UFO’s 1978 album ‘Obsession’ couldn’t follow ‘Lights Out’ as high up into the album charts, only reaching #41 compared to #23 from the previous year, still, the band were doing marvellously well on the touring front, dominating the 1978 summer tours throughout the USA.
Written by: gdmonline
SERIAL: CHR 1182
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Phil Mogg – vocals * Michael Schenker – guitars * Pete Way – bass * Andy Parker – drums * Paul Raymond – keyboards, rhythm guitar
Additional Musicians: Alan McMillan – horn arrangements, string arrangements
TRACK LISTING: 01 Only You Can Rock Me * 02 Pack It Up (And Go) * 03 Arbory Hill * 04 Ain’t No Baby * 05 Lookin’ Out For No 1 * 06 Hot n Ready * 07 Cherry * 08 You Don’t Fool Me * 09 Lookin’ Out For No 1 Reprise * 10 One More For The Rodeo * 11 Born To Lose
WEBLINKS: Site Link
After a tumultuous year with troubled guitarist Michael Schenker in and out of the band, things appeared more settled leading into the release of ‘Obsession’. Recorded during the latter part of 1977 and into 1978, Schenker had returned to the band after his well publicized non-appearance prior to the USA leg of the 1977 ‘Lights Out’ tour. Though Paul ‘Tonka’ Chapman filled in, Schenker reappeared toward the end of the tour, and made it back into the studio for this album.
I think Phil Mogg and the rest of the team must have known by now that the enigmatic German (rumoured to have been dabbling in the Moonies religion), despite his eccentricities, was still the key ingredient in the UFO recipe, and made concessions for his behaviour just to get him onside for the recording of ‘Obsession’ and the tour that would follow.
This was big business you know! UFO relocated to Los Angeles to record the album, which was released in June 1978. ‘Obsession’ contained eleven tracks and another bizarro album jacket from the Hipgnosis people.
We get underway with the UFO staple ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, a bluesy ripper which fits the bill as an anthem for the fans. Andy Parker drives the backbeat hard for ‘Pack It Up (And Go)’ making this one sound like Led Zeppelin in spirit, but Schenker’s guitar keeps us from forgetting who the star of the show is, giving us some wicked six-string licks.
Schenker provided the brief acoustic led ‘Arbory Hill’, with its quaint instrumentation dressed in celtic/folk style, Schenker himself playing the flute. ‘Ain’t No Baby’ is another track with heavy Zep-like drum work. It’s a slow grinder but the chorus is very melodic and bright, and the guitar solo could shoot out the lights such is its precision.
Orchestration provides the backing for ‘Looking Out For No 1’, played in the same style as ELO‘s heavier and more symphonic moments. Normal transmission is resumed for ‘Hot N Ready’, a boogie oriented tune which packs a punch. ‘Cherry’, which ended up being the B-side to the album’s single (‘Only You Can Rock Me’ being the A side) has definite commercial leanings, more so than the rest of the material here.
‘You Don’t Fool Me’ could be the template that future rocker/star Billy Squier would take, with the bluesy but polished riffs and brash drum work. There’s a dose of foot-stomping going in with ‘One More For The Rodeo’, though this ain’t no cowpoke song. UFO sign off in subdued fashion with the pretty orchestrated rock of ‘Born To Lose’, complete with strings and glimmering guitar work.
‘Obsession’ couldn’t follow ‘Lights Out’ as high up into the album charts, only reaching #41 compared to #23 from the previous year. Still, the band were doing marvellously well on the touring front, dominating the 1978 summer tours throughout the USA. It was during this period that the material for the double live album ‘Strangers In The Night’ was recorded, with Ron Nevison undertaking a lot of the engineering work.
The songs on SITN sound amazing, so one can only imagine how tight UFO were during this timeframe. At the end of touring commitments however, Schenker formally announced his departure from the band, which would leave a huge hole in the fortunes of the band from this point on.
However, he was still heard well into the 1979 year with the aforementioned ‘Strangers In The Night’, plus his shortlived appearance in The Scorpions before going it alone with the Michael Schenker Group during 1979/80. So endth the second major phase of the UFO discography.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)