Paul Raymond, UFO Keyboardist and Guitarist, Dies
Paul Raymond, the keyboardist and guitarist from UFO who also did stints in Savoy Brown and the Michael Schenker Group, has died only a few days after the band concluded a tour. He was 73.
The news was broken this morning (April 13) on his Facebook page. "Hi to all the fans and people who knew Paul! This is Sandra, Paul's life partner speaking," she wrote. "With a desperate and broken heart, fully in tears and pains that feel like they will kill me I have to tell you that my most beautiful and beloved darling Paul Raymond has passed away today. The 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 U.K. & Ireland and he was looking forward to the rest of this year's tour."
She included a photo that was taken earlier this week when they checked out of their hotel after the last date of the tour before returning to their home in Germany. Sandra concluded the post by saying, "I will always love him and I hope he will rest in peace until I'll see him again on the other side!!! I love you so much Paul 💔😪 Sandra."
UFO wrote that they were "too shell-shocked" by the news and shared Sandra's update. They included a photo of Raymond from that last concert and added, "Thank you to everyone for your very kind and supportive messages."
Born Nov. 16, 1945 in St. Albans, England, Raymond started out playing jazz in early 1964, and formed a psychedelic prog band, Plastic Penny, in 1967. The group, which included future Elton John drummer Nigel Olsson, had a Top 10 U.K. hit with its debut, a cover of the Box Tops' "Everything I Am," but broke up towards the end of 1968.
From there, he joined the British blues band Chicken Shack, replacing Christine McVie when she became a member of Fleetwood Mac. But after they were dropped by their label following the commercial failure of 1970's Accept, Raymond and two of his bandmates left for Savoy Brown, which itself had seen three of its members depart for Foghat.
Raymond spent five years in Savoy Brown, but during a 1976 show in Saginaw, Mich., where they were on the same bill as UFO, he got into a conversation with bassist Pete Way, who said that UFO were planning to fire keyboardist Danny Peyronel because they wanted someone 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.
However, in 1981, tensions in the band were running high and Schenker, who had jumped ship to form his self-named group a year earlier, offered him a job. But soon after the release of MSG, Raymond had what his website's bio described as a "non-music-related altercation" with Schenker and was let go.
He then worked with Way in Waysted and returned to a new lineup of UFO in 1984. But he left after two years, midway through a U.S. tour, due to numerous problems within the band. In 1993, he, Schenker and Way reunited with Phil Mogg. But when Schenker walked out mid-gig in Japan, Raymond decided it was time to leave the road. He eventually took a much different gig, playing jazz piano at a hotel and several casinos in London.
UFO came calling again, in 2003, and Raymond stayed with the band until his death. It is unknown as of press time how Raymond's death will affect the upcoming U.S. dates on their farewell tour that begin in October.