A missing link between hard rock and early metal, as well as the new wave of British heavy metal itself, UFO's beginnings were in the late '60s in Great Britain as a band called Hocus Pocus formed by singer Phil Mogg, bassist Pete Way and drummer Andy Parker. Initially a space rock-prone outfit, UFO moved into their highly influential hard rock direction with the arrival of 19-year-old ex-Scorpions guitar phenom Michael Schenker in 1973. A string of albums that gained them massive popularity in Japan and Germany (but not in the U.K. or U.S.) were released throughout the decade until Schenker left the group in 1978 amid alcohol-related and creative issues. Modestly successful records followed for another decade, after which UFO began to vacillate between going on hiatus and reuniting (up until the present day). Still, the Phenomenon, Lights Out and Obsession-era records are frequently name-checked by countless modern metal big shots as an influence.