4/13: RIP PAUL RAYMOND
Woke up this morning to the incredibly sad news that UFO guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Paul Raymond passed away. I don’t need to tell you what a fan of this band I am. Their music is timeless and has been a part of my listening since I was a kid. There are a handful of bands for me that’s music truly endures and always sounds great, and UFO is that for sure to me and many others. Paul was a member of what is widely considered the classic era of the band (Mogg, Way, Schenker, Raymond, Parker) and joined for the Lights Out album is ’77. He was also a part of what I think is the greatest live album (and maybe album) of all time Strangers In The Night. Paul and UFO used keys better than any hard rock band I know. Always great accents to the songs and great moments, without ever compromising the heavy guitar edge. Paul was the ultimate utility guy, doing a bit of everything on stage and so hugely important to the bands sound. I would love when he and Phil would sing together (check out “Fighting Man”). In addition to various (including the current) lineups of UFO, Paul was also a member of UFO spin off bands MSG and Waysted. His writing, singing and playing was crucial to all of them. “Love to Love” is maybe my favorite song ever, and Paul’s keys are so beautiful on it. Want something more recent? Check out a song called “Kingston Town” on the 2006 UFO album The Monkey Puzzle. Paul wrote that one, incredible melody.
I could go on and on about what Paul and UFO mean to me. Every time I would see UFO he always had a big smile on his face and would always engage me (as do the other guys) in my UFO Obsession and share great stories with me. I was truly holding out hope that on the bands final tour there would be hope to see a song or show with the Strangers lineup one last time. I even considered going to England for the bands recent farewell dates there, but with US shows I decided to wait. Had no idea I wouldn’t get to see Paul again. Now with Paul the first to pass from that classic version the reunion can never happen with all 5. But I will always cherish what Paul and UFO gave me and continues to give me. I spent much of today listening to his music and it’s as great as ever no matter how often I hear it. Whatever is left in the history of UFO, needless to say it will never be the same without Paul Raymond. Condolences to Paul’s family, friends, fans and the entire UFO camp. RIP Paul, and thanks for all the amazing music you were a part of in my life.