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  • “Seventeen and nature’s queen/You know what I mean?”. It’s not hard to see where Spinal Tap got some of their inspiration from. Especially since this song is actually called Rock Bottom. Although in my opinion, UFO were better than the genre so cruelly parodied by Tap. UFO had a lot of things going for them- a cool name, great-looking album sleeves, one of the finest heavy rock guitarists ever, plenty of street cred and an unbroken suite of 5 classic albums in the 70s. Phenomenon is the first. Doctor Doctor was – and remains – a resounding heavy metal hit, guaranteed to get heads banging and air guitars playing at any party. Other powerhouse numbers include live favourite Oh My, while Crystal Light and Space Child and Too Young To Know showed that UFO were a deft hand at slower numbers and ballads. This, remember, was the band’s first record with wunderkind Michael Schenker, fresh out of the Scorpions and heading for the stars. Whichever way you look at it, Phenomenon was a gigantic leap forward for the group in every respect. UFO went from being a tired space-rock combo into a lean, mean metal machine virtually overnight. Spearheaded by Schenker’s fiery guitar and Phil Mogg’s nimble hard rock phrasing and assured songwriting, UFO were on a roll. The runaway best cut is Rock Bottom which, as well as boasting one of the best rock choruses this side of Tuesday, comes complete with a one of the defining rock guitar solos in rock. After this album, UFO’s career rocketed skyward, culminating in the pair of masterpieces of Lights Out and Obsessions. After that, of course, it was all downhill; the 80s happened and the sound of motions being gone through echoed loudly through the kingdom. But in 1974, they were hot to trot. You can hear it here. UFO beginners should try Lights Out and then this one. You know it makes sense.

    Posted on February 26, 2010