An email from a USA author seeking input from me regarding rock/metal band “UFO”, can I help with background, maybe answer a few questions about their first album, the eponymous “UFO”? Happy to oblige.
June 1970, a call from our Publisher Paul Rich resulted in me meeting with
imposing, cool, Jamaican dude Milton Samuel, Chairman of small EMI
distributed label, Beacon Records. He had Rock/Metal band UFO signed and
after an Eddy Grant production of tracks with the group, which apparently
were not what was required, Samuel met with me and I in turn auditioned the band and whilst they were ragged and raw, there was a certain edgy ‘something’, I’d call it attitudinal excitement.
Milton and I did a deal. I routined UFO with a number of their own songs
plus three pop/rock ‘standards’ of my choosing. I was given a most modest
budget (even by 1970 standards) of £500. Go make a defining debut album
with commercial appeal. Mission possible?
We used Jackson Studios , with great support from Malcolm Jackson. The
tracks were recorded live, over two days, using minimal overdubbing and
adding some fx and links, it was mixed on the third day! Milton was thrilled.
He used our contacts to do territorial deals including Rare Earth, Mowtown’s
Rock label in the USA.
Shortly after receiving the advances Mr Samuel vanished to Jamaica, set up
a club with his wife (so I was told) and a few years later died of cancer.
Neither the band nor the producer received a cent in royalties, however
UFO did get a career as our eponymous album ‘UFO’ went to No 1 in Japan. ‘UFO’ sold very well in a number of territories including Germany notching up over 1.4 million units; and a subsequent LP with Michael Schenker
led to a long run of success. The American author was much pleased. If
there is lesson here it has to be, ALWAYS take a BIG advance!