Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Sting in their Tale....The Scorpions

The very first time I'd ever heard a Scorpions track was when I was in London in 87 just prior to a Contiki Piss up tour of Europe, I'd went to Picadilly Circus to get some clothes after British Airways lost my fkn luggage...and while I was doing that I grabbed a couple of cassettes and a walkman at the record store in the circus [whose name eludes me at the moment]..anyway, One of the tapes I got a was a kerrang double compilation  and it had "Rock you like a hurricane" on it...and thus began my like of the scorps

Scorpions are from Hanover and were formed in 1965 by guitarist Rudolf Schenker, who is the band's only constant member (although Klaus Meine has been lead singer for all their studio albums). 

They are known for their 1980s rock anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and many singles, such as "No One Like You", "Send Me an Angel", "Still Loving You", and "Wind of Change". The band was ranked No. 46 on VH1's Greatest Artists of Hard Rock program. "Rock You Like a Hurricane" is also No. 18 on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.....They are one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, with sales hovering between  75 to over 100 Million records worldwide.

Rudolf Schenker, the band's rhythm guitarist launched the band in 1965. At first, the band had beat influences and Schenker himself did the vocals. Things began to come together in 1970 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. Near the end of the tour, guitarist Michael Schenker accepted a offer of lead guitar for UFO. Uli Roth, a friend of the Schenker brothers, was then called in to finish off the tour.

The departure of Michael Schenker led to the breakup of the band. In 1973, Uli Roth, who had helped Scorpions complete the Lonesome Crow tour, was offered the role as lead guitarist, but turned the band down, preferring instead to remain in the band Dawn Road. Rudolf Schenker eventually decided that he wanted to work with Roth, 

but did not want to resurrect the last Scorpions lineup. He 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 Jürgen Rosenthal (drums). Roth and Buchholz persuaded Rudolf Schenker to invite Klaus Meine to join on vocals, which he soon did. While there were more members of Dawn Road than Scorpions in the band, they decided to use the Scorpions name because it was well known in the German hard rock scene and an album had been released under that name

Following the addition of Jabs, Scorpions left RCA for Mercury Records in the States and Harvest/EMI Electrola worldwide to record their next album Lovedrive. Just weeks after being ejected from UFO for his alcohol abuse, Michael Schenker also returned to the group for a short period during the recordings for the album. This gave the band three guitarists (though Schenker's contribution to the final release was limited to only three songs). The result was Lovedrive, an album which some critics consider to be the pinnacle of their career. Containing such fan favourites as "Loving You Sunday Morning", "Always Somewhere", "Holiday" and the instrumental "Coast to Coast", it firmly cemented the 'Scorpions formula' of hard rock songs mixed with melodic ballads. 

The album's provocative artwork was named "Best album sleeve of 1979" by Playboy magazine, yet ultimately changed for American release. Lovedrive reached No. 55 on the US charts, demonstrating that the band was gathering an international following. After the completion and release of the album the band decided to retain Michael in the band, forcing Jabs to leave. However after a few weeks of the tour, Michael, still coping with alcoholism missed a number of gigs and at one point collapsed on stage. Jabs was brought back to fill in for him on those occasions when he could not perform. In April 1979, during their tour in France, Jabs was brought in permanently to replace Michael.

Lets pause for a moment and talk about the Virgin Killer album....How anyone in their right mind thought this cover photo was a good idea is beyond me. The Scorps have several controversial covers in their discography, but this one of an erotically posed 10-year-old girl takes the cake (the shattered glass pattern obscuring her genitals is part of the image).

 The inspiration came solely from label RCA Records’ marketing personnel; the band members had nothing to do with it, but early on they did stand behind it and tried to defend its use as being an artistically symbolic representation of the title track’s lyrical theme: that time is the killer of virgin innocence. Not surprisingly, it was soon replaced by a more acceptable alternative cover depicting the band (in a rather ridiculous pose). More recently, some band members, in particular former lead guitarist Uli Roth, have expressed regret over the cover and their original support of it.

On the Savage Amusement tour in 1988, Scorpions became only the second Western group (not American) to play in the Soviet Union. Uriah Heep had performed in December, 1987 in Leningrad. The following year the band returned to perform at the Moscow Music Peace Festival. As a result, Scorpions developed an extended Russian fan base and still return to perform.

Wishing to distance themselves from the Savage Amusement style, the band separated from their long-time producer and "Sixth Scorpion", Dieter Dierks, 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 propelled in large part by the massive success of the ballad "Wind of Change". The song muses on the socio-political changes that were occurring in Eastern Europe and in other parts of the world at the end of the Cold War. On July 21, 1990 they joined many other guests for Roger Waters' massive performance of The Wall in Berlin. Scorpions performed both versions of "In the Flesh" from The Wall. After the Crazy World tour Francis Buchholz, the band's long-serving bassist, left the group.

Always wondered what happened to that guy and then I found out about the departure..."In 1992 Bassist Francis Buchholz was fired from the band for theft of 10 million dollars just before “Face the Heat”....Either they payed him shit or he was a greedy bastard. What a stupid thing! They were on top of the world at that time too...

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 November 2009, Scorpions announced that their 17th studio album, Sting in the Tail, would be released in early 2010, recorded in Hanover with Swedish producers Mikael "Nord" Andersson and Martin Hansen. Sting in the Tail was released on March 23, 2010.

On January 24, 2010, the band announced their intentions for Sting in the Tail to be their last album, with the tour supporting it being their final tour, although the band later made the decision to continue recording past the end of the tour....In 2010, Scorpions were enshrined in Hollywood's Rock Walk in a handprint ceremony

An excellent album of re-recordings of older songs, Comeblack, was released on 7 November 2011.

Frontman Klaus Meine was asked in a July 2011 interview about the future of Scorpions and whether the band was going to make another album. He replied, "Our newest project comes out in the next few months. It gives you a chance to experience the Scorpions in 3D. You can actually feel the smoke string out of the guitar like it is a live show. It is an incredible experience. The DVD features our concerts in 3D in Germany. We are just about to do the mix and it should be in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia hopefully soon. Indeed, the strong 3D technology makes us feel like pioneers after all these years (he says, laughing). We have an album coming out later this year featuring classics. You know our love for them. The '60s was the era for our inspiration. Our movie/documentary also is soon to be released. We have cameras with us on tours, so this documentary is being made during our tours. It also gives you a picture of the Scorpions career and journey."

almost a year in advance it was announced Scorpions would headline the Wacken Open Air Festival on 4 August.....

Despite ongoing rumour's of a break up or retirement, guitarist Matthias Jabs told AZ Central on June 12, 2012 that Scorpions would not be splitting up. A month later, Jabs told Billboard magazine that the band has been working on an album that will contain unreleased songs they recorded for the albums Blackout, Love at First Sting, Savage Amusement and Crazy World and plan to release it in 2013. 

In April Scorpions announced shows in Russia and Belarus with an Orchestra in October 2013.

Band members

Current members
Rudolf Schenker — rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals (1965–present)
Klaus Meine — lead vocals (1970–present)
Matthias Jabs — lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1978, 1979–present)
James Kottak — drums (1996–present)
Paweł Mąciwoda — bass, backing vocals (2004–present)

Former members
Lothar Heimberg — bass, backing vocals (1965–1973)
Wolfgang Dziony — drums, percussion, backing vocals (1965–1973)
Karl-Heinz Vollmer – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1965–1970)
Michael Schenker — lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1970–1973, 1978–1979)
Francis Buchholz — bass, backing vocals (1973–1983, 1984–1992)
Uli Jon Roth — lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Drifting Sun", "Fly to the Rainbow", "Dark Lady", "Sun in My Hand", "Hell Cat", "Polar Nights" (1973–1978)
Jürgen Rosenthal — drums, percussion, backing vocals (1973–1975)
Achim Kirschning — keyboards (1973–1974)
Rudy Lenners — drums, percussion (1975–1977)
Joe Wyman - drums, percussion (1977)
Herman Rarebell — drums, percussion, backing vocals (1977–1983, 1984–1995)
Ralph Rieckermann — bass, backing vocals (1993–2000, 2000–2003)
Curt Cress — drums, percussion (1996)
Ken Taylor — bass, backing vocals (2000)
Ingo Powitzer — bass, backing vocals (2004)

Studio albums
Lonesome Crow (1972)
Fly to the Rainbow (1974)
In Trance (1975)
Virgin Killer (1976)
Taken by Force (1977)
Lovedrive (1979)
Animal Magnetism (1980)
Blackout (1982)
Love at First Sting (1984)
Savage Amusement (1988)
Crazy World (1990)
Face the Heat (1993)
Pure Instinct (1996)
Eye II Eye (1999)
Moment of Glory (2000)
Unbreakable (2004)
Humanity: Hour I (2007)
Sting in the Tail (2010)
Comeblack (2011)
Live albums
Tokyo Tapes (1978)
World Wide Live (1985)
Live Bites (1995)
Acoustica (2001)
Live 2011 – Get Your Sting and Blackout (2011)

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