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The UFO Forgotten Pre–Schenker Space Rock Gem

RTN blasts off to explore one of the greatest classic hard rock acts, UFO, in this week’s “Lost Tracks” feature series
By subcomtom

 

To most people, UFO is associated with a string of very successful and influential Hard Rock albums, starting with 1974’s Phenomenon, and lasting until their 1978 release Obsession, when Michael Schenker was the group’s guitarist.

While the Michael Schenker era albums, which were all released on the Chrysalis label, are nowadays seen as milestones of classic Hard Rock, UFO’s first two studio albums are widely overlooked by the general public.

 

After their self-titled debut album, which didn’t chart in the UK but gained some popularity in Japan and Germany, their second album titled UFO 2: Flying, showcases a unique brand of Space Rock which is deeply rooted in heavy Blues with a hefty dose of psychedelic influences.

The UFO 2 Flying album is a one-hour space rock journey not to be missed.

UFO 2: Flying is rightly subtitled One Hour Space Rock and is an absolute must have for anyone who is interested in Space Rock and Heavy Rock in general, as it contains masterpieces such as ‘Prince Kajuku,’ ‘Silver Bird,’ ‘Star Storm,’ and the 26 minute 30 second monster of a title track ‘Flying.’

Each of these songs would deserve their own article. However, I have chosen to dedicate this piece to Prince Kajuku, as for me it stands out from the others.

“Prince Kajuku” is the third song on side A of UFO 2: Flying, which was also released in 1971 as a 7-inch single in the UK, Germany, Japan, and Italy.

German copies of the single are still surprisingly easy to find at a reasonable price as it was produced in more significant numbers due to its moderate Top 30 success on the German charts.

 

Related: Stepping Stone Lost Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the B side of the singles, you will find a quieter instrumental piece called “The Coming of Prince Kajuku,” which also appears on side B of UFO 2: Flying. (Another tremendous and powerful version of Prince Kajuku can be found on UFO – Live, an album that was recorded in 1971 in Tokyo, Japan, and contains songs from their first two albums).

The name Kajuku is a made up word. Legend says it refers to an early days UFO road crew member.

When taking a closer look at the lyrics of Prince Kajuku, it doesn’t come as a surprise that UFO named themselves after the legendary London underground club, which was famous for its light shows, psychedelic projections, and some early Pink Floyd shows featuring Syd Barrett.

 

Catch a falling star put it in your pocket

Take hold of the moonbeams, hang them around your neck

Prince Kajuku coming feathers in his hair

Tapping on his juju stick, take you down there

Prince Kajuku holds you, never lets you go

 

Feel his power around you when your weakness shows

Take a starry circle, hold it in your hand

Never let Kajuku take you to his land

Catch a falling star put it in your pocket

Take hold of the moonbeams, hang them around your neck

Kajuku, Kajuku, walking down the street

 

The song starts with a short guitar intro which is immediately followed by a one-of-a-kind guitar riff, which never let me off its hook from the moment I heard it for the first time many years ago.

It then rocks off, full of fierce power and energy, forcing its way ahead like an out of control steam train, slowly transforming itself into a spaceship powered by acid-fueled wah-wah guitar solo freakouts, and steering towards an abrupt end of the song.

It’s as if the whole spaceship would have been swallowed by a gigantic black hole that appeared out of nowhere.

 

Related: Budgie Lost Tracks

 

UFO was formed in London in 1969 by vocalist Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton, bassist Pete Way, and drummer Andy Parker. Over a career spanning almost 50 years, UFO has released over 20 studio albums and sold over 10 million records worldwide with Phil Mogg being the only constant member of the band.

In 1973 UFO recruited the then 18-year-old Michael Schenker, who was at that time playing for The Scorpions.

The Blond Bomber, as Schenker was referred to, stayed with UFO until 1978 before briefly re-joining the Scorpions and contributing to some of the songs on their album Lovedrive, which was released in 1979, and later on starting a successful solo career.

For a couple of years, UFO was considered as one of Britain’s premier rock outfits, and some people even say that UFO could have easily been as big as Led Zeppelin if circumstances prevailed, and the relation between some of the band members would have been more mature and stable at the time.

In my opinion, this is overstated. However, UFO definitely managed to leave their mark in music history, setting new standards and shaping the future course of Heavy Rock for the next generations of bands to come.

Watch this video of UFO performing with Michael Schenker in 1975.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you like what you’re reading? See the other “Lost Tracks” articles from the archive below. Be sure to check back next Thursday when RTN dives into The Criminal World with David Bowie.

 

© 2018 rockingthenet.com

RTN’s “Lost Tracks” is a weekly feature of Rock’s hidden gems and little-known bands.

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The Lost Tracks Archive

Ween: Two Longtime Friends And A DAT Machine = Eclectic Music

Beasts Of Bourbon Redefined Guitar-Based Rock’N’Roll

Wet Pussycat And The Unreleased Riff That Describes Stoner Rock

Stepping Stone Finds Its Way Through More Than 50 Years

An Obscure Rolling Stones Song Mick Jagger Wrote In Prison

Hank Williams III: Generation Spanning Sadness, Depression, and Solitude

Lucifer’s Friend Makes Their Mark In “Lost Tracks” With Ride The Sky

Woods Of Ypres Takes Us On A Spiritual Journey In “Lost Tracks”

Old Men’s Desire For War, Seen By Mudhoney, The Founders Of Grunge

Budgie: An Early Influencer Of The Heavy Metal Bands To Come

Aphrodite’s Child: Two Unexpected Greek Titans Of Progressive Rock