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40 Years Ago: UFO Release ‘Phenomenon’

Typically, one must wait several years to clearly recognize a major turning point in the career of any given artist, but that was not the case for guitar phenom Michael Schenker.

How fitting, then, that his band UFO’s first album for new label Chrysalis should be named ‘Phenomenon,’ since the precocious guitar hero instantly paid due on his promise by cowriting a string of future classics with his bandmates, including ‘Doctor Doctor,’ ‘Too Young to Know’ and ‘Rock Bottom.’

Along with less celebrated album cuts like ‘Oh My,’ ‘Time on My Hands’ and ‘Queen of the Deep,’ these songs showcased a powerful, streamlined hard rock sound that more fans could relate to; a point driven home by the comparatively lukewarm response shown to throwback examples of limp-wristed space rock like ‘Crystal Light’ and ‘Space Child,’ which would be summarily abandoned before too long.

And, though the band would have to wait until their next effort, 1975’s ‘Force It,’ to get their first taste of the American or UK charts, their career reinvention was officially underway, thanks to the changes undertaken on ‘Phenomenon,’ and the ensuing years of non-stop touring, which solidified UFO’s legend over the remainder of the decade.

Next: Top 10 UFO songs

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