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Scorpions, 28.X.2002

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Scorpions - History

Formation and early history (1965-1973)

Rudolf Schenker, the band's rhythm guitarist, set out to find a band in 1965. First this was a school-kind-band with beat influences and Rudolf 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.

The departure of Michael led to Scorpions dissolvement. In 1973, guitarist Uli Roth and 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's departure (and even performed a gig with them) 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 attended some of Dawn Road's rehearsals and ultimately decided to join the band which consisted of Roth, Francis Buchholz (bass), and Juergen Rosenthal (drums). Roth persuaded Rudolf 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 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. 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. Cuts such as "Dark Lady", "Robot Man" and the title track are still considered classics by fans today.

In 1977, 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, the album garnered significant praise from critics and fans alike.

The followup to Virgin Killer, Taken by Force, was the first Scorpions record to be aggressively promoted in the United States. The band's label, RCA, made numerous efforts to promote the album in stores and on the radio. The album's single, "Steamrock Fever", was added to some of RCA's radio promotional records. RCA also supervised the album cover design avoiding any controversy by including introduction-type photographs that included the names of each member under individual photos. Ulrich 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 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, Scorpions were already moving forward with new guitarist Matthias Jabs.

Commercial success (1979-1990)

Following the addition of Jabs, Scorpions returned to the studio to record their next album. Just weeks after quitting UFO, Rudolph's brother Michael also returned to the group giving the band three guitarists (though Michael's contributions to the final release was limited to only three songs,). The result was Lovedrive an album which many critics and fan consider the pinnacle of their career. 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. The album's provocative artwork was named "Best album sleeve of 1979" by Playboy magazine but was ultimately changed for American release. Lovedrive peaked at #55 on the US charts proving that Scorpions were gathering an international following.

In 1980, the band released Animal Magnetism, again with a provocative cover. While Animal Magnetism contained classics such as "The Zoo" and "Make It Real," it was a critical disappointment when compared with Lovedrive. Soon after the album's release, Klaus Meine began experiencing throat problems. He required surgery on his vocal chords and there were doubts as to whether Klaus would ever sing again with the Scorpions.

While Klaus rehabbed, the band began working on their next album, Blackout. Don Dokken was brought in to provide guide and backing vocals so that Klaus could let his vocal chords completely heal. Klaus eventually healed completely and was able to finish the album. Blackout was released in 1982 and quickly became the band's best selling to date, eventually going platinum. Klaus' voice showed no signs of weakness and critical response to the album was good. 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 monster single "Rock You Like A Hurricane", Love At First Sting rocketed up the charts and went double platinum. However, Scorpions did manage to stir up controversy once again with their provocative album cover. Some shops even refused to sell the album, mimicking a gag from the satire movie This Is Spinal Tap that came out the same year. 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 channel even supplied Scorpions with the nickname "The Ambassadors of Rock."

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. The album sold well, but was considered somewhat of a critical disappointment.

On the Savage Amusement tour in '88, Scorpions became the first Western group to play in the former Soviet Union with a performance in Leningrad. The following year the band returned to perform at the Moscow Music Peace Festival. As a result, Scorpions developed a strong Russian fan base and still return regularly to perform throughout the area.

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." 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.

Thanks to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpions_%28band%29

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