First time I’d ever heard of this band, was an article Hit Parader did on the greatest metal songs back in 1983 or so and “Lights Out” was on that list. Because of that very reason, I took a flier on this seminal hard rock act and bought the LP and I’ve been a UFO fan ever since. This record is as good as it gets for heavy rock in the 1970’s and unfortunately almost never gets it due from mainstream music media. Produced by veteran rock vet Ron Nevison, the sound quality of ‘Lights Out’ added to the diversity of the material to make this their finest hour. UFO’s classic lineup of Schenker, Mogg, Way, Parker and Raymond was as self-destructive and combustible as their collaboration was breathtaking. I’m fully convinced that their chemistry kept them from serious US success due to the lack of constant touring because of the volitile nature of the Schenker/Mogg relationship. “Too Hot to Handle”, the title track and “Love to Love” should be on the playlist of any self-respecting classic rock station. Michael’s playing is simply awesome and the group’s Zepplinesque use of light and shade on “Love” particularly make the song one of rock’s true epics. The slash and burn nature of “Lights Out” seem to fit the band’s personality perfectly as Raymond’s organ creates a foundation for the heavy riffing of Schenker, a suitable continuation of the work he did in “Rock Bottom”. Phil Mogg creates another saga of the mean streets as “Too Hot” blows out of the speakers to kick off another in a string of Schenker UFO classics. This October 1977 release also featured such moody pieces as “Gettin’ Ready”, “Just Another Suicide”, “Electric Phase (great riffing on this one too)” and the prettiest of ballads in “Try Me”, that is until Michael unleashes his Flying V for the outro. One more classic to go before Schenker couldn’t take it anymore, but “misty green and blue” are just some of the beautiful templates that this band created in the mid to late 1970’s.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Without a doubt, Lights Out is one of the best rock albums to emerge from the fabulous ’70s. Every song here is a “10+”. No other band managed the beautiful use of background strings on rock songs like these legends did back in 1977. The formula was repeated in 1978 with Obsession, and then again in 1981 with the highly underrated The Wild, The Willing and The Innocent.
The fabulous UFO chemistry was at its best when they recorded this one. No need for commercial airwave success to recognize how awesome this band sounded. Arguably, this is one of the top 3 hard rock albums stemming out from real rock’s most prolific era.
The cherry on the cake: The remastered sound of this edition is excellent (Note: other low quality remastered versions such as the double CDs issued by BMG are to be avoided).
This is an absolute MUST HAVE.
UFO continues to be one of the best bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal from the late 70’s early 80’s. Everything they have ever put out deserves a listen. But Lights Out is the album that started it all. Song for song one of their strongest albums. This has a song for everybody, from the rip roaring guitars of Too Hot to Handle to the tear jerker ballad Try Me to the power ballad Love to Love. And the title track Lights Out is their signature song. Every collection should include this album.
This is all record is UFO at their peak. UFO was a band that sadly got swept aside in the ’80’s, when peers like Scorpions and Judas Priest were getting their kudos for influencing the the NWOBHM. Look around though, and you can hear UFO in both Maiden and Leppard. Meanwhile, Phil Mogg had only one rival as a lyricist working in the hard work milieu – Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, (whose shortfall on the ladder of success is a injustice even greater than that of UFO.) Mogg had a much more mature approach to his writing – examine his take of the burgeoning punk scene and its excesses in the East End of London on “Lights Out”, or the mental approach of “Gettin’ Ready”. These were no dragons and kings flights of fancy, a la Ronnie James Dio. There was gritty realistic look at everyday life in Mogg’s lyrics. Meanwhile, Michael Schenker was simply the best guiatrist on the hard rock scene pre-VH. Lights Out is a great starter album for anyone looking to dip their toes in the UFO pool.
According to the liner notes, UFO was in its death throes as a band when they recorded “Lights Out” in 1977, and that all the angst the band felt contributed to the unusual power of this CD. I’m not sure I buy that reasoning, but there is no question this band had power, and that this CD was their masterpiece. With German guitar master Michael Schenker at full stride and under the guidance of legendary producer Ron Nevison, this is a must-buy for any fan of ’70s British heavy metal. It starts off with “Too Hot to Handle”, a minor radio hit and a pure exercise in guitar power and ends with the beautiful “Love to Love” (Misty Green and Blue), another minor radio hit (“minor” hits were all this band could muster up, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing) and featuring a string section in addition to the guitars. Other good tracks are the title track, “Getting Ready” and the ballad “Try Me” (yes, every album had to have a ballad in those days). Personal differences and, supposedly, extreme hedonism, tore this band apart after “Lights Out” but Schenker has reappeared with his own band (saw them in concert last year, and they looked good) and the music plays on. If you like Deep Purple, you should like UFO.