Metal Monday 1-10-2022:

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

Today, we focus on the lengthy and successful career of the Scorpions.  This German quintet has been around for more than 50 years!  Starting out with a late-60’s hippie, psychedelic sound, the Scorps have progressed into a hard-driving hard rock outfit, and even had a few missteps along the way, including a misguided foray into regular pop.

Make no mistake about it, the Scorpions made their dough on the backs of the twin guitar attack of Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs, with assists from legendary axemen Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth, both of whom preceded Jabs.  Original vocalist Klaus Meine is easily recognizable for his long wails and shrieks, traits that have not slowed down with age.  As this ranking will display, for my money, the period with the classic lineup of Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Jabs, along with bassist Francis Buchholz and drummer Herman Rarebell, churned out the best Scorpions records, although a few of the later releases work their way into the upper half of the catalogue. 

#18:

Eye II Eye 1999

It seems like every band has an album that alienates its fanbase (see Metallica’s St. Anger and Megadeth’s Trust).  Eye II Eye is the Scorpions’ bugaboo.  And this comes with plenty of merit.  The record displayed the furthest abandonment from its classic sound in its entire collection.

Best Song:  10 Light Years Away

Best Deep Cut:  10 Light Years Away

#17:

Lonesome Crow-1972

The very first release from the band found a band trying to find its collective way.  A melodic, yet dark effort that ventured into the psychedelic sound of the late sixties, it is also the only album with Michael Schenker until 1979’s Lovedrive

Best Song:  I’m Goin’ Mad

Best Deep Cut:  I’m Goin’ Mad

#16: 

Pure Instict-1996

Here is an album that I find it difficult to write anything for.  It’s not a terrible record, however, there really isn’t anything memorable here, either.

Best Song:  Wild Child

Best Deep Cut:  Wild Child

#15:

Face the Heat-1993

The wheels were starting to fall off some, here.  Longtime bassist Francis Buccholz was replaced by Ralph Rieckermann, while drummer Herman Rarebell would depart after the tour for this record.  In addition, grunge was spelling doom for just about any band that had achieved success in the 80’s.  Alien Nation and Under the Same Sun were the singles, but I really like the ballad, Lonely Nights.

Best Song:  Alien Nation

Best Deep Cut:  Lonely Nights

#14:

In Trance-1975

The longer psychedelic songs of the first two records were replaced with harder and more concise material.  The title cut, Dark Lady, and Robot Man are the highlights.

Best Song:  Robot Man

Best Deep Cut:  Robot Man

#13:

Return to Forever-2015

This is the latest Scorpions release, although a new record (Rock Believer) is due next month.  All in all, this is a fun collection of songs that is impressive for a group this long in the tooth.

Best Song:  Gypsy Life

Best Deep Cut:  Gypsy Life

#12:

Savage Amusement-1988

Sandwiched between classics, Love at First Sting and Crazy World, Savage Amusement is the lone outlier in a string of magnificent albums, which also include Taken by Force, Lovedrive, Animal Magnetism, and BlackoutRhythm of Love is the big single, and although it is more poppy and less crunchy than previous hits, I must admit my admiration for it.  Overall, the record is more synth-driven than I would like, and frankly, many of the songs are filler.

Best Song:  Rhythm of Love

Best Deep Cut:  We Let It Rock…You Let It Roll

#11:

Virgin Killer-1976

This record got most of its publicity from the controversial original cover.  It was another step toward the hard rock sound that the Scorpions would later perfect.  Perhaps no classic rock band’s progression has been as deliberate this one, but perhaps good things come to those who wait.  Check out the title track, Pictured Life, Backstage Queen, and Yellow Raven

Best Song:  Backstage Queen

Best Deep Cut:  Backstage Queen

#10: 

Humanity Hour I-2007

A concept album, this one is based on a storyline by Desmond Child and Liam Carl that deals with humans and robots engaging in a horrific civil war.  The record gets off to a solid start with Hour I, The Game of Life, and We Were Born to Fly321 is the album’s finest track, while Humanity closes the collection in fine order.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of skippable numbers in this offering, as well. 

Best Song:  321

Best Deep Cut:  321

#9:

Fly to the Rainbow-1974

The first Scorps release with Uli Jon Roth on guitar, Fly to the Rainbow represents an example of the slow, but apparent progression toward the sound it would come to be known for.  That said, the band had not yet dropped its trippy sound, altogether.  Speedy’s Coming and the title track bookend a very underrated album.

Best Song:  Speedy’s Coming

Best Deep Cut:  Speedy’s Coming

#8:

Unbreakable-2004

This record represents a return to rock and roll form for the band, following its disastrous venture into pop.  New Generation, Love ‘em or Leave ‘em, Blood Too Hot, and Someday is Now are the standouts.

Best Song:  Love ‘em or Leave ‘em

Best Deep Cut:   Love ‘em or Leave ‘em

#7:

Sting in the Tail-2010

By 2010, the Scorpions understood their identity, and it resulted in Sting in the Tail, its latest in a string of solid albums, following Unbreakable and Humanity Hour IRaised on Rock, The Good Die Young, Let’s Rock, and the title track are meat on the bone.

Best Song:  Sting in the Tail

Best Deep Cut:  The Good Die Young

#6:

Animal Magnetism-1980

This one often gets overlooked and a little disrespected, most likely because of the records that follow it.  However, do not sleep on Animal Magnetism, which feature two of my favorite Scorpions tunes, Make it Real and The Zoo.  Meanwhile, Lady Starlight and the title cut are worthy of listens, as well.

Best Song:  The Zoo

Best Deep Cut:  Lady Starlight

#5:

Taken by Force-1977

The final album featuring Uli Jon Roth, and the one that introduces drummer Herman Rarebell, Taken by Force is the final record released before the band started to get noticed in America, and is a fine album, indeed.  Steamrock Fever, We’ll Burn the Sky, The Sails of Charon, and He’s a Woman-She’s a Man are the standouts.

Best Song:  Steamrock Fever

Best Deep Cut:  Steamrock Fever

#4:

Lovedrive-1979

The fact that this is only the fourth ranked Scorpions album speaks volumes for the strength of what is ahead of it.  Lovedrive is the first release to feature guitarist Matthias Jab and solidified the lineup that would take the band through its glory days.  The highlights are many, from opener Loving You Sunday Morning, to Another Piece of Meat, Holiday, and the title track.  Meanwhile, the record’s finest hour is the instrumental, Coast to Coast.

Best Song:  Coast to Coast

Best Deep Cut:  Loving You Sunday Morning (although released as a single, I still believe it is overlooked)

#3: 

Crazy World-1990

This will always be the album known for the band’s biggest hit, Wind of Change, and for good reason.  Although overplayed by classic rock radio, it is a brilliant track.  Singles Tease Me Please Me, Don’t Believe Her, and Send Me an Angel further solidify the record, while deep cuts Lust or Love, To Be with You in Heaven, Restless Nights, and Hit Between the Eyes round out a fantastic release.

Best Song:  Wind of Change

Best Deep Cut:  Lust or Love

#2:

Blackout-1982

The band was gaining serious traction by this point.  Blackout starts with the rambunctious title track and is hardly finished.  Can’t Live Without You and No One Like You round out a powerful opening trifecta, while Dynamite, China White, and When the Smoke is Going Down highlight a strong, but overlooked second half.

Best Song:  Blackout

Best Deep Cut:  Dynamite

#1:

Love at First Sting-1984

The soundtrack to my junior high school years.  I still listen to this record fondly, as it brings me back to the days of denim jackets and high-top sneakers.  Megahits Rock You Like a Hurricane, Big City Nights, and the amazing ballad, Still Loving You highlight the album.  That said, the smash singles hardly make up the strength of the release.  Bad Boys Running Wild, I’m Leaving You, and Coming Home could easily have been career defining hits for lesser bands.  In addition, being a drummer, I remember the dirty looks I used to get from teachers for pounding the beat to Crossfire on my desk.  In reality, there is no chance Love at First Sting isn’t the number one album on this list.

Best Song:  Still Loving You

Best Deep Cut:  I’m Leaving You

Scorpions Share Part Two Of Documentary Series On Their New Album “Rock Believer”

Have I mentioned I’ve been on a huge Scorpions kick?

Metal Anarchy

Scorpions have shared part two of a new documentary series focusing on the making of their new album “Rock Believer” (out February 25). You can check that out below:

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Scorpions Launch Documentary Series On The Making Of Their New Album “Rock Believer”

I’ve been on a bit of a Scorpions kick lately. Underrated band.

Metal Anarchy

Scorpions have launched a new documentary series focusing on the making of their new album “Rock Believer” (out February 25). You can watch the first episode below. The band commented:

“For our new album ‘Rock Believer’, we all came back together in the studio like in the old days and captured that journey on camera. Today we release the first part 1 of 3. Maybe you discover some unreleased music snippets from our new album in it…”

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Metal Monday 12-13-2021

Concert Review Archive

Scorpions with Great White, Trixter

Knickerbocker Arena

Albany NY

April 22, 1991

The Scorpions have always been one of those bands that have flown under the radar for me.  While I have enjoyed them, I have rarely loved them.  This, even though they have authored some of the greatest songs in hard rock history.  Upon the coaxing of my then-girlfriend, who badly wanted to see opening band Trixter, I scored a couple of tickets for the Scorps’ Crazy World tour stop in Albany, NY.

Surprises come in many shapes and forms.  I’ve been surprised by wives and girlfriends that have informed me they didn’t want to be in a relationship with me anymore.  I’ve been startled by people quietly coming into the room.  I’ve been surprised when my trail camera didn’t pick up any new pictures despite being set up in an area conducive to deer activity.  And, I was pleasantly surprised by the solid and workmanlike performance turned in by the Scorpions at this show.  While I don’t always give them credit where it is due, this concert is one of the best I have ever been to.

The house lights went out and a smattering of strobe lights lit up the darkness, tastefully accompanied by the sound of thunder.  Once fully lit, the stage displayed long ramps on both sides of the drum riser, as the group tore into the lead single from the Crazy World album, Tease Me Please Me.  Klaus Meine’s high pitched vocals were in fine form as he led the group through new album cuts, Lust or Love, Hit Between the Eyes, Don’t Believe Her, and the not-yet huge hit, Wind of Change.  Not to be left out, some of the band’s earlier hits found their way into the first half of the show, including, Bad Boys Running Wild, The Zoo, and their cover of The Who hit, I Can’t Explain.

Visually, fans were treated to a blinding light and laser show that effectively reflected the mood of the song being played.  Meanwhile, Meine commanded the stage with his presence and vocal prowess.  While lead guitarist Matthias Jabs, bassist Francis Buchholz, and drummer Herman Rarebell personified the solid but unspectacular charisma the Scorpions hold in my mind, it was rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker who fans had difficulty taking their eyes off.  Schenker bounced around the stage like a giddy school child, playfully interacting with fans and never taking his foot off the gas pedal.

The second half of the show saw more hits and deep cuts, such as Rhythm of Love, Blackout, Coast to Coast, Can’t Live Without You, Dynamite, and the main set closer, Holiday.  Not close to being finished, the band returned for the classic four song encore of Big City Nights, No One Like You, Still Loving You, and Rock You Like a Hurricane.  From the guitar solo to the end of the finale, the lighting rig transformed into the shape of a giant scorpion, a very cool effect for 1991.

I was originally reluctant to buy a ticket for this show, only relenting as a young guy wanting to appease his girl.  I suppose I thought by doing so, and bringer her to see Trixter, I may be rewarded in the end, and if memory serves me correctly, I was indeed.  However, the biggest reward was being able to witness a longstanding and professional rock and roll band such as the Scorpions.

Scorpions Setlist:

Tease Me Please Me

Lust or Love

Bad Boys Running Wild

Make It Real

Hit Between the Eyes

The Zoo

Wind of Change

I Can’t Explain

Don’t Believe Her

Rhythm of Love

Blackout

Concerto in V

Coast to Coast

Can’t Live Without You

Dynamite

Holiday

Encore:

Big City Nights

No One Like You

Still Loving You

Rock You Like a Hurricane

Show opener Trixter was the newcomer to the hard rock scene in 1991 and the New Jersey quartet delivered a brief set solely from their self-titled debut, including the MTV hits, One in a Million and Give It To Me Good.  Meanwhile, blues rock veterans Great White, reaching the waning moments of their peak in popularity, and long before their career-defining involvement in the tragic Station night club fire in Rhode Island, delivered a solid set that combined tracks from their newly-released album Hooked, as well as hits from previous records, including, Mista Bone, Save Your Love, and Once Bitten Twice Shy.

Trixter Setlist:

Bad Girl

Heart of Steel

Play Rough

Ride the Whip

One in a Million

Line of Fire

Give it to Me Good

Great White Setlist:

Call It Rock ‘n’ Roll

All Over Now

Cold Hearted Lovin’

Mista Bone

Desert Moon

Save Your Love

Can’t Shake It

Once Bitten Twice Shy

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