Released: 2005, Metal Blade
As part of an informal, three-month series (March, April, May of 2011) I am getting ‘caught-up’ reviewing some books by Metal’s #1 journalist, Martin Popoff. Last month (March 2011) I reviewed his COLLECTORS GUIDE review series, this month I am going to look at a half dozen of his biographies including titles on UFO (2005), Rainbow (2005), Dio (2006) Black Sabbath (2006), Judas Priest (2007) and Deep Purple (2008 & 2009) Next month we will look at his on-going Ye Olde Metal series. Please feel free to enjoy my other book reviews in the overview of Popoff’s work.
This was Martin second publishing collaboration with the esteemed Metal Blade Records. Consistently one of Popoff’s favorite bands over the years, it was a natural fit to follow up his Rush and BOC books.
Information is the name of the game for this title. It’s a standard paper-back, over 250 pages, with fairly small font, a mountain of material is covered. There is not much in the way of extras, a brief intro, a detailed discography and that’s it. No photos, but each chapter is preceded with a B&W shot of the album cover being covered. Each chapter covers one album, with the exception the first three releases (two albums, one live) comprising Chapter One known as UFO B.S. (Before Schenker) Martin speaks to his streamlined approach saying that it is the music, the songs that matter. I agree. While it would be interesting to read about, or look at all the extraneous stuff, it does ultimately come down to the music.
SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTS is a fantastic song-by-song analysis of the bands entire career, to the time of publication. Popoff also covers the somewhat confusing era with Moog/Way albums and some of the MSG albums when the lawyers seemed to get involved. Eventually everyone figured it out and UFO continues on today. All eras of the band are discussed with equal enthusiasm, the Bonham/Moore era and the seemingly endless rotating line-ups.
Overall, this is a pretty intense and in-depth analysis of the songs and the bands. There is not really much of the sordid tales you might find in THE DIRT for example, but a far greater and intimate emphasis on the song. Long overdue and one of a kind, SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTS belongs in any UFO fans library.