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"Stand up and shoutCome on and get it!"
We're ready to rock, we're ready to roll
Stand up and shout
Are you ready? Are you ready?...
—"Can't Live Without You"
"The night is calling, I have to goHere I am..."
The wolf is hungry, he runs the show
He's licking his lips, he's ready to win
On the hunt tonight, for love at first sting
—"Rock You Like a Hurricane"
Scorpions is a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hannover by Rudolf Schenker (vocals/guitar), Lothar Heimberg (bass) and Wolfgang Dziony (drums), which only started to actually take shape four years later with Rudolf's younger brother Michael Schenker and Klaus Meine joining on guitar and vocals, respectively. While touring to promote their debut album, Michael, still an 18-year-old young gun, joined British rock band UFO in 1973 (at the start of their classic phase) and was replaced by Uli Jon Roth, who was a mainstay until 1978, when Matthias Jabs took over. While the bassist and drummer positions have changed over the course of four and a half decades, the Meine-Schenker-Jabs trio stayed on... and the rest is history.
With 7 gold records and 11 platinums in the US (15 golds and 9 platinums in their homeland) and 18 songs charting at the Mainstream Rock Tracks (among which "No One Like You" reached #1), Scorpions are perhaps the most worldwide successful rock band to ever come from a non-English speaking country - even though they would only have a belated recognition in America.
Recently, with the release of Sting of the Tail, the band announced the closure of its activities following its subsequent tour.
Members (current formation):
- Klaus Meine: vocalist
- Matthias Jabs: lead guitarist
- Rudolf Schenker: rhythm guitarist
- Was also the vocalist before Meine joined.
- Paweł Mąciwoda: bass (joined 2003)
- James Kottak: drums (joined 1996)
Past members include:
- Michael Schenker: lead guitarist (1969-1973)
- He also recorded three tracks in Lovedrive after leaving UFO, then assembled Michael Schenker Group.
- Uli Jon Roth: lead guitarist (1973-1978)
- Lothar Heimberg: bassist (1965-1973)
- Francis Buchholz: bassist (1973-1992)
- Ralph Rieckermann: bassist (1993-2003)
- Wolfgang Dziony: drummer (1965-1973)
- Jurgen Rosenthal: drummer (1973-1975)
- Rudy Lenners: drummer (1975-1977)
- Herman Rarebell: drummer (1977-1995)
- Lonesome Crow (1972)
- Fly to the Rainbow (1974)
- In Trance (1975)
- Virgin Killer (1976)
- Taken By Force (1978)
- Tokyo Tapes (1978)
- First live album (and a double album, at that).
- Lovedrive (1979)
- Animal Magnetism (1980)
- Blackout (1982)
- Love at First Sting (1984)
- World Wide Live (1985)
- Again, double live.
- Savage Amusement (1988)
- Crazy World (1990)
- Face the Heat (1993)
- Pure Instinct (1996)
- Eye II Eye (1999)
- Moment of Glory (2000)
- Past songs rearranged with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Acoustica (2001)
- Live album from an unplugged concert in Lisbon, Portugal.
- Unbreakable (2004)
- Humanity: Hour I (2007)
- Their first (and, as far as it goes, only) concept album.
- Sting in the Tail (2010)
- The final studio album
- Comeblack (2011)
- Re-recordings of older songs, plus a few covers.
Scorpions provide examples of the following tropes:
- Album Title Drop: As seen by the quote above, "Rock You Like a Hurricane" in Love at First Sting.
- And the Adventure Continues...: "The Best is Yet to Come", closing track of their (presumably) final album, Sting in the Tail.
- On a side note, this song was an outtake from Unbreakable that didn't make the cut.
- Big Brother Mentor: Somewhat. While it's not known if Rudolf taught Michael to play guitar or not, it is a fact that Michael became interested and started playing with his big bro after he (Rudolf) bought a guitar.
- Michael has stated in interviews that he learned guitar when Rudolf would pay him to learn songs from records and teach him to play them, because Rudolf was too interested in girls and soccer to bother with it on his own.
- Classical Mythology: a Shout-Out in "The Sails of Charon".
- Contemptible Cover: A few, most notably Virgin Killer.
- Cool Old Guy: Can you believe Rudolf's 62?
- Klaus counts too: he's the same age and still can sing and wail like that. Wow.
- Cover Version: Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" and Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" in Tokyo Tapes, The Who's "I Can't Explain" for a collection album in the late 80s, Queen's "Love of My Life", The Cars' "Drive" and Kansas' "Dust in the Wind", the latter three from Acoustica, as well as half of Comeblack.
- Doing It for the Art: The reason why Uli Jon Roth left the band: he felt they were getting too commercial.
- This rift is documented in "I've Got to be Free", from Taken By Force. What's hilarious is that Roth wrote a song about his disgruntlement, and then made Meine sing it.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: "He's a Woman, She's a Man", from Taken by Force.
- Epic Riff: "Rock You Like a Hurricane", "Big City Nights", "No One Like You". Heck, even "Still Loving You"'s low-key, distortion-less riff may count.
- Epic Rocking: Many long tracks on their first two albums, especially "Lonesome Crow" and "In Search of the Peace of Mind". The live versions of "We'll Burn the Sky" and "Fly to the Rainbow" are around ten minutes apiece. "China White", from Blackout. Taken by Force ends with the 8-minute ballad "Born to Touch Your Feelings".
- Gratuitous Japanese: "Kami o Shinjiru" (lit. "Believe in God"), bonus track in Face the Heat - appropriately enough, in the Japanese edition only. Understandable, given the huge fanbase they have there.
- Note that the song is in English (except for the Title-Only Chorus), unlike the aforementioned "Koujou no Tsuki", which is a Japanese song.
- Grief Song: Roth took carrying on in Jimi Hendrix's tradition so seriously that he took up with Hendrix's ex-girlfriend Monika Dannemann. Danneman contributed the lyrics to "We'll Burn the Sky", which are a lament for a deceased love.
- Heavy Meta: "Rock You Like a Hurricane", "We Let It Rock... You Let It Roll", "Raised on Rock", "Can't Live Without You"
- "Speedy's Coming" and "Steamrock Fever", from their earlier years.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Billy Corgan does guest vocals in "The Cross", while Tarja Turunen sings in "The Good Die Young".
- Intercourse with You: Many songs, like "Loving You Sunday Morning" and "Rhythm of Love". Mostly the lyrics aren't really explicit, but you can't help thinking about intercoursing to these songs.
- So much that, in fact, "Still Loving You" sparked a baby boom in France in the mid-80s!
- Large Ham: Klaus Meine.
- Last-Note Nightmare / Careful with That Axe: "Blackout". Klaus screaming. Shattering glass.
- Lolicon: The original cover of Virgin Killer featured a naked pre-teen girl. Naturally, some people weren't pleased with this, so they had to change the cover.
- Long Runners: They've been around since 1965, and only now considered stopping.
- Metal Scream: Klaus Meine. So much, in fact, that the Blackout sessions were halted due to him busting his vocal chords and having to undergo surgery. When he came back, the results were simply awesome.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Varies from 4 to 7 depending on the song (albums average at around 6):
- 4: "When the Smoke is Going Down", "Always Somewhere", "Lady Starlight"
- 5: "Still Loving You", Wind of Change", "Holiday"
- 6: "Rock You Like a Hurricane", "No One Like You"
- 7: "Now!", "Dynamite" (the latter dipping into 8)
- "Virgin Killer" should rate around an 8, possibly also "Animal Magnetism" and "The Sails of Charon".
- Music At Sporting Events: "Rock You Like a Hurricane", particularly for the University of Miami Hurricanes.
- A professional hockey team in their hometown Hannover even named themselves after the band.
- New Sound Album: Eye II Eye. Possibly, it tanked simply because of this.
- Nice Hat: Klaus' trademark backwards beret, and Matthias.
- The Pete Best: Arguably, Curt Cress, who recorded Pure Instinct, but was replaced by James Kottak soon after.
- Numerous bassists and drummers, before the lineup solidified with Buchholz and Rarebell - and the ones that replaced them before the band settled for Mąciwoda and Kottak.
- Power Ballad: "Still Loving You", "No One Like You", "Holiday", "When the Smoke is Going Down", "Wind of Change", "Send Me An Angel"...
- Protest Song: Much in the same vein of U2, we have "Wind of Change", "Under the Same Sun", "China White" and "Living For Tomorrow". The latter may count as the most triumphant example - it's a plea for unity and laying down arms, played live in Leningrad at the end of the Cold War.
- Rearrange the Song: What Moment of Glory was all about.
- Revolving Door Band: Lineup didn't stabilize until 1979.
- Rockstar Song: "Can't Live Without You". "Always Somewhere" provides another take, in which living on the road keeps the musician apart from his loved one.
- Sex Drugs and Rock N Roll: Well, minus the drugs. Very well illustrated in "Now!".
- Spell My Name with a "The": Averted. The name's Scorpions only - no "The" in front.
- Strictly Formula: Unbreakable, in reaction to the bad reception its studio predecessor got.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: "Blackout" (the song):
I realize I missed a day
But I'm too wrecked to care anyway
I look around and see this face
What the hell, have I lost my taste?
Don't want to find out
Just want to cut out