Category: Scorpions

Scorpions – Taken By Force

ARTIST: Scorpions

TITLE: Taken By Force

YEAR RELEASED: 1977

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: He’s a Woman – She’s a Man, Sails of Charon

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Steamrock Fever, We’ll Burn the Sky

LINEUP: Klaus Meine, Uli Jon Roth, Rudolf Schenker, Francis Bucholz, Herman Rarebell

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The pinnacle and endpoint of the Uli Jon Roth era, which is their most consistent album before it falls off a clip with a LOOOONG slow ballad. Sigh.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Scorpions had eschewed their progressive side for several years and three albums, but that influence came roaring back with this album. The incredible “Sails of Charon” definitely veers into progressive rock and fantasy elements, and Uli Jon Roth’s guitar playing in both riff and solo is incredible.

The band sounds tighter and more focused, which may be due to new drummer Herman Rarebell. The opener, “Steamrock Fever”, introduces the double-tracked harmonies of Klaus Meine, which becomes a trademark for the band as they continue their career.

Yet, I can’t rate this an “A” because the very last track of the original album, “Born to Touch Your Feelings” is an interminable slow ballad. The Scoprions wouldn’t or couldn’t stay away from them. Alas.


NOTES & MINUTIAE: Yet another controversial cover, but this time only because of the image of the graveyard and the gun battle juxtaposed with the tombstones.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a track (“Suspender Love”) and a live version of “Polar Nights” originally left off of the original CDs of their live album.

GRADE B+:  One track can really upset the apple cart on the grade. I was all prepared to give this an “A-“ but that last ballad…oof.

Scorpions – Virgin Killer

ARTIST: Scorpions

TITLE: Virgin Killer

YEAR RELEASED: 1976

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: Virgin Killer, Pictured Life

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Catch Your Train

LINEUP: Klaus Meine, Uli Jon Roth, Rudolf Schenker, Francis Bucholz, Rudy Lenners. Achim Kirschning played keyboards when needed.  

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The moment when the Scorpions really get their act together and start world domination. Or would have, if that cover didn’t get in the way. (NOTE: There is no way in hell that I’m showing the original cover. Wikipedia got a pass – I don’t think I will).

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After three albums, this band of German rockers found their niche, and on this, their fourth album, they pert near perfected their hard rock tracks. The songs written by Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker have caught up to Uli Jon Roth’s contributions (for the most part). And Roth’s guitar work is still as unpredictable and invigorating as ever.

Four of the five songs on the first side, concluding with the title track (a song about time ravaging the youth – no, really). Yet, Roth still sings two tracks (he shouldn’t have), and there were two ballads that interfered with their rock-and-roll fury.

This is close to the pinnacle of the 70’s Scorpions, and got them into bigger venues around Europe and some whispers in the states. Alas…the cover.


NOTES & MINUTIAE: The controversy about the cover is in the Wikipedia page for this album (along with the original cover). It’s…not the smartest thing they ever did.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Nope.

GRADE B:  If they could have stopped with the bland ballads and Roth singing, this would have been a great record through and through, But I’m yelling about this 46 years in the future…so it’s a bit late, right?

The Scorpions – In Trance

ARTIST: Scorpions

TITLE: In Trance

YEAR RELEASED: 1975

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: In Trance

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Top of the Bill

LINEUP: Klaus Meine, Uli Jon Roth, Rudolf Schenker, Francis Bucholz, Rudy Lenners. Achim Kirschning played keyboards when needed.  

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After mixing epic prog with hard rock, the Scorpions drop the prog and focus on mid-70’s hard rock with decent results.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After a decade, and a big band shakeup in 1973, the Scorpions seemed to get it together with this, their third album. (Their first is practically a different band, and meh, their second isn’t streaming but many cuts are on comps). Uli Jon Roth breaks out on this album, instilling many songs with classic riffs along with guitar wizardry that many after tried to copy.

While a more concise song attack is helpful, the inclusion of some less than exciting ballads really slow the momentum. The first side has two snoozers in particular. Also, Roth vocalizes on two cuts (Klaus Meine really should be the only voice for the Scorps) and Roth’s instrumental is kind of a snoozer.

Still, this is a step forward for the band, and set the stage for their eventual success.


NOTES & MINUTIAE: This is the first of many Scorpions album covers to cause controversy, and that they had to change up after release. Their next album’s cover would DEFINITELY cause consternation.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Nope.

GRADE B-:  It’s an halfway decent album with a couple of lasting tracks and some ballads that just fall flat. It may be best to seek out the three comps of their RCA work and grab the best cuts,

Scorpions – Tokyo Tapes

ARTIST: The Scorpions

TITLE: Tokyo Tapes

YEAR RELEASED: 1978

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: All Night Long

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe, if you’re a fan of early Scorps

LINEUP: Klaus Meine, Uli Jon Roth, Rudolf Schenker, Francis Buchholz, Herman Raraebell

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Capping the Uli Jon Roth album with a double live in front of an adoring fan base in Japan, the Scorps play their hits, and indulge in double-live album excesses. It was the 70’s.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The double live album. What would rock fans in the 70’s do without it? This one is perfect to check out the various Scorpions’ 70’s tracks that are scattered over several compilations.

The Scorpions iteration with Uli Jon Roth was a little more arty as Roth liked to extend songs with guitar solos. The bad news is that Roth also sang a few tracks, and he’s no Klaus Meine. Not even close. His vocals kill “Polar Nights”, but dang he can play.

There are some indulgences (of course), including two covers of old rock songs and an old Japanese song, along with a lot of soloing (including a drum solo in “Top of the Bill”). Still, this is a prime collection of 70’s Scorpions.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The first re-issue of the CD left off “Polar Nights” since they wanted it on one disc.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, they restored “Polar Nights” and added more live tracks, including the Japanese anthem and four repeat tracks from another show.

 GRADE B: It’s a 70’s live double, so it is long and indulgent. But it’s still a good overview and the playing is great.

 

The Scorpions – Best of Scorpions / Best of Scorpions, Vol. 2 / Gold

ARTIST: Scorpions                                        220px-BestOfScorpions

TITLE: Best of Scorpions / Best of Scorpions Vol.2 / Gold

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation(s)

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: In Trance, Speedy’s Coming, Virgin Killer, Pictured Life, He’s a Woman-She’s a Man, Sailes of Charon, All Night Long

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe?

LINEUP: Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker. Most cuts had Uli Jon Roth and Francis Bucholz. Michael Schenker was on one track and wrote others. Herman Rarebell, Wolfgang Dziorky, Rudy Lenners, and Jurgen Rosenthal were the drummers (among others).

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mishmosh of compilations cover the RCA years for the Scorpions. 220px-The_Best_of_Scorpions_Vol._2

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Scorpions, Germany’s longest lasting hard rock / metal band, had two decades where they were one of the best known bands in Europe, and built a fan base over the years in the US that resulted in a mid-80’s explosion before throwing it all away in the late 80’s with a turn towards more pop than metal.

Their 70’s catalog, featuring Uli Jon Roth on lead guitar (for the most part) mixed prog elements with hard rock, and Roth was an inventive guitarist adding surprising elements to the mix. While they had questionable taste in record covers (they blamed RCA for the most part – and one album shut down Wikipedia for four days in the UK at one point), and their albums weren’t so consistent track-for-track, the best tracks definitely stand up.

YET – their 70’s streaming is a mess. Three full albums are streaming, and the comps are EXCEPT for one song – the killer “He’s a Woman – She’s a Man”. The seminal live album Tokyo Tapes is finally streaming (in 2018)51HDAZ4KC8L

The comps don’t replace the full albums in a sense to get what the Scorps were about in the 70’s, but they have to do for now. And someone explain to me why “He’s a Woman…” isn’t streaming.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Michael Schenker was on their first album before UFO scooped him up and they got Uli Jon Roth. Roth left after Tokyo Tapes so these comps encapsulate that era. Gold is mixed with both RCA and EMI recordings.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: Each of the comps isn’t perfect. You could Frankenstein the best cuts for yourself, and there’s enough to do so. But damnit, stream the whole albums guys.