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Michael Schenker

Along with Gary Moore, Michael Schenker never quite reached the same level of acclaim stateside as he did in Europe (and other parts of the world), despite possessing exceptional, and quite influential, six-string skills. Born on January 10, 1955, in Savstedt, Germany, it was Schenker's older brother, Rudolf, who sparked the youngster's interest in guitar at an early age. Entirely self-taught, Michael picked up a thing or two from such hard-rocking acts as Wishbone Ash and Mountain, as well as his older brother, who would offer the youngster money if he would transcribe certain songs for him while he was at work. As a result of constant playing, it wasn't long before Schenker showed immense talent with the instrument, and by the early '70s, joined Rudolf's group, the Scorpions. Michael appeared on the group's 1972 full-length debut, Lonesome Crow, and toured with the outfit (all at the age of 17). But it was during the album's supporting tour that another up-and-coming outfit, UFO, took a keen interest in the young Schenker and managed to pry the guitarist away from the Scorpions.

Although a language barrier existed between Schenker and his new bandmates (he barely knew any English at the time), the guitarist let his playing do the talking, especially on his first recording with the group, 1974's Phenomenon, which spawned such metal classics/Schenker showcases as "Doctor Doctor" and "Rock Bottom" (also of note was the instrumental "Lipstick Traces," a tune which Schenker played entirely with his feet!). It was also around this time that Schenker began playing an instrument that he would become synonymous with for the rest of his career, a Gibson Flying V (which would eventually be decorated with a half-white/half-black paint job). Heavy-duty touring and a pair of further releases, 1975's Force It and 1976's No Heavy Petting, set the stage perfectly for what UFO hoped would be a global commercial breakthrough.

The late '70s saw UFO issue a trio of classic hard rock albums -- 1977's Lights Out, 1978's Obsession, and especially 1979's outstanding live set, Strangers in the Night -- all of which made strong showings on the U.S. charts. But UFO's time in the limelight would be fleeting, as alcohol/substance overindulgence and erratic behavior drew a wedge between Schenker and the rest of UFO (the guitarist also became famous for disappearing from the group without any notice, leaving them high and dry mid-tour). 1979 saw Schenker's exit from UFO (who were never the same after his exit) and re-entry into the Scorpions. But, as with his first go around with the group, Schenker's tenure was a fleeting one, only lasting a single album, 1979's Lovedrive, before exiting once more.

The same year, Schenker was invited to take the place of the just-departed Joe Perry in Aerosmith. Despite a few jam sessions between Schenker and the others, nothing ever materialized of the Schenker-Aerosmith union (the interesting meeting was discussed by the group in their 1999 autobiography, Walk This Way). Now free of any other obligations, Schenker set his sights on a solo career, forming the Michael Schenker Group immediately thereafter. While the group got off to a promising start with such strong releases as 1980's Michael Schenker Group, 1981's MSG, plus 1982's Assault Attack and One Night at Budokan, interest eventually evaporated, as it became obvious with each subsequent release that Schenker had set his sights at the top of the charts rather than sticking to good old-fashioned hard rock/heavy metal. Constant lineup fluctuation didn't help, either.

1982 saw Schenker get an invite from Ozzy Osbourne to join his group immediately after Randy Rhoads' tragic death, but like the Aerosmith bid several years earlier, it failed to pan out. Despite failing to issue a big commercial breakthrough on his own (although 1989's pop-metal outing, Save Yourself, credited to the McAuley-Schenker Group, came close), the guitarists in such renowned groups as Metallica and Def Leppard were quick to voice Schenker's influence. The early '90s saw Schenker appear with Ratt on a best-forgotten episode of MTV's popular Unplugged series, in addition to participating in a one-off pop-metal "supergroup," Contraband (which included members of such groups as Shark Island, Vixen, Ratt, and L.A. Guns), who issued a lone self-titled debut in 1991.

Throughout the '90s, Schenker continued to issue solo albums, including 1993's acoustic-based Thank You and 1999's more rock-based Unforgiven, but the real story of the '90s for Schenker was his re-enlistment into UFO in 1993. Predictably, Schenker's second go-around with UFO was short-lived, yet it did spawn a world tour as well as an all-new studio effort, 1995's Walk on Water. Schenker's pace of issuing solo albums only increased during the early 21st century, as such titles as 2000's all-instrumental Adventures of the Imagination, plus a staggering three albums in 2001 alone (MS 2000: Dreams and Expressions, Odd Trio, and Be Aware of Scorpions) saw the light of day. 2002 saw Schenker sign on with UFO once more for a new album, Sharks. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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The best - and I've seen a lot of guitar gods.
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terrypayne79
I saw him here in Portland(201 5 at the Bossanova Ballroom w/Herman Rarebell and Francis Bucholz) and he was amazing! He is getting up there in the years, though. Always been a total fanof his and his Brother's, and the Scorps.
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Regardless of making commercial success he gave us amazing music. Love Michael Schenker, UFO, MSG and everything he has ever created.
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Pl
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I think Ron Warner might enjoy this guy's guitar playing.
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Agreed rwurzbach, ,. MSG,, Anytime is one of my favorites that he does... ROCK ON EVERYONE
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I absolutely love how doctor doctor was put together it absolutely rocks !!!
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They're are no other than the brother of brothers michael
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R
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One of the best out there rock deep Keith swishe
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He did NOT play lipstick traces with his feet-un true rumor started by ?
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Those undeniable midrange frequencies distinguish his tone and style almost immediately. A TRUE LEGEND!
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Schenker most definitely made UFO as good as they ever were. Love his riffs.
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Great song great album Schenker is the MAN!
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Michael was at his best with UFO end of story
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Every thing Schenker is a part of , is The very best. I love listening to him play. Heard UFO , when in junior high. Good stuff.
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I personally feel that UFO's Walk on Water is as good if not better than their 70's hey day. And I've been a huge UFO fan since 1977 when I was 14.
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zhipfan
Schenker is the f'n best!
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173132015
I was awestruck in 1979....My favorite ever since.
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Leslie West and Schenk together!! Fantastic!
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UFO kicks a**! just ask Eddie on That Metal Show, he'll tell ya! Michael Schenker sweetens the sound of just about everyone else that he plays with, metal but harmonic at the same time, the kind of s**t that makes you want to get down fast!
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My favorite guitarist for over 30 years, Illusion is on The Unforgiven not Arachnaphobi a c
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Just saw MSG Saturday night at The Coachhouse in San Juan Capistrano. Robin McAuley's voice is still perfect. His covers of Scorpions songs unreal. Total pro. Shenker looks like Eddie from Iron Maiden now but ripped the guitar every song. Great show! Bunch of middle age guys in the audience (myself included) and had a lot of great conversation s regarding old days rock trivia. Last minute alert that they were playing and glad I went.
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gonna see him tomorrow night. can't wait!
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jwillse1
Virtuoso. Saw him 2 weeks ago: phenomenal.
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I have listened to him since 1974 and was always in my top 5. Love him.
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One of the best EVER....PERI O D ! ! ! Look for Herr Schenker and Robin McAuley on the 2012 Temple of Rock Tour!!!
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Greg Prato is an IDIOT! Michael Schenker is a Top 10 all time guitarist. End of Discussion.
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I sware I love this song so much I can't stand it! I have covered it in every band I have ever been in!!!! Kik azzzzzz!
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htwheel1961
UFO live with Rush and Cheap Trick, 1978 tour at the Capitol Center just outside D.C.... what a concert. Rush was actually the headliner, but trust me... people knew who Michael Schenker was and appreciated the music he and Moog created when UFO was in their heyday.

The close of Love to Love on Strangers In the Night (live) still gives me goose bumps.
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MICHAEL SCHENKER IS ONE OF THE MOST UNDER RATED AXEMEN EVER ( BEWARE OF THE MAD AXEMAN) SO.. MELODIC IN HIS PLAYING BUT FAST TASTEFUL LICKS!! SO.. LOVE HIS APPROACH!!! ONE OF MY ALLTIME FAVORITES!!!
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just listen 'to young to no' on phenomenon - like liquid honey
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seth.miller6 6 9 4
Lonesome Crow
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thebartman19 7 0
Schenker was never fully appreciated in the states but that never slowed him down. He is a true guitar god and has produced very respectable music year after year for four decades. A top ten all time greatest guitar player for certain. Of course multiple lineup changes and lack of promotion by the record labels didn't help record sales to back his talent up.
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One of my all time fav's
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martonem4
Amazing...On e of the greatest!
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markthomaspy b u r n
One of the greatest rock guitar tones of all time, every time
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spursfan2
Michael Schenker is a rock guitar god! Have seen his last 4 tours to San Antonio and he consistently amazes me with his 3 finger technique without using a tremelo. F'n unreal.
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SHRED is RIGHT!!! Cannot get enough. MSG/UFO Lovedrive is awesome, too!!! Who knew? All those albums! i need to get out more!
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Another Piece of Meat..rocks! ! ! ! ! ! ! (LOVEDRIVE album)
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Anything with Michael Schenker's name attached to it is awesome listening pleasure...e s p e c i a
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Schenker was a true shredder in the 70s before there was even a term for it.
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Schenker has always been my favorite guitarist...
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Schenker is a guitar god...deserv e s a spot in the top 5 guitarists of all time-always.
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Michael Schenker, is one fantastic guitarist.
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