Scorpions are a hard rock/heavy metal band from Hannover, Germany, best known for their 1980s rock anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and their singles "Wind of Change", "No One Like You", "Still Loving You", and "Send Me an Angel". The band has sold over 70 million records worldwide.SCORPIONS GENRES
Formation and early history (1965-1973)
Rudolf Schenker, the band's rhythm guitarist, set out to find a band in 1965. At first, the band was school-kind with beat influences and Schenker himself on vocals. Things began to come together in 1969 when Schenker's younger brother Michael and vocalist Klaus Meine joined the band. In 1972 the group recorded and released their debut album Lonesome Crow with Lothar Heimberg on bass and Wolfgang Dziony on drums. During the Lonesome Crow tour, Scorpions opened for upcoming British band UFO. At the end of the tour the members of UFO offered guitarist Michael Schenker the lead guitar job; an offer which he soon accepted. Uli Roth was then called in temporarily to finish off the tour.
The departure of Michael Schenker led to the break up of the Scorpions. In 1973, guitarist Uli Roth, a friend of the Schenker brothers, was in a band called Dawn Road. He had been offered the role as lead guitarist in Scorpions after Michael Schenker's departure but turned the band down. Rudolf decided that he wanted to work with Roth but did not want to resurrect the last Scorpions lineup.
Rudolf Schenker attended some of Dawn Road's rehearsals and ultimately decided to join the band, which consisted of Roth, Francis Buchholz (bass),Achim Kirschning (keyboards) and Jurgen Rosenthal (drums). Roth persuaded Rudolf Schenker to invite Klaus Meine to join, which he did soon after. While there were more members of Dawn Road than Scorpions in the band, they decided to use the Scorpions name because they had released an album and were known in the German hard rock scene.
Rise to popularity (1974-1978)
In 1974 the new line-up of Scorpions released Fly to the Rainbow. The album proved to be more successful than Lonesome Crow and songs such as "Speedy's Coming" and the title track began to establish the band's sound. Achim Kirschning decided to leave after the recordings but subsequently guested on keyboards for the next two albums. Soon after, JÃ¼rgen Rosenthal had to leave as he was being drafted into the army, and was replaced by a Belgian drummer, Rudy Lenners. He later joined German progressive rock band called Eloy in 1976 and recorded three albums with them. It wasn't until the following year that the band hit their stride with the release of In Trance. In Trance marked the beginning of Scorpions' long collaboration with German producer Dieter Dierks. The album was a huge step forward for Scorpions and firmly established their hard rock formula, while at the same time garnering a substantial fan base, both at home and abroad.
In 1976, Scorpions released Virgin Killer. The album's cover, which featured a fully nude prepubescent girl, brought the band considerable criticism and was ultimately pulled or replaced in several countries. In spite of the controversy - lead singer Klaus Meine even expressed shock - the album garnered significant praise from critics and fans alike. The following year, Rudy Lenners resigned due to health reasons and was replaced by Herman Rarebell.
The follow-up to Virgin Killer, Taken by Force, was the first Scorpions record to be aggressively promoted in the United States. The album's single, "Steamrock Fever", was added to some of RCA's radio promotional records. Roth was not happy with the label's efforts and the commercial direction the band was taking. Although he performed on the band's Japan tour, he departed to form his own band, Electric Sun prior to the release of the resultant double live album Tokyo Tapes. Tokyo Tapes was released in the US and Europe six months after its Japanese release. By that time in mid 1978, Scorpions recruited new guitarist Matthias Jabs.
Commercial success (1979-1990)
Following the addition of Jabs, Scorpions left RCA for Mercury Records to record their next album. Just weeks after being evicted from UFO for his alcohol abuse, Michael Schenker also returned to the group for a short period during the recordings of the album. The result was Lovedrive. Containing such fan favorites as "Loving You Sunday Morning", "Holiday" and the instrumental "Coast to Coast", the "Scorpions formula" of hard rock songs mixed in with melodic ballads was firmly cemented. Lovedrive peaked at #55 on the US charts proving that Scorpions were gathering an international following. After the completion and release of the album, the band decided to retain Michael in the band, thus forcing Matthias Jabs to leave. But after a few weeks of the tour, Michael, still coping with alcoholism, kept missing a few gigs and Matthias Jabs was brought back to fill in for him on those occasions when he couldn't perform. In April 1979, during their tour in France, Matthias Jabs was brought in permanently to replace Michael Schenker.
In 1980, the band released Animal Magnetism, again with a provocative cover showing a girl kneeling in front of a man's crotch. While Animal Magnetism contained classics such as "The Zoo" and "Make It Real", it was a critical disappointment when compared with Lovedrive.
The band then began working on their next album. Blackout was released in 1982 and quickly became the band's best selling to date, eventually going platinum. Blackout spawned three hit singles: "Dynamite," "Blackout" and "No One Like You".
It was not until 1984 and the release of Love at First Sting that the band finally cemented their status as rock superstars. Propelled by the single "Rock You Like a Hurricane", Love at First Sting went up the charts and went double platinum a few months after its release. MTV gave the album's videos "Rock You Like a Hurricane", "Bad Boys Running Wild", "Big City Nights", and the power ballad "Still Loving You" significant airtime, greatly contributing to the album's success.
The band toured extensively behind Love at First Sting and decided to record and release their second live album, World Wide Live. Recorded over a year long period and released at the height of their popularity, the album was another success for the band, peaking at #17 on the charts.
After their extensive world tours, the band finally returned to the studio to record Savage Amusement. Released in 1988, four years after their previous studio album, Savage Amusement represented a more polished pop sound similar to the style Def Leppard had found success with.
On the Savage Amusement tour in '88, Scorpions became only the second Western group to play in the Soviet Union (the first being Uriah Heep in December 1987), with a performance in Leningrad. The following year the band returned to perform at the Moscow Music Peace Festival.
Wishing to distance themselves from the Savage Amusement style, the band separated from their long-time producer and "Sixth Scorpion," Dieter Dierks, ultimately replacing him with Keith Olsen when they returned to the studio in 1990. Crazy World was released that same year and displayed a less polished sound. The album was a hit, propelled in large part by the massive success of the ballad "Wind of Change".
Later days (1991-present)
After the release of Crazy World Francis Buchholz, the band's long-serving bassist, left the group. Replacing him was Ralph Rieckermann who handled bass duties until 2002.
In 1993 Scorpions released Face the Heat. For the recording process, Scorpions brought in producer Bruce Fairbairn. The album's sound was more metallic than melodic. Face the Heat was a moderate success.
In 1995, a new live album, Live Bites, was produced. The disc documented live performances from their Savage Amusement Tour in 1988, all the way through the Face the Heat Tour in 1994. While the album had a much cleaner sound in comparison to their best-selling live album, World Wide Live, it was not as successful.
Prior to recording their 13th studio album, 1996's Pure Instinct, drummer Herman Rarebell left the band to set up a recording company. Curt Cress took charge of the drumsticks for the album before James Kottak took over permanently.
1999 saw the release of Eye II Eye and a significant change in the band's style, mixing in elements of pop and techno. While the album was slickly produced, fans were unsure what to make of the band, responding negatively to almost everything from pop-soul backup singers to the electronic drums present on several songs. The video to the album's first European single, "To Be No. 1", featured a Monica Lewinsky lookalike which did little to improve its popularity.
The following year Scorpions had a fairly successful collaboration with the Berlin Philharmonic that resulted in a 10-song album named Moment of Glory. The album went a long way towards rebuilding the band's reputation after the harsh criticism of Eye II Eye.
In 2001, Scorpions released Acoustica, a live unplugged album featuring acoustic reworkings of the band's biggest hits, plus new tracks. While appreciated by fans, the lack of a new studio album was frustrating to some, and Acoustica did little to return the band to the spotlight.
In 2004, the band released Unbreakable, an album that was hailed by critics as a long awaited return to form. The album was the heaviest the band had released since Face the Heat, and fans responded well to tracks such as "New Generation", "Love 'em or Leave 'em" and "Deep and Dark". Whether a result of poor promotion by the band's label or the long time between studio releases, Unbreakable received little airplay and did not chart. Scorpions toured extensively behind the album, and played as special guests with Judas Priest during the 2005 British tour.
In early 2006, Scorpions released the DVD 1 Night in Vienna that included 14 live tracks and a complete rockumentary.
In May of 2007, Scorpions released Humanity - Hour 1 in Europe. Humanity - Hour 1 became available in the U.S. on August 28, 2007 on New Door Records, entering the Billboard charts at number #63.
Traditional Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
SCORPIONS LYRICAL THEMES
Life, Society, Love, Inner Struggles, Rock
Germany (Hannover/Lower Saxony), formed in 1965
SCORPIONS CURRENT RECORD LABEL
SCORPIONS CURRENT LINE-UP
Klaus Meine - Vocals (Mushrooms, Copernicus)
Matthias Jabs - Guitar (ex-Fargo)
Rudolph Schenker - Guitar
Pawel Maciwoda-Jastrzêbski - Bass (TSA, ex-Virgin Snatch)
James Kottak - Drums (ex-Dio, Black Sheep (US), Buster Brown, Krunk)
SCORPIONS PREVIOUS LINE-UP
Wolfgang Dziony (-1972),
Jürgen Rosenthal (1972-1974),
Rudy Lenners (1975-1976) (Steelover),
Herman Rarebell (1977-1995),(ex-Fargo)
Curt Cress (1996)
Karl-Heinz Vollmer (-1969),
Michael Schenker (1969-1973, 1979) (UFO, Michael Schenker Group),
Ulrich Roth (1973-1978) (Uli Jon Roth)
Achim Kirchoff (-1972),
Lothar Heimberg (1972-1973),
Francis Buchholz (1974-1990),
Ralph Rieckermann (1990-2004)