Strangers In The Night is a live album by UFO recorded on their 1978 US tour to promote the Obsession album. Guitarist Michael Schenker left before recording another album.
They are all good but there’s no In Rock, Machine Head or Demons & Wizards. I have the five recorded with Michael Schenker after they moved away from space rock and I think they are all good rather than great.
But UFO nail it with Strangers In The Night.
UFO Strangers In The Night
Strangers In the Night Set List – 9/10 rating
- Hot ‘n’ Ready – 3:26 (Obsession – bonus track added to original album)
- Cherry – 3:44 (Obsession – bonus track added to original album)
- Let It Roll – 4:48 (Force It)
- Love to Love – 7:58 (Lights Out)
- Natural Thing – 3:57 (No Heavy Petting)
- Out In The Street – 5:07 (Force It)
- Only You Can Rock Me – 4:08 (Obsession)
- Mother Mary – 3:25 (Force It – studio recording with added crowd noise)
- This Kid’s – 5:11 (Force It – studio recording with added crowd noise)
- Doctor Doctor – 4:42 (Phenomenon)
- I’m A Loser – 4:13 (No Heavy Petting)
- Lights Out – 5:09 (Lights Out)
- Rock Bottom – 11:22 (Phenomenon)
- Too Hot To Handle – 4:26 (Lights Out)
- Shoot Shoot – 4:07 (Force It)
What we have are three songs from Obsession (1978), five songs from Force It (1975), three songs from Lights Out (1977) two songs from No Heavy Petting (1976) and two from Phenomenon (1974).
With the addition of the two bonus tracks to start the album, the running order has been re-jigged to more accurately reflect the set lists of the time.
I’m not sure why the group felt the need to add two studio recordings with fake crowd responses but I don’t notice any significant change in sound. Even with them , at 77 minutes long, it’s over far too quickly.
UFO don’t have a Stairway To Heaven, a Won’t Get Fooled Again or Smoke On The Water that has been overplayed on commercial radio so the entire album moves along very smoothly.
This album was recorded just before star guitarist Michael Schenker left so the group consisted of:
- Phil Mogg – vocals
- Michael Schenker – guitar
- Paul Raymond – rhythm guitar, keyboards
- Pete Way – bass
- Andy Parker – drums
They sound terrific, giving the songs extra energy and dynamics while keeping the instrumental hysterics tightly reigned in. Star guitarist, Michael Schenker is occasionally let off the leash but his solos never outstay their welcome. I also appreciate what an underrated singer Phil Mogg was at this stage of his career.
When Michael Schenker discussed the Strangers In The Night album in an interview with Guitar Player Magazine, he expressed disappointment with the selection of the songs because he felt there were better ones available. If he’s right, it would have been an absolutely stunning album.
Here are some videos of UFO performing live in 1977 and 1978.
Too Hot To Handle
Let It Roll – there are a few minutes of interviews with UFO before the song starts.
Atmosphere And Authenticity – 8/10
Two studio tracks pretending to be live is naughty and cost the album a point. Another is deducted for the fact that it’s a compilation rather than a recording from one show.
Overall Rating – 27/30
This is a superb melodic hard rock album which is highly recommended to anyone who loves to rock.
That rating of 27 feels a bit stingy to me and I might be back to revise it when I’ve reviewed more hard rock albums. The cheating with those two studio tracks is suffering from my marking system because it sounds more like a 29/30 album.
There aren’t any pretensions here. UFO didn’t have a big reputation to protect. For some reason, success never reached them. Looking at Wikipedia and the highest positions in the album charts, their best up to this point was #23 with Light Out in America and #26 in the UK with Obsession.
I urge you not to make the same mistake and ignore this fantastic record.
What Other People Say About Strangers In The Night
This UFO live album is recognised as excellent and has appeared very high in several of the best live album lists. I don’t understand why it isn’t in more except that UFO have never been fashionable.
Planet Rock 3
Classic Rock 6
Buying Strangers In The Night
To help you to find the album quickly and easily, I’ve given you the following links::
What Do You Think About Strangers In The Night?
Do you think it is the best UFO live album?
What Are The Best Live Albums Ever?
Please help me to find the best live albums by voting in the readers polls
There are so many great hard rock live albums that I’ve created a second division poll where you may find more of your favourites.
I also think that Strangers In The Night has a strong enough focus on melody and the songs for it to be included in the more mainstream best classic rock live album poll.
If you don’t see your classic rock favourites in that poll, I have a second division poll and albums that get enough votes will be promoted.
You can see the complete list of readers polls at Live Album Polls
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