Who the hell is John Norum ?

The current state of affairs with UFO would seem to suggest that the band (minus Schenker) are all set to team up with John Norum. Due to the legal problems with the name 'UFO' since Schenker quit, it would appear that the remaining members of the band are to join Norum on his next solo album (pending official confirmation). So, who is this guy? Since putting a quick note based on all I knew on this page I've been SLAMMED by a Norum fan, who has sent me all there is to know about the guy (except perhaps what he had for breakfast this morning !). A copy of his email is below, with my original version below that for reference! Enjoy.

Tom's (biased ?) history of John Norum

Is he worthy? Fuck yea he is!

I saw the feeble attempt at the JN discography and review on your web page and it is very biased and very one-sided.

John Norum got his start by playing guitar in a Swed band working with some idiot named Eddie Meduza. John did 2 albums with this guy. Promising but nothing exciting.

Afterward, John played with Europe, which shall I say also bit very much. He did 3 studio albums with Europe. His playing was there and at times, did sound like a cross between George Lynch and the great Michael Schenker--but the rest of the band had no balls.

Then, John Norum went on to do two albums under the name, "Tone Norum". I haven't been able to find these so I don't have any idea as to who John plays with and what they sound like.

DAVES NOTE: I've been informed by a visitor to these pages that Tone Norum is actually John Norums sister! After these albums, John put out "Total Control" featuring Philo's version of "Wild One". If you're not a Thin Lizzy fan Dave, then you really can't fully enjoy and appreciate UFO. They are the only real "semi-cult" band today that has that British persuasion. You probably know what I mean. Anyway, I've never heard this album, so I can't refute Wendi's comments about it.

[Dave's note: I am definately a Lizzy fan and agree totally with these comments ... just thought I'd make that clear !]

After "Total Control", Norum hooks up with Don Dokken. This was a good idea in theory since Norum at times sounds like George Lynch, but was ultimately a mistake working with a songwriter who likes to work in a format. Don and his production kept Norum from breaking into his psychotic lead breaks and fills. I was glad to see Norum leave.

After Don Dokken's "Up From The Ashes", John hooked up with Glenn Hughes and Accept's bassist Peter Baltes (who also played on the Dokken album) to write "Face The Truth". A bunch of mindless Yngwie type twills and "widdle-widdles". Come off it. It's obviously that this Wendi chick never caught Norum's vibe.

[Daves Note: I never said mindless ... and I must defend Wendi here by saying that this was my comment !]

Norum has it all on this album, speed (as evidence by Wendi's comment--but he's actually faster than Yngwie), emotion, crunch and great songwriting skills. He actually is nothing like Yngwie. Yngwie plays at only one speed and all his shit sounds the same. Norum knows how to change tempos, work melodies and create lead breaks MS would be envious about, really. And, his sound or production kills! After MSG's second album, M.S.'s songwriting skills started to falter. His McAuley/Schenker stuff was even juvenile. It became clear to me that Schenker needed UFO to write great hard rock songs. On the contrary, Norum can stand very comfortably on his own.

Anyway, after "Face the Truth" John played on Glen Hughes's "L.A. Blues autority album". If you want to know how well John Norum will fit into UFO check out the first song, "The Boy Can Sing The Blues". He sounds like Schenker would if Schenker was back on drugs! Fuck yeah!

John then does a rendition of Thin Lizzy's "Massacre" on a Thin Lizzy Swed compiliation. It sounds very in step with the version found on "Johnny The Fox". Phil would be proud.

After his work with Glenn, John released his most current work, and a complete masterpiece. This could of been the record that convinced Phil (and you know it was Phil who made the decision on this, not Pete) that John Norum was the man. I won't say anything more about this album other than it is a breaktaking piece of work. His playing, the production, but most importantly, his songwriting abilities will rejuvenate UFO as Sykes did with Lizzy.

Pretty bold statements coming from a die hard Schenker fan. My name is even featured on Schenkers' "Thank You" album.

Schenker was missed because Chapman sucked real bad. This time around, Schenker won't be missed.

[Dave's Note: The opinions of the writer of this piece do not necessarily represent my views etc. etc. ... see message I received from a Chapman fan!]


And now my earlier version !

Norum first (?) surfaced with the Swedish band 'Europe' on the album 'The Final Countdown' - an overly commercial effort with far too much emphasis on synths, but he left after disagreements with the bands vocalist Joey Tempest.

After this he joined Don Dokkens band before embarking on a solo career with `Total Control' on CBS (BET 44220, 1988) on which he wrote every song except the Phil Lynott song 'Wild One' and the Vinnie Vincent `Back On The Streets'. Apparantly he also sang lead on all but three of the songs. Wendi's assessment of this album is "another baby faced Swede slinging a white Fender strat."

This was followed up by a second solo effort in '92 featuring Glenn Hughes on vocals, along with a song writing credit with and guest appearance by Tempest. Norum seems to be a bit of a Lizzy fan since this album also contains a couple of covers including a version of 'Opium Trail' (apparantly he saw them nine times in Sweden). I don't know what Wendi thinks of this one, but if you ignore the occasional Yngwie type widdle-widdles it's quite a strong album all round.

Next stop UFO ? Watch this space.

And comments on Chapman vs. Schenker from David Nakamura

I feel very strongly that the commentary by the 'John Norum' fan on the work that Paul Chapman has done for UFO (No Place To Run, TWTWATI, Mechanix, Making Contact, etc.,) is UNFAIR. It's no secret that after Michael Schenker left the band, UFO has been underrated. Maybe Chapman doesn't have the flair of Schenker (long blonde hair, flying-v, etc.), but just sample some of his work: the searing, red-hot and sweet fading-out solos on 'Gone in the Night' and 'No Place to Run' are UFO classics. I invite UFO fans to re-sample these works for starters. Paul Chapman has been MORE than adequate for UFO as far as I'm concerned-- and most of all, he's been THERE! (Please note: I do not doubt the prodigal and prodigious talent of Michael Schenker nor do I doubt the commercial success that UFO achieved with him at the axe; but it seems to me that Paul Chapman has been under-appreciated as the more-reliable, other axeman of UFO). I think that he is great, and I hope that his impact on UFO has yet to be fully appreciated.

Thank you for considering this appeal,


David K. Nakamura

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