UFO keyboardist/guitarist Paul Raymond (1945-2019) remembered
Aged 73, Paul Raymond died from a heart attack on April 13th 2019, having just started on what UFO – who he first joined in 1976 – refers to as their final world tour, “Last Orders: 50th Anniversary”.
Raymond’s career stretched from jazz through psychedelic pop and progressive blues to hard and heavy rock, recording with the likes of Plastic Penny, Chicken Shack, Savoy Brown, MSG, Waysted and his own Paul Raymond Project.
Paul’s life partner Sandra notified fans online that he had passed away, saying that “doctors were trying to reanimate him and with success at first but then his system shot down again and there was nothing more they could do for him, he died of a heart attack. He absolutely enjoyed the last couple of weeks touring with UFO in the UK & Ireland and he was looking forward to the rest of this year’s tour”.
Paul Martin Raymond was born on November 16th 1945 in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England and began his musical career as a jazz musician in January 1964. Playing organ with Tony Jackson and the Vibrations from 1964-66, Raymond got into the UK Top 20 with a cover of the Mary Wells song ‘Bye Bye Baby’. Jackson had left Merseybeat group The Searchers in July 1964, being unhappy with the band’s move away from rock and roll to a softer, more melodic sound.
Also released in 1964 were two singles by The Wes Minster Five, a band which in addition to Paul Raymond on organ was to feature future Colosseum members Tony Reeves, Dave Greenslade and Jon Hiseman. A 7″ credited to The Circles was released in 1966, produced by Chris Blackwell and supposedly featuring Raymond and Brian Keith, whom Raymond would also play with on his first album recordings.
Raymond joined proto-progressive psychedelic pop band Plastic Penny (1967-69) as songwriter and keyboardist/vocalist. Raymond’s band mates in Plastic Penny included future Elton John drummer Nigel Olsson and Mick Grabham who would go on to play with Cochise and Procol Harum. Raymond’s fellow songwriters in the band were Brian Keith and Tony Murray, who went on to play with The Congregation and The Troggs respectively. Keith would also appear in the role of Annas in the original 1970 album version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” (the one with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan as Jesus), the rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Keith can be heard on “This Jesus Must Die” and “Damned For All Time / Blood Money”, both of which also feature his Congregation bandmate Victor Brox in the role of Caiaphas.
Plastic Penny wrote original material but are best remembered for their one big hit, “Everything I Am”, a composition by Muscle Shoals legends Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn which had first been recorded earlier the same year by The Box Tops, the band fronted by future Big Star frontman Alex Chilton. Plastic Penny’s version of “Everything I Am” reacheded #6 in the UK Singles Chart in December of 1967.
Plastic Penny released a string of singles and two studio albums: “Two Sides of a Penny” in 1968 and the following year’s “Currency”, for which the direction of the band was getting progressively heavier after listening to Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple. The album tracks “Wake Me Up”, “Genevieve”, “No Pleasure Without Pain My Love”, “So Much Older Now”, “Mrs. Grundy”, “Take Me Back”, “It’s A Good Thing”, “Your Way To Tell Me Go”, “Currency”, “Baby You’re Not To Blame”, “Give Me Money” and “Sour Suite” were all co-credited to Raymond.
Raymond handled the vocals on three songs on the debut album – “Make Me Up”, “Mrs. Grundy” and the cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”. After Brian Keith had left the band, Raymond and Nigel Olsson took on shared responsibility for lead vocals on the follow-up.
Raymond next joined blues rockers Chicken Shack when pianist Christine Perfect – after their first two albums – left for a solo career, soon to marry and join her husband John McVie in Blue Horizon label mates Fleetwood Mac. Band leader Stan Webb wrote all the original songs on “100 Ton Chicken” (1969) but Raymond is credited as co-writer of most songs on the follow-up “Accept” (1970). On the latter album, Chicken Shack began moving away from pure blues in favour of a more progressive and psychedelic sound.
Raymond sadly left Chicken Shack when they were dropped by Blue Horizon and thus does not appear the 1972 masterpiece “Imagination Lady”, the band’s first album for Deram Records. Webb instead recorded the latter album with drummer Paul Hancox and John Glascock, the brilliant bass player who had played in Uriah Heep precursors The Gods, Head Machine and Toe Fat and would later join progressive rock bands Carmen and Jethro Tull before sadly passing away due to a congenital heart valve defect in 1979, aged only 28.
After playing with Chicken Chack, Raymond joined Savoy Brown as keyboardist/guitarist. Following 1970’s “Looking In”, only founder/leader/guitarist Kim Simmonds remained as all of his fellow band members had left to form Foghat with guitarist Rod Price of Black Cat Bones. Bassist Andy Silvester and drummer Dave Bidwell were also recruited from Chicken Shack, along with Raymond, while new vocalist Dave Walker had previously been in The Idle Race, following Jeff Lynne’s departure for The Move and ELO. Walker would later be asked by fellow Birmingham man Tony Iommi to join Black Sabbath following Ozzy’s brief departure in 1977. Walker wrote lyrics to Sabbath’s new music in early 1978 but no vocals were ever recorded with him. This line-up appeared on the BBC Midlands TV program “Look Hear” on 6 January 1978, performing “War Pigs” and an early version of what would eventually become “Junior’s Eyes”. Shortly after this appearance, Ozzy decided to rejoin Black Sabbath and ultimately none of Walker’s lyrics were used for the “Never Say Die” album.
But I digress, Raymond remained with Savoy Brown from 1971 until 1976, except for a short break in 1974 when Stan Webb had disbanded Chicken Shack and briefly joined Savoy Brown himself, appearing on the album “Boogie Brothers”. Raymond first appeared on Savoy Brown’s seventh studio album, 1971’s “Street Corner Talking”, an album for which Raymond co-wrote “Tell Mama” and “Let It Rock” with Kim Simmonds. Raymond even sang on the latter, and played guitar on the former, in addition to handling keyboards on the entire album. 1972’s “Hellbound Train” featured Paul Raymond’s “Troubled by these Days and Times” and Simmonds co-write “If I Could See an End”. Raymond contributed two songs that he was very proud of to 1972’s “Lion’s Share” – “The Saddest Feelings” and “I Can’t Find You” – while “Jack the Toad” (1973) had Raymond’s “Hold Your Fire” and co-write “Some People”. Jackie Lynton sang on the latter album and Raymond returned the favor by playing piano on her 1974 debut solo album, “The Jackie Lynton Album”.
In 1974, during the short break from Savoy Brown, Raymond also played with former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan in a short-lived band called Hungry Fighter. Raymond first met Kirwan on a U.S. tour where Fleetwood Mac supported Savoy Brown. “He was a bit of a character but I always admired him musically”, said Raymond. The other members of Hungry Fighter were Savoy Brown colleagues Andy Silvester and Dave Walker (who himself made a brief appearance in Fleetwood Mac, singing two songs on the 1973 album “Penguin”, the album following the departure of Kirwan himself) along with drummer Mac Poole, who had previously played with original Deep Purple bass player Nick Simper on both albums by Warhorse, the self-titled 1970 debut and 1972’s “Red Sea”. Sadly, no recordings appears to exist as Hungry Fighter only played one gig, at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England. Raymond did, however, appear as a session musician on Danny Kirwan’s first solo album, 1975’s “Second Chapter”.
Raymond then re-joined Savoy Brown and co-wrote all tracks except “Born Into Pain” for 1975’s “Wire Fire” and all tracks on “Skin ‘n’ Bone” (1976) aside from the cover of Hank Ballard & The Midnighters’ “She’s The One”. It was while touring the latter album, during a 1976 show in Saginaw, Michigan – where Savoy Brown were on the same bill as UFO – that Raymond got into a conversation with bassist Pete Way, mentioning that UFO wanted to recruit a keyboard player who could also play rhythm guitar. Upon their return to England, Raymond passed the audition and UFO entered what’s considered by many to be their classic period.
Raymond replaced Danny Peyronel, UFO’s orginal keyboard player, and first appeared on 1977’s “Lights Out”, co-writing “Just Another Suicide” with frontman Phil Mogg and adding parts to what became “Try Me”. Raymond also played rhythm guitar but due to a previous publishing deal, Raymond remained uncredited until recent years for the songs he co-wrote.
“Obsession” (1978) featured Raymond co-writes “Ain’t No Baby”, “Lookin’ Out for No. 1” (with Mogg), “You Don’t Fool Me” (with Mogg and drummer Andy Parker), “Lookin’ Out for No. 1 (reprise)” (with Schenker) and “Born to Lose” (with Schenker and Mogg).
Michael Schenker left UFO in 1978, following the tour that is captured on the legendary 1979 live album “Strangers In The Night”. Raymond remained with UFO for one more studio album, 1980’s “No Place To Run” – for which he wrote “Take It or Leave It” – before joining The Michael Schenker Group. Raymond was first replaced in UFO by John Sloman of Uriah Heep and then by Wild Horses guitarist and keyboardist Neil Carter.
Raymond contributed keyboards and rhythm guitar on 1981’s “MSG”, following Don Airey’s appearance as a session keyboardist on the previous year’s self-titled debut. “MSG” featured Raymond’s composition “Never Trust a Stranger” and “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” – a song credited to the entire band, which at the time featured vocalist Gary Barden, bassist Chris Glen and drummer Cozy Powell in addition to Schenker and Raymond. Paul McCartney was working in the studio next door, remembered Ramond, “and he did play with us in the studio as a joke to wind up Chris Glen who was always late for the recording sessions.”
Raymond also played on the 1982 MSG double live album “One Night at Budokan” – recorded in Tokyo, Japan on August 12th 1981 – featuring both of the mentioned songs and the Schenker/Raymond track “Courvoisier Concerto”. Powell and Raymond both left the band, being replaced by SAHB’s Ted McKenna (who himself passed away earlier this year, and whose career has been chronicled here at Stargazed Magazine) and Tommy Eyre for the following ’82 studio album “Assault Attack”.
Raymond next joined Waysted in 1982, the band formed by UFO founding bassist Pete Way after abandoning UFO following 1982’s “Mechanix”. Way had first joined up with Motörhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke in Fastway but had already left the band before the recording of their self-titled 1983 debut. Pete Way was credited on the cover but the bass guitar heard on the album was actually played by Mick Feat. Either way, Paul Raymond played keyboards and rhythm guitar on Waysted’s 1983 debut “Vices”, an album featuring the Raymond composition “All Belongs to You”.
Raymond left Waysted in 1984 and re-joined UFO for 1985’s “Misdemeanor” – co-writing “Dream the Dream” with Mogg – but soon quit the band again, in August 1986, being replaced by David Jacobson for the remainder of the current US tour.
Raymond moved to Japan in 1988 and recorded the first Paul Raymond Project album, 1989’s “Under The Rising Sun”, with former Angel vocalist Frank DiMino and local musicians such as Loudness bass player Masayoshi Yamashita.
PRP recordings with all Japanese band members from 1990-92 were released in 1997 under the title “Raw Material”. Inspired by the popularity of bands like The Black Crows and The Quireboys, Raymond went back to his roots for that album, with rock’n’roll piano, sleazy Hammond and slide guitars.
Raymond re-joined UFO again in 1993, recording 1995’s “Walk on Water” with the classic late-1970s UFO line-up with Mogg, Schenker, Way and Parker. Raymond would continue with UFO for the rest of his life, following a break that lasted between 1998 and 2003. The Paul Raymond Project album “Man on a Mission” arrived in 1999 (an album made in collaboration with guitarist Andy Simmons, something that continued on the 2008 album “Virtual Insanity”) but Raymond also took on a much different gig during the UFO hiatus, playing jazz piano at a hotel and several casinos in London. This style of playing standards and arrangements of popular music was also captured on Raymond’s 2005 solo album “Secret Life”, with arrangements varying quite widely from jazz to big-band swing and even a little bit of gospel thrown into the mix.
Before reuniting with Schenker for another UFO album, “Covenant” in the year 2000, Mogg/Way recorded two albums together. Raymond appears on the latter of these, 1999’s “Chocolate Box”. Raymond himself eventually also re-joined forces with Schenker, playing keyboards on two tracks on the 2011 album by Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock. The following Schenker tour featured a setlist primarily composed of old UFO material, along with Scorpions songs and some older solo band material.
Raymond eventually re-joined UFO and stayed with the band until his death, playing on all UFO albums from 2004’s “You Are Here” (featuring Raymond composition “Sympathy”) onwards. Raymond had Mogg co-writes on all latter day albums: “Black And Blue” and “Kingston Town” on “The Monkey Puzzle” (2006), “On The Waterfront”, “Forsaken” and “Villains & Thieves” on “The Visitor” (2009), “Fight Night”, “The Fear” and “Bag-O-Blues” on “Seven Deadly” (2012) and “The Real Deal” and “King Of The Hill” on 2015’s “A Conspiracy of Stars”.
At the same time, he found time to record two further Paul Raymond Project albums, 2013’s “Terms & Conditions Apply” and this year’s “High Definition”. “I think this is my best solo work so far”, said Raymond concerning his tribute to talented musicians and songwriters, giving a new spin to songs by David Bowie, Small Faces, The Everly Brothers, The Kinks and Andy Fraser of Free, amongst others.
That album also featured “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Heart Full Of Soul”, two songs also covered by UFO on an album where Raymond felt his input had been reduced to a minimum. UFO’s 22nd and final studio album, “The Salentino Cuts”, was released in 2017 and featured the mentioned songs by Bill Withers and The Yardbirds alongside covers of songs by The Doors, The Animals, Steppenwolf, John Mellencamp, Montrose, Mountain, Tom Petty, Robin Trower, ZZ Top and grunge super group Mad Season.
In addition to Paul Raymond, the line-up on the final album featured two of the original 1968 founding members – vocalist Phil Mogg and drummer Andy Parker – along with guitarist Vinnie Moore (who joined UFO in 2003) and bassist Rob De Luca (who joined in 2008). This was also the line-up that had been touring at the time of Raymond’s passing.
Following Raymond’s death, UFO wrote that they were “too shell-shocked to write anything other than to share Sandra’s post”. “I’ve just heard the sad news of Paul Raymond’s passing,” wrote Pete Way on Facebook, adding “I won’t pretend that we were always the best of friends but I am completely shattered to hear this. My sincere condolences go out to his family, particularly Sandra. I’m gonna miss you mate!” Michael Schenker added, “It is unbelievable. Paul Raymond was a great musician and loved Rock and Roll. My condolences to his loved ones. Rest in peace my friend.” Saxon, Def Leppard, Tesla, Foghat, Kirk Hammett, Doug Aldrich and other peers also sent messages of support.
It is as yet unknown how Raymond’s death will affect the upcoming U.S. dates on their farewell tour that begin in October.
Paul Raymond album discography:
1968: Plastic Penny – Two Sides of a Penny
1969: Plastic Penny – Currency
1969: Chicken Shack – 100 Ton Chicken
1970: Chicken Shack – Accept
1971: Savoy Brown – Street Corner Talking
1972: Savoy Brown – Hellbound Train
1972: Savoy Brown – Lion’s Share
1973: Savoy Brown – Jack the Toad
1974: Jackie Lynton – The Jackie Lynton Album
1975: Danny Kirwan – Second Chapter
1975: Savoy Brown – Wire Fire
1976: Savoy Brown – Skin ‘n’ Bone
1977: UFO – Lights Out
1978: UFO – Obsession
1979: UFO – Strangers in the Night: A Double Live Album
1980: UFO – No Place to Run
1981: The Michael Schenker Group – MSG
1982: The Michael Schenker Group – One Night at Budokan
1983: Waysted – Vices
1985: UFO – Misdemeanor
1989: Paul Raymond Project – Under The Rising Sun
1995: UFO – Walk on Water
1997: Paul Raymond Project – Raw Material (1990-92)
1999: Paul Raymond Project – Man on a Mission
1999: Mogg/Way – Chocolate Box
2004: UFO – You Are Here
2005: Paul Raymond – Secret Life
2005: UFO – Showtime (live)
2006: UFO – The Monkey Puzzle
2008: Paul Raymond Project – Virtual Insanity
2009: UFO – The Visitor
2011: Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock
2012: UFO – Seven Deadly
2013: Paul Raymond Project – Terms & Conditions Apply
2015: UFO – A Conspiracy of Stars
2017: UFO – The Salentino Cuts
2019: Paul Raymond Project – High Definition