Here at the Toilet ov Hell, we like to poke fun at Buttzfeed listmania clickbait. But, sometimes we are very passionate about the topics we write about. For months, I’ve wanted an excuse to bombard the blog with Scorpions tunes, and since, sometimes, there are listeners of rock and metal music that overlook them, I compiled these 7 reasons for why Scorpions still rock, with the objective of… Uh… Let’s just blast Scorpions in this fine hour, ok?
7. Best. Ballads. Ever
You may think that whistle melody in “Wind of Change” is cheesy, but you cannot deny the impressive business acumen the band employed to use that song as a token for the end of the Cold War in 1991. It is the best-selling single composed by a German musician and solidified Scorpions as one the best-known bands of Germany. This band has pioneered the ‘power ballad’ for years. Hits like “Still Loving You” and “Holiday” are sweet inductees of their repertoire too.
Now, press play on this video and be mesmerized:
6. They’ve Been on the Road Since 1965
50 years of artistic career, with a consistent and long discography. Scorpions is one of those legendary bands that still tour all over the world with full speed like if they were a bunch of hungry beginners. They have the spirit intact and a somewhat consistent core that understands the musical chemistry between them. Currently, Mathias Jabs and founder Rudolf Schenker have been together since 1979 and remain the duo that launched the successfully commercial part of Scorpions history.
This is a single on their last record, Return to Forever, one of my favorite albums of this year rocking your socks in a Vevo powered attack:
5. Controversial Album Covers
A big part of the Scorpions old albums have weird cover art choices, even with some censorship episodes. What started with the breast-exposing photo of In Trance was later took to another level with the infamous Virgin Killer and the nude child cover that was later changed with a random photograph of the band’s then-line-up. The band alleged it was RCA’s (their label by that time) decision to include the cover teasing a misunderstanding of the title track, which is a song about the loss of innocence in the modern world. Later releases, like Lovedrive, Animal Magnetism and Love at First Sting were part of this trend too.
Curious? Check’em! [Joe Note: Maybe don’t do that at work]
4. Pioneering Guitar Heroes
Scorpions’ guitar work represents one of the cornerstones in melodic European rock and metal styles. Uli Jon Roth is a living legend that expanded the colors of his palette in the Virgin Killer album, in which he even sang on the “Hell-Cat” and “Polar Nights” tracks. After leaving the band, he developed an incredible work of classical music arrangements with the guitar, later increased with his signature Sky Guitar, an electric string instrument with extra-frets that can emulate a violin’s high notes. Michael Schenker, the brother of Rudolf, is one of the first incarnations of the guitar hero archetype with his classy and accurate speed-of-light phrasing. His style distinctly shows another way to use the guitar with a heavy melodic feel. Matthias Jab is another guitar player that helped the band with a more song-centric writing style; and, of course, Rudolf Schenker’s rhythm developed goodness that envelops all the eras of the band with mountains of guitar walls.
In 2006, Wacken was the witness of this incredible show in which their four main guitarists shared some tunes:
Uli Jon Roth:
Mattias, Rudolf, Michael and Uli:
3. Riffs and Melodies
The band started as a more “jam”-oriented project. But, later, they would incorporate different influences that improved and gave a more varied writing. For example, Blackout is considered one of the best albums in their catalog, and it is full of heavier and riff-constructed songs that will rock your head out with their catchy simplicity; the powerful guitar tone zaps bolts of energy with each melody and each solo. But, other records have great hooks, too and you can find gems like “Coast to Coast” on Lovedrive or the precious “We’ll Burn the Sky” on Taken by Force, songs that can develop a very sophisticated composition style. Plenty of incendiary guitar solos have been dropped on the wax, and it’s really worth passing through some songs to realize how much effort the different incarnations of the band put into the songwriting.
2. A Frontmman Named Klaus Meine
This tenor is one of the key pieces of the band. With his malleable vocal range he shouts and pierces through sonic waves with a hard rocking attitude. Yet, still, he can soothe and charm with his mellow voice on the ballads. The entire career of Scorpions is a training ground for his voice, and in the last years of the band he does not seems to stop in his quest. He is a very versatile vocalist that can roughen up or polish his voice with ease, and he helps with the writing of most of the lyrics. During the recording of Blackout, in 1981, he nearly lost his voice, and the band stuck together waiting for his return. He clearly delivered one of his best performances on that record.
1. Their Lasting Influence on Metal
Not only the big names like Metallica, Judas Priest, and Van Halen were influenced by Scorpions, but also the most melodic side of metal was conquered by the charm of these Germans. In their country, they paved the way, proving to audiences and the other bands that Germany was not a grey country. When the band started to gig, the Krautrock movement was en vogue, and hard rock music was mostly absent from the scene. The band got recognition in a genre that had no faith. Their multi-colored albums served as inspiration for numerous bands that ventured into these territories, and their hard-working attitude encouraged the rising metal scene of their country. Bands like Blind Guardian, Therion, Arch Enemy, Darkthrone and many, many more, cite them as an influence; along with plenty of covers by artists like Bruce Dickinson, Testament and Powerwolf.
Do you have another reason to listen to Scorpions? Bring it on in the comment section!