Follow TV Tropes


Music / Scorpions (Band)

Go To

"Stand up and shout
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!"
—"Can't Live Without You"

"The night is calling, I have to go
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..."
—"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 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)
  • 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)

Main discography:

  • 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)
  • Rock Believer (2022)

"Here I am, trope you like a hurricane!":

  • Album Title Drop: As seen by the quote above, "Rock You Like a Hurricane" on Love at First Sting.
  • Alternate Album Cover: They had this at least five times during their career.
    • Love at First Sting: Original artwork shows a man making out with a partially nude woman while giving her a tattoo. The alternate artwork is an image of the band in black and white, based on inner artwork from the original release. The change was due to Wal-Mart complaining about the packaging after its release.
    • Lovedrive: Original artwork features a couple sitting in a car with the woman's exposed breast connected to a man's hand by out-stretched bubblegum. The alternate artwork is a blue scorpion.
    • Taken by Force: Original artwork shows kids playing with guns in a graveyard. The alternate artwork is individual portraits of each member along the top and the album title in the middle.
    • Virgin Killer: Original artwork features a naked prepubescent girl with cracked glass covering the crotch. The alternate artwork is an image of the band.
    • In Trance: Original artwork is a black and white picture of a woman leaning over a guitar. One of her breasts can be seen peeking out of the shadows. The alternate artwork has the image altered so both breasts are hidden in the shadows.
  • 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.
    • "The Zoo" is also an example of The Big Rotten Apple, as the song is about the red-light district in and around Times Square in Manhattan, famous for its prostitution, pornographic theaters and video stores, and drugs...
      • ...Which also makes it an example of an Unintentional Period Piece, as Times Square was completely "cleaned up" by the mid-late 1990s and today is best known for harboring large numbers of Broadway plays and tourists, and the New Year's Eve ball drop.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Choir Number: "Moment of Glory" has the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and a children's choir to complement the optimistic rock melody.
  • 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 feet
    The language of your body
    Is right now all I need
    To understand you're ready for love (are you ready for love?)
    I can't get enough
  • Fanservice: Some of their album covers feature women in all states of undress or display men and women in suggestive situations.
  • 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 no
    When you've done a good show
    And they all want you to celebrate
    Well I try to refuse
    Try to make some excuse
    But 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.
  • Longest Song Goes First: Their 2004 album Unbreakable starts with the 5:51 "New Generation."
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • Lonesome Crow ends with the 13:31 Title Track.
    • Fly to the Rainbow ends with its own Title Track, at 9:40.
    • Taken by Force closes with "Born to Touch Your Feelings" (7:40).
    • Lovedrive closes with the 6:32 "Holiday."
    • Love at First Sting closes with "Still Loving You" (6:26).
    • Savage Amusement closes with "Believe in Love" (5:20); the next longest track on the album, "Walking on the Edge," is 5:05.
    • Humanity: Hour I closes with "Humanity" (5:26).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • Signature Headgear: Klaus' trademark backwards beret, and Matthias' cap.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Scorpions