UFO – Strangers In the Night (1979)

UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979, Chrysalis)

  1. Natural Thing
  2. Out In The Street
  3. Only You Can Rock Me
  4. Doctor Doctor
  5. Mother Mary
  6. This Kids
  7. Love To Love
  8. Lights Out
  9. Rock Bottom
  10. Too Hot To Handle
  11. I’m A Loser
  12. Let It Roll
  13. Shoot Shoot

Total Time = 1:09:13

UFO official website

UFO has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Back when I was a kid, my local Rock radio station would play some UFO songs like ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and ‘Natural Thing’ so I was aware of who they were and what they sounded like in their classic era with Michael Schenker. I listened to MSG so I knew Schenker from there and back to UFO, I listened to Fastway and Waysted also so I knew bassist Pete Way with that connection. In the mid-80s, the same radio station would play the latest single from the band during a Rock Block or on Double-Shot Tuesday (they still have this) but they always paired it with a classic single. So when I finally got online in the middle of 1998, UFO was at the top of my list of bands to check out.

The Internet was brimming with plenty of UFO related news because the band had just released a reunion album, WALK ON WATER, in 1995 with Michael Schenker back on board. I had seen the ads in Rock magazines but I really didn’t pay them much attention. Most of the message boards and discussion lists I was on recommended starting with STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT to get a good overview of the Schenker era of the band. Every song on this album is a concert staple for the band and most are still in the setlist today! All of the songs are great and the performance is solid…..Schenker is at top form, Phil Mogg is one of the best on the mic, the Pete Way/Andy Parker rhythm section is solid and you’ve got Paul Raymond rounding out the sound on guitar and keyboards/organ. That’s the classic lineup doing a setlist from their U.S. tour that is like a greatest hits album.

For my money, it doesn’t get any better than ‘Natural Thing’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, ‘Too Hot To Handle’ and the 11 minute plus ‘Rock Bottom’ on this record. They are all done with a lot of energy and superb soloing from Schenker. Another great song is ‘I’m A Loser’ (originally on 1976’s NO HEAVY PETTING), a song that has become one of my all-time UFO favorites. You get the staples also in ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Shoot Shoot’ but another true highlight is the power ballad ‘Love To Love’. I have no idea how this song wasn’t a hit single back in 1977, it has that classic bluesy balladeering style with a main riff that builds up as the song goes on.

After buying STRANGERS, I started to collect the rest of the band’s discography when all the albums were reissued on CD in Japan in 1999 and 2000. I also picked up the WALK ON WATER album, started diving back into the MSG catalogue, and saw the band live in concert twice. Basically, buying this live album turned me into a major UFO fan!

5 comments on “UFO – Strangers In the Night (1979)

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I was lucky enough to by Strangers, new, off the shelf. I’d been listening to UFO since Light’s Out was new. Obsession was also great, but nothing prepared me for the power of Strangers. It was my favorite album of high school and today I still think it’s one of the best live albums ever recorded.

    We reviewed it for the Ripple at http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2008/07/ufo-strangers-in-night-original-version.html

    I love how even the filler songs, like Mother Mary, are amazingly powerful on this disc.

    Great stuff

  2. I grew up with Strangers in the Night, it was the only UFO available in my little hometown back in 1979. This is a fantastic work, Michael Schenker proves his mettle here in a big way. The melodicism apparent in his lead guitar playing makes most of the shred-obssessives today sound so unmusical as to be summarily dismissed.

    For more brilliant Schenker playing, don’t miss the first Michael Schenker Group albums: Michael Schenker Group, M.S.G., Assault Attack (his best ever effort), One Night at Budokan, and Rock Will Never Die (the last being a trmendously inspiring video for any guitar player).

    Very cool review!

  3. UFO’s fairly recent albums; Walk on Water,Shark,Covenance (sp) ,not only
    serves me as I face the test of time with confidence cause if these guys can….do,Me too. The lyrics of these albums are profound as any Schenker
    lic but to me are better than the previous one’s which I have,oddly enough
    though I’ve never heard of ‘Strangers’ title album.
    If Schenker would ever tour with ’em I go to where-ever!
    To Dr.Col.Dave,oldest bro with a knack for picking R & R winners!!

  4. Let me begin by stating that Mother Mary is not “filler”. It was my great pleasure to see the mighty men of U F O in thier original incarnation including the final performance in 1978 at Maples Pavillion@Stanford University. Winterland Ballroom,however was the place where it all began. U F O opened for Rush at a time when the trio from Canada was still sporting long hair and playing with a certain intensity not seen since then. Likewise with U F O,Micheal peeling off uber-melodic leads,one after another. There is 16 mm,B/W footage somewhere out there. I know it because I viewed it while waiting for Thin Lizzy to perform that same glorious year. My point being that those were truly the Golden days of Hard-Rock and there has not been a similar scene since. Btw,I took several concert pics of U F O on thier tour as the opening act for BOC circa 1978. The venue was Tahoe Carson Speedway. And yes,it was a motor-speedway out in the boondocks. Good times indeed. James V.

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