We're ready to rock, we're ready to roll
Stand up and shout
Are you ready? Are you ready?...
Come on and get it!"
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
Here I am..."
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 one of the most worldwide successful rock bands from mainland Europe - even though they would only have a belated recognition in America.note
After the release of Sting in the Tail, the band announced the closure of its activities following its subsequent tour. However, they changed their minds and put out a new studio album in 2015.
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 2004)
- Mikkey Dee: drums (joined 2016)
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)1
- 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)
- James Kottak: drummer (1996-2016)
- 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)
- Comeblack (2011)
- Re-recordings of older songs, plus a few covers.
- MTV Unplugged: Live in Athens (2013)
- Return to Forever (2015)
"Here I am, trope you like a hurricane!":
- Album Title Drop: As seen by the quote above, "Rock You Like a Hurricane" in Love at First Sting.
- Ambiguous Gender: "He's a Woman, She's a Man", from Taken by Force. Until the last refrain, of course.
- And the Adventure Continues: "The Best is Yet to Come", closing track of their (presumably) final album, Sting in the Tail. Ended up averted when it turned out not to be their final album.
- On a side note, this song was an outtake from Unbreakable that didn't make the cut.
- Big Applesauce: "The Zoo" mentions 42nd Street.
- 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, to the point where the controversy overshadowed the album's content.
- Averted with Taken by Force. RCA Records, presumably shell-shocked by then, changed it anyway to a plain black cover with band photos.
- In America, Mercury Records replaced one Contemptible Cover with another by issuing a nudity-free cover for Lovedrive, which instead featured what is possibly the most phallic scorpion ever◊.
- Cool Old Guy: Can you believe Rudolf's over his 60's?
- Klaus counts too: he's the same age and still can sing and wail like that. Wow.
- Cover Version: Big Mama Thornton via Elvis Presley'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.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The band's debut album, Lonesome Crow, is straight Krautrock as opposed to rock music played by a bunch of Krauts.
- 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".
- Extreme Libido: "Can't Get Enough" is all about the subject, like many of their songs.Move you legs, stamp your feetThe language of your bodyIs right now all I needTo understand you're ready for love (are you ready for love?)I can't get enough
- Five-Man Band:
- Grand Finale: Sting in the Tail was supposed to be this, but they ultimately decided to postpone their retirement.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: Humanity has about three translations of the word "goodbye" - in German, French, and Spanish.
- 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 hooked 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", "Coming Home", "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.
- Heroic BSoD: "Heroes Don't Cry", from their Live Bites album, is about going through one.
- I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: The narrator of "Only a Man" uses this as an excuse for why he sleeps with groupies while on tour despite being in a relationship.Well it's hard to say noWhen you've done a good showAnd they all want you to celebrateWell I try to refuseTry to make some excuseBut at this point it's mostly too late
- Intercourse with You: Many songs, like "Loving You Sunday Morning," "Dynamite," 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.
- Long-Runners: They've been around since 1965, and only now considered stopping. Note, "considered", doesn't mean they actually did.
- Long-Runner Line-up: Type 2 variety for Meine/Schenker/Jabs/Bucholz/Rarebell (1979-1992) and Meine/Schenker/Jabs/Maciwoda/Kottak (2004-2016)
- 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"
- 8: Most of "Face The Heat" especially "Alien Nation"
- 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' cap.
- Parental Incest: "Daddy's Girl", which is unrelentingly bleak for a simple three-minute song.
- Power Ballad: "Still Loving You", "No One Like You", "Holiday", "When the Smoke is Going Down", "Wind of Change", "You and I", "Send Me An Angel", "Here in My Heart"...
- Progressive Rock: Had occasional run-ins with this during Roth's run, with the title track to Fly to the Rainbow being a shining example.
- Protest Song: Much in the same vein of U2, we have "Wind of Change", "Under the Same Sun", "Crossfire", "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. Comeblack
- Revolving Door Band: Lineup didn't stabilize until 1979.
- Rock-Star Song: "Can't Live Without You" and "Coming Home". "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. There was an English band called "The Scorpions" in the 60s, though.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Rudolf Schenker sang lead vocals on "They Need a Million", "Hey You" and "Love is the Answer" (from ''MTV Unplugged: Live in Athens). Uli Jon Roth sang lead vocals on "Dark Lady", "Sun in My Hand", "Hell Cat" and "Polar Nights"
- Strictly Formula: Unbreakable, in reaction to the bad reception its studio predecessor got.
- Those Wacky Nazis: "Unholy Alliance", from Face the Heat, is a criticism of Neo-Nazi parties in the modern world.
- War Is Hell: "Under the Same Sun".
- What Did I Do Last Night?: "Blackout:"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
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: "Kami wo Shinjiru" (also available with a French chorus as "Destin") is all about this.