
Aynsley Dunbar
Mick Bolton

UFO are an English rock band that was formed in London in 1968. [3] [4] They became a transitional group between early hard rock and heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal. The band's current lineup includes vocalist Phil Mogg, lead guitarist Vinnie Moore, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Neil Carter, bass guitarist Rob De Luca, and drummer Andy Parker. They have gone through several line-up changes, leaving Mogg as the only constant member, and had two hiatuses (1983–1984 and again from 1989 to 1991). The band are also notable for featuring former Scorpions guitarist and MSG founder Michael Schenker, who was a member of UFO from 1973 to 1978 and again, occasionally, between 1993 and 2003, when Moore replaced him. In May 2018, Mogg announced that he would retire from UFO after one last tour as a member of the band in 2019; [4] [5] however, the band plans to resume their farewell tour in 2022. [6]


Over a career spanning 53 years, UFO have released 22 studio albums, 14 live recordings, 16 compilation albums and one album of cover songs. They achieved moderate success in the late 1970s and early 1980s with several albums and singles (including their 1979 live album Strangers in the Night ) in the UK and US Top 40 charts, [7] [8] and have sold over 20 million records worldwide. [9] Some of their best-known songs include "Doctor Doctor", "Rock Bottom", "Natural Thing", "Lights Out", "Too Hot to Handle" and "Only You Can Rock Me". [5] UFO are considered one of the greatest classic hard rock acts, [10] and often cited as one of the key influences on the 1980s and 1990s hard rock and heavy metal scenes. [5] The band were ranked number 84 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock". [11]


Beginning (1968–1972)

Lead singer Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton, bassist Pete Way and drummer Andy Parker formed the band in 1968. [3] Having originally called themselves Hocus Pocus, the group changed their name in October 1969 to UFO, [12] in honour of the London club where they were spotted by Noel Moore, who signed them to the Beacon Records label, headed by Antiguan-born Milton Samuel. Their first album, UFO 1 , released in 1970, is a typical example of early hard rock; it includes a heavy version of the Eddie Cochran classic "C'mon Everybody". Neither their first nor their second album, UFO 2: Flying , [13] was successful, but the song "Boogie For George" from the first album reached No. 30 on the German singles chart, and "Prince Kajuku" from Flying reached No. 26. At this time UFO attracted little interest in Britain and America. [12] Some of their early work was strongly influenced by space rock (their second album, featuring a 26-minute title track and a 19-minute-long track "Star Storm", was subtitled One Hour Space Rock) that was modestly popular at the time, but the band soon realised the style was somewhat limited. Mick Bolton left the group in January 1972, and UFO set out to find a guitarist who could provide the band with a more standard rock sound.

International success (1973–1978)

After brief trial runs with Larry Wallis (February – October 1972) and Bernie Marsden (who toured with UFO in Europe and recorded a pair of demos, "Oh My" and "Sixteen") the band recruited Michael Schenker from the Scorpions in June 1973. [12] Schenker was only 18 at the time but was already a well-respected guitarist. On a new label, Chrysalis Records, the revamped UFO recorded a non-LP single in 1973, "Give Her the Gun" and "Sweet Little Thing" with producer Derek Lawrence. In 1974, under producer Leo Lyons (formerly of Ten Years After), UFO recorded Phenomenon , which highlighted the band's harder-edged guitar sound. [12] Phenomenon contains many fan favourites such as "Doctor Doctor" (later a minor hit single as a live track) and "Rock Bottom" (which was extended live to provide a showcase for Schenker). [12] By the time of the Phenomenon tour, ex-Skid Row guitarist Paul "Tonka" Chapman joined the group, but he left in January 1975 to form Lone Star.

Two subsequent albums, Force It (July 1975) and No Heavy Petting (May 1976; recorded with ex-Heavy Metal Kids' Danny Peyronel, who served as a regular keyboardist as well as harmony vocalist and songwriter), [12] and extensive touring brought UFO increased visibility with American audiences and increased their following in the UK. The song "Belladonna" from No Heavy Petting was very popular in the USSR, owing to a cover version by Alexander Barykin.

In July 1976, the band recruited keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond from Savoy Brown to make 1977's Lights Out . [12] This album, the pinnacle of UFO's studio career, includes among others the songs "Too Hot to Handle", "Lights Out", and the seven-minute opus "Love to Love". With Lights Out, the band received substantial critical acclaim, [12] and the album saw the band playing at arenas and theaters across the United States and Europe, opening for bands like Rush and AC/DC. [14] [15] With their new-found success, the band went back into the studio to record their next album Obsession (1978). While Obsession was not as successful as Lights Out, the band still maintained their arena status while touring for the album, playing with AC/DC and Rush again, [14] [16] and other bands like Blue Öyster Cult, Styx, Foghat, Jethro Tull, REO Speedwagon and Molly Hatchet; [17] [18] as part of the Obsession tour, UFO recorded the live album, Strangers in the Night , which was released in January 1979. [12] Strangers was a critical and commercial success, reaching Number 7 in the UK Albums Chart in February 1979, [12] and a tour to support the live album followed, playing with bands like AC/DC, Kiss, Cheap Trick, Journey, Thin Lizzy, Nazareth and Judas Priest, [17] [19] and appearing at the California World Music Festival with Aerosmith, Van Halen, Toto and April Wine. [20]

Post-Schenker era and hiatuses (1978–1990)

Tensions began to grow between Mogg and Schenker in the late 1970s, possibly from Schenker often leaving before or during shows. Soon after UFO's show in Palo Alto, California, on 29 October 1978, Schenker left the band. [12] He made a brief return to the Scorpions before going on to form his own Michael Schenker Group. [21]

After Schenker's exit, UFO rehired Paul Chapman on guitar, [12] who brought over unused track ideas from Lone Star's drummer Dixie Lee. Shortly afterward they released their next LP, No Place to Run , in January 1980. Produced by former Beatles producer George Martin, No Place To Run failed to match up to the success of its predecessors, [12] though it fractionally missed the UK Top 10. Paul Raymond left the band at the end of the No Place To Run tour, and was replaced by John Sloman from Uriah Heep on keyboards for a couple of months and then by former Wild Horses guitarist and keyboardist Neil Carter, who helped fill the void in the songwriting left by Schenker's departure. [12] Carter debuted with UFO on stage at the three-day Reading Festival on 23 August 1980, when the band played as the Saturday night headline act. [22] At the beginning of the following year, UFO released the self-produced The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent , which had a lighter pop rock sound, which was popular at the time. The album achieved mild success in the UK, reaching the UK Top 20, and the single "Lonely Heart" was released.

In February 1982, the band released Mechanix . It was successful in the UK, where it reached No. 8, the band's highest ever placing. Later that year, founding member Pete Way left the band to form Fastway with Motörhead guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke and then his own band, Waysted. He was replaced by Talas bassist Billy Sheehan. UFO released Making Contact in 1983, but the album was a critical and commercial failure. [12] Thus, that March, UFO decided to disband. [23] The band played a UK farewell tour with Paul Gray (former bassist with Eddie and the Hot Rods and the Damned). However, there was a hint that this might not be permanent when UFO released a compilation album featuring songs by UFO (as well as other groups featuring ex-members of UFO) entitled Headstone, the sleeve of which showed a headstone, denoting UFO with their formation date but an incomplete end date.

This proved to be a short hiatus; just short of two years later, in late 1984, Mogg assembled a new UFO line-up, featuring Paul Gray on bass again, ex-Diamond Head drummer Robbie France (replaced in 1985 by former Magnum drummer Jim Simpson), and Atomik Tommy M (Tommy McClendon), a former roadie who also wrote lyrics for Loudness, on guitar, with Paul Raymond rejoining shortly afterward, [24] and released Misdemeanor . Raymond left again in 1986 and was replaced by David Jacobson, who along with Gray would leave in 1987, and Pete Way rejoined on bass. Before Gray's departure, the band recorded the EP Ain't Misbehavin which was released in 1988. Despite the renewed activity of the band, neither release was financially successful and they officially disbanded again in 1989 after a string of guitarists replacing McClendon: Myke Gray of Jagged Edge in late 1987, [25] former Starfighters guitarist Rik Sandford and Tony Glidewell in 1988, and finally in 1989 future Cold Sweat guitarist Erik Gamans. [26]

Reunion(s) (1991–2003)

In 1991, Mogg and Way decided to put a new UFO line-up together with former Wild Horses members Clive Edwards on drums and Laurence Archer on guitar joining the band and released High Stakes & Dangerous Men . While only released on a small independent label, High Stakes was enough to generate serious interest in a full-blown reunion. The following year, the classic late-1970s UFO line-up – Mogg, Schenker, Way, Raymond and Parker – reunited, and the resulting album was Walk on Water (1995). This line-up (barring Parker's replacement by AC/DC's Simon Wright on drums) went on a world tour. However, tensions arose again, and Schenker left the band only four shows into the tour, walking off stage mid-set in the very same city, of Palo Alto, CA, where their October 1978 tour died. Thereafter, the other members again went their separate ways. [ citation needed ] However, Schenker returned to the fold in 1998 and the band embarked on another tour, with Parker again replaced by a new drummer. They played at the Astoria, Charing Cross Road, London in 1998.

Phil Mogg and Pete Way continued working together throughout this fluctuating band membership, releasing two albums under the Mogg/Way name in the late 1990s, Edge of the World and Chocolate Box.

In 2000, Schenker rejoined UFO again and the band released the double CD Covenant (with Aynsley Dunbar on drums), which contained a disc of new material and a disc of live classics. In 2002, the band recorded Sharks ; shortly after Sharks was released, Schenker left the band yet again and was replaced with Vinnie Moore. [27] and the official announcement was made in July 2003. [28] In 2003, Michael Schenker and Pete Way released The Plot with drummer Jeff Martin.

Vinnie Moore-era and return to chart success (2004–2017)

In 2004, UFO released their 17th studio album You Are Here with their new permanent guitarist Vinnie Moore and Jason Bonham on drums (intermittently). UFO recorded their live set and released a double-DVD recording titled Showtime (2005) along with a double live CD on SPV in November 2005, mixing a number of re-recorded studio songs. In November 2005, Andy Parker returned to the band to play in the Piorno Rock Festival in Granada, Spain. UFO's eighteenth studio album, titled The Monkey Puzzle , was released in 2006.

Andy Parker returned in early 2007, after recovering from leg surgery. On the 2008 tour, Pete Way was unable to get a work visa to enter the United States, Rob De Luca (Sebastian Bach's band, Of Earth, Spread Eagle) filling in. [29]

UFO released their 19th studio album, The Visitor , in June 2009, [30] and followed with a tour of the UK, but without Pete Way, who was suffering from a medical condition. [31] Bass tracks on The Visitor were played by Peter Pichl, and Pete Way was not credited as a band member on The Visitor cover, nor was any other bassist. However, the album saw UFO's return to the UK Albums Chart for the first time in almost 15 years.

In July 2009, UFO released a six-CD live concert box set, containing recordings of six concerts between 1975 and 1982, as well as previously unreleased live songs.

On their 2011 tour, they were accompanied by Barry Sparks playing bass.

By December 2010, UFO had been working on a twentieth studio album, which was supposed to be released in June 2011. [32] Titled Seven Deadly , [33] was released on 27 February 2012, with Lars Lehmann on bass, to almost universally good reviews and a higher chart position than The Visitor also charting in Germany, Sweden, and the Billboard indie charts. [34]

In 2011, former band members Danny Peyronel, Laurence Archer, and Clive Edwards teamed up with bassist Rocky Newton (ex-McAuley Schenker Group) to form a band entitled X-UFO. In live performances, X-UFO played sets of vintage UFO songs, later renamed House Of X to perform their own material. Their eponymous album was released on 24 October 2014.

In 2013, Paul Raymond revealed that a new UFO album was in the works, but there was "no detailed talk of that yet." [35] The album, titled A Conspiracy of Stars , was released on 23 February 2015. [36]

On 10 September 2016, guitarist Vinnie Moore announced on Facebook that UFO were in the studio recording a covers album. [37] The album, titled The Salentino Cuts, was released on 29 September 2017. [38]

50th anniversary tour and retirement (2018–present)

In May 2018, vocalist Phil Mogg announced that UFO's 50th anniversary tour in 2019 would be his last one as the frontman of the band, who may also either split up or move on with a replacement for him. Mogg explained, "This decision has been a long time coming. I've considered stepping down at the end of UFO's previous two tours. I don't want to call this a farewell tour as I hate that word, but next year's gigs will represent my final tap-dancing appearances with the band." He added that "the timing feels right" for him to quit, and that "there will be a final tour of the U.K. and we will also play some shows in selected other cities that the band has a strong connection with. But outside of the U.K. this won't be a long tour." [4] Despite earlier reports that Mogg had intended to leave the band in 2019, he is still a member of UFO as of June 2021, and the band will resume their touring activities in the summer and fall of 2022, which had been pushed back from a year earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [6] UFO's last-ever show will take place on October 29, 2022 in Athens, Greece, where the band performed first its show with current guitarist Vinnie Moore eighteen years earlier. [39]

UFO at Cambridge, 22 March 2019. Last Orders Tour. UFO Cambridge 22-3-19.jpg
UFO at Cambridge, 22 March 2019. Last Orders Tour.

Longtime keyboardist and guitarist Paul Raymond died from a heart attack on 13 April 2019 at the age of 73. [40] Two weeks later, it was announced that Raymond's initial replacement Neil Carter would be rejoining UFO for the remainder of the band's final tour. [41] Former guitarist Paul Chapman died on his 66th birthday on 9 June 2020. [42] Chapman was followed two months later by original bassist Pete Way, who died from accident injuries at the age of 69, [43] leaving Mogg and drummer Andy Parker as the only two surviving members of the No Place to Run lineup.


UFO have influenced a number of bands, such as: [5] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50]

Band members

Current members


Related Research Articles

<i>No Heavy Petting</i> 1976 studio album by UFO

No Heavy Petting is the fifth studio album by the British rock band UFO, released in 1976. It is the first UFO album to feature a full-time keyboard player as a member of the band, making this their first record as a five-piece band. While keyboardist Danny Peyronel only stayed in the band for this one album, he did co-write several tracks on the record.

<i>Strangers in the Night</i> (UFO album) 1979 live album by UFO

Strangers in the Night is a live album by British hard rock band UFO, first released in 1979 on the Chrysalis label.

<i>Phenomenon</i> (UFO album) 1974 studio album by UFO

Phenomenon is the third studio album by the British rock band UFO, released in May 1974. It is the band's first release to feature lead guitarist Michael Schenker, who replaced Mick Bolton.

<i>You Are Here</i> (UFO album) 2004 studio album by UFO

You Are Here is the seventeenth studio album by the British hard rock band UFO, released in 2004 through the German label SPV/Steamhammer. This is the first album to feature new band members Vinnie Moore and Jason Bonham, who replaced long-time guitarist Michael Schenker and drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

<i>Walk on Water</i> (UFO album) 1995 studio album by UFO

Walk on Water is the fourteenth album from the British hard rock band UFO, marking the return of German guitarist Michael Schenker to the band, as well as the returns of keyboardist Paul Raymond and founding drummer Andy Parker. The album did not chart. It was recorded at Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, California. It was released first and only in Japan on 14 April 1995 with 11 tracks and in 1997 in other countries with only 10 tracks. It has since been re-released on numerous occasions, with a variety of covers.

Phil Mogg English rock singer

Phillip John Mogg is the lead singer for the English rock band UFO, which he formed with longtime friends Pete Way and Andy Parker.

<i>The Monkey Puzzle</i> (UFO album) 2006 studio album by UFO

The Monkey Puzzle is the eighteenth studio album by the British hard rock band UFO. It was released on 25 September 2006 in Europe and a day later in the United States. It also marks the return of founding drummer Andy Parker to the band and the last to feature founding bassist Pete Way.

Pete Way English musician

Peter Frederick Way was an English hard rock and heavy metal bass player. He was bassist for the band UFO from 1968 to 1982; Way rejoined the band briefly in 1988–1989, and full-time from 1991 to 2008. He was also a founding member of Waysted and Fastway and notably played with Michael Schenker Group and Ozzy Osbourne.

Andy Parker (musician) British rock drummer (born 1952)

Andrew Maynard Parker is a British rock drummer best known as the founding member and drummer of the Hard rock/Heavy metal band, UFO.

The Plot was a heavy rock band formed in 2003 by bassist Pete Way and his long-time friend, guitarist Michael Schenker. The two wanted to form a band like UFO again and asked Phil Mogg and Andy Parker to regroup with them, but tension was still fiery between the ex-bandmates, although Way, Schenker and Mogg had been involved in recording as UFO for the album Sharks in 2002. So instead, Way and Schenker recruited drummer Jeff Martin. This band released one album, also entitled The Plot.

Barry Sparks is the former bass player of Yngwie Malmsteen, the Michael Schenker Group, UFO, Dokken, and Ted Nugent, amongst others. Currently Sparks is part of the touring band for the Japanese rock group B'z, and has also contributed to several of their albums and singles.

<i>Live on Earth</i> (UFO album) 2003 live album by UFO

Live on Earth is a live recording of the band UFO. It was recorded in Vienna, Austria in 1998 and features four-fifths of the reformed, classic line up of the band from the late 1970s with Simon Wright replacing Andy Parker on drums who had decided to run his family business rather than tour.

Paul Raymond (musician) Musical artist

Paul Martin Raymond was an English keyboardist/guitarist, best known for playing in UFO and Michael Schenker Group.

<i>The Visitor</i> (UFO album) 2009 studio album by UFO

The Visitor is the nineteenth studio album by the British hard rock band UFO, which was released on 2 June 2009. It was their first album in three years since the release of The Monkey Puzzle in 2006. Bass parts were recorded by Peter Pichl. Since there are no writing credits on the album booklet, they were posted on UFO's official website.

Doctor Doctor (UFO song) 1979 single by UFO

"Doctor Doctor" is a song by the British hard rock band UFO, written by the band's guitarist Michael Schenker and original singer Phil Mogg. It was released as a single from the album Phenomenon in 1974, but it did not enter the UK Singles Chart. The song peaked in Australia at number 97, becoming the group's only charting single in that territory.

Jeffrey "Jeff" Kollman is an American guitar player from Toledo, Ohio, best known for his work with Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats, Glenn Hughes, UFO offshoot Mogg/Way, progressive rock trio, Cosmosquad, and his 90s progressive metal band, Edwin Dare.

<i>The Salentino Cuts</i> 2017 studio album of cover songs by UFO

The Salentino Cuts is the 22nd studio album by British rock band UFO. The album was released on Cleopatra Records on 29 September 2017. It was the final studio release by the band prior to the 2019 death of guitarist/keyboardist Paul Raymond.


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