Top 10 Michael Schenker Group Songs

Michael Schenker Group Songs

Feature Photo: Brambilla Simone /

Formed in London in 1979 by the renowned guitarist Michael Schenker, known for his stints with Scorpions and UFO, The Michael Schenker Group (MSG) carved its niche in the English hard rock scene. The band saw a significant evolution in 1986 when Schenker teamed up with vocalist Robin McAuley to create the McAuley Schenker Group, a collaboration that lasted until 1993. Following a brief hiatus, MSG was revived in 1996 by Schenker.

Throughout its history, MSG experienced a revolving door of talented musicians, with Schenker being the steadfast figure in its lineup. The band’s journey began when Schenker parted ways with UFO and moved to London, seeking to establish a band that aligned more closely with his musical vision. Shortly after his arrival, he united with vocalist Gary Barden, bassist Billy Sheehan, and drummer Denny Carmassi to form the Michael Schenker Group. Their second album, “MSG,” was a success, especially in the UK where it secured the 14th spot on the charts. A highlight of their early years was a concert at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan, which led to the live album “One Night at Budokan,” achieving silver certification in the UK.

By October 1983, MSG released “Built to Destroy,” introducing keyboardist Andy Nye and featuring Derek St. Holmes. The album’s promotion included tours across the UK and Europe, including opening for Iron Maiden. Their journey during this period culminated in a final show at the Dortmund festival in December 1983, after which Schenker transitioned to form the McAuley Schenker Group.

#10 – After the Rain

Kicking off the top 10 hits of the Michael Schenker Group is “After the Rain” from their latest release, Immortal. This album, a testament to the band’s enduring spirit, came out in 2021 and is filled with compelling rockers that highlight the group’s undiminished talent, decades into their career. Aptly titled Immortal, the album serves as a fitting tribute to the group’s lasting legacy, particularly honoring Michael Schenker’s remarkable 50-year journey in music. The track “After the Rain” stands out, thanks in part to Michael Voss’s exquisite lyrics and vocal arrangements, which seamlessly complement Schenker’s masterful musical backdrop, showcasing the perfect harmony between the two Michaels’ artistry.

# 9 – Still Love That Little Devil

Continuing with our Top 10 Michael Schenker Group Songs, we head on over to the band’s fourth studio album called Built to Destroy. The album was released in 1983. That opening guitar riff reminds me a bit of Foreigner. I love the vocal sound on this track. It’s recorded dry without any echo or reverb, which lends itself to sounding very genuine and raw which is simply awesome and fits the song so well.

# 8 – Dancer

Written by Michael Schenker and Graham Bonnet, the rocker  “Dancer” was released on their 1982 album Assault Attack. Marking the third studio album by the Michael Schenker Group, the LP stands out as the singular project graced by the vocal talents of Graham Bonnet, famously associated with Rainbow. This significant work was brought to life in France, within the walls of the Château d’Hérouville, under the seasoned production of Martin Birch. The album showcases Michael Schenker’s distinctive guitar riffs, Graham Bonnet’s powerful vocals, Chris Glen anchoring the rhythm on bass, and Ted McKenna’s dynamic drumming. Complementing this lineup, Tommy Eyre contributed his keyboard prowess, adding an extra layer to the album’s rich sound palette.

# 7 – City Lights

In the number seven position, we have the dark rocker called “City Lights.” The song was released on the album  In the Midst of Beauty. It was the thirteenth album in the discography of the various incarnations of M.S.G. and the tenth studio effort under the Michael Schenker Group banner, hit the shelves in 2008. This release was significant for heralding the return of original MSG vocalist Gary Barden to the lineup. Alongside Barden’s vocals, the album features Michael Schenker’s iconic guitar work, with Schenker also taking on production duties. The ensemble was further enriched by Don Airey’s mastery on keyboards and the B3 organ, Neil Murray holding down the groove on bass, and the skilled Simon Phillips on drums,

# 6 – On and On

This one starts out slow and a bit creepy, but you know what is coming next. The group reminds me a bit of Rainbow on this track. MSG, released in 1981, is the sophomore album by the band.  Under the helm of producer Ron Nevison, the album’s production soared beyond its budget, leaving the band in a financial strain that would linger throughout their journey. This album marked a reunion for Schenker with Paul Raymond, his ex-bandmate from UFO, and it would be the final record featuring Gary Barden on vocals until the 1983 release of Built to Destroy.

The lineup for MSG included Michael Schenker leading with his guitar, Gary Barden on both lead and backing vocals, Chris Glen handling the bass, Cozy Powell behind the drums, and Paul Raymond on keyboards and rhythm guitar. The recording was further enriched by the contributions of additional musicians, notably Stephen Stills, who was a real surprise to see here and Billy Nicholls, who provided backing vocals, adding depth and texture to the album’s sound

# 5 – In Search of the Peace of Mind

Landing at the sixth spot is a track that Michael Schenker holds close to his heart, describing it as the anthem of his life. “In Search of the Peace of Mind” was penned by a young Schenker at just 15 years old.  This piece made its initial appearance on the debut Scorpions album, The song unfolds in two distinct parts: it begins with a beautifully melancholic section, which then transitions through a breakdown into a second part that carries a more ominous tone. This composition showcases Schenker’s early talent and the deep, introspective themes that have colored his music career.

# 4 – Assault Attack

The smoking song “Assault Attack” appeared as the title track to the Assault Attack album. The album was released in 1982. The song was composed by Michael Schenker, Graham Bonnet, Chris Glen, and Ted McKenna.  The song features the powerhouse vocals of Graham Bonnet, who sang lead vocals for so many legendary groups, including Rainbow, Blackthorne, Anthem, Alcatrazz, and many more. This one rocks hard.

# 3 – Attack of the Mad Axeman

I love the way this one opens with a screaming lead guitar solo by Michael Schenker. It then pivots into a cooking groove that reminds me a little bit of the Alice Cooper Band. The song “Attack Of The Mad Axeman” was released on the band’s second album, MSG, which was released in 1982. Make sure to listen to this one all the way through because there is a radical time change in the middle of the song that is simply mesmerizing.  

# 2 – Cry For The Nation

This is such an interesting piece of music that way it opens up with that circus like music and then literally explodes into a rock and roll extravaganza. The soling on this one is off the charts. This version of the song was released in 2009. The band’s debut album was originally released in 1980. It was produced by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover.

# 1 – Armed and Ready

“Armed and Ready” kicks off the Michael Schenker Group’s debut album, marking a new chapter for Michael Schenker after parting ways with UFO to form his own band. This uptempo track set the tone for the band’s musical direction, offering fans a taste of the dynamic sound that the Michael Schenker Group would become known for. Released as a single under the Chrysalis Records label, “Armed and Ready” was complemented by the band’s instrumental piece “Bijou Pleasurette” on the B-side, showcasing the band’s versatility and Schenker’s prowess as a guitarist from the outset.

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