released Mar 23rd, 2010

from the album - Sting In The Tail

from all music

Known best for their 1984 anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and the 1990 ballad "Wind of Change," the German rockers the Scorpions have sold over 22 million records, making them one of the most successful rock bands to ever come out of Continental Europe.

Originally formed in 1969 by Rudolf Schenker, the original lineup consisted of rhythm guitarist/vocalist Schenker, lead guitarist Karl-Heinz Follmer, bassist Lothar Heimberg, and drummer Wolfgang Dziony. In 1971, Schenker's younger brother Michael joined the band to play lead guitar and good friend Klaus Meine became the new vocalist. The group recorded Lonesome Crow in 1972, which was used as the soundtrack to the German movie Das Kalte Paradies. Although they failed to get into the public's eye, the early formation of '70s rock band UFO noticed Michael Schenker's guitar playing and hired him as their lead guitarist; Michael, therefore, would leave the band in 1973. Guitarist Uli Jon Roth replaced him, and under his guidance the group released four consecutive albums under the RCA record label: Fly to the Rainbow (1974), In Trance (1975), Virgin Killer (1976), and Taken by Force (1977). Although these albums failed to attain any serious attention in the United States, they were all quite popular in Japan. By the time Taken by Force was released, Roth made the decision to leave the band and form Electric Sun after feeling that his musical ideas would take the group in an entirely different direction. Tokyo Tapes, a double live album that the group recorded in Tokyo with Roth, was released in 1978. Shortly after Roth's departure, Michael Schenker was kicked out of UFO for his constant alcohol abuse and came back to play with the Scorpions in 1979, who had recently signed with Mercury Records. The group released Lovedrive that same year and played their first American tour, but Lovedrive failed to attract attention, being banned in the United States because of its sexually explicit cover. Still coping with his drugs and alcohol addiction, Michael missed tour dates repeatedly and guitarist Matthias Jabs was hired to fill in for him on nights when he was absent. Michael eventually would leave the band a second time after realizing that he was failing to meet their expectations.

Now with a lineup of Klaus Meine on vocals, Rudolf Schenker on rhythm guitar, Matthias Jabs on lead, Francis Buchholz on bass, and Herman Rarebell on drums, the band released Animal Magnetism in 1980 and embarked on another world tour. Surprisingly, Animal Magnetism went gold in the United States, and the Scorpions immediately went back into the studio to record their next release. Problems arose, however, and the project was postponed because Meine had lost his voice and would have to have surgery on his vocal chords. Many thought Meine had been fired from the band, and rumors spread that metal singer Don Dokken had already replaced him. The Scorpions proved these rumors untrue when Meine returned for the 1982 release Blackout, which contained the cult hit "No One Like You." A major success worldwide, Blackout sold over one-million copies in the U.S. alone. But as popular as Blackout was, it was the band's powerful follow-up, Love at First Sting, that succeeded in making them superstars. Released in 1984, the album boasted the MTV single "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and would eventually achieve double-platinum status. The group undertook one of their most successful world tours yet, boasting an outstanding stage show with high-energy performances.

After releasing World Wide Live in 1985, the band took a long hiatus and remained uninvolved from the music industry for two years. Their tenth studio album, Savage Amusement, was finally released in 1988, and the hit ballad "Rhythm of Love" brought on another major success. In 1990, the album Crazy World was released and would eventually become the Scorpions' biggest-selling record to date, drawing on the strength of the hit ballad "Wind of Change."

Not too surprisingly, Crazy World was the last successful Scorpions release in the U.S. By the time their Face the Heat album hit the shelves in 1993, many longtime fans had already lost interest in the band, due to the alternative explosion of the early '90s. Face the Heat did eventually reach gold, and in 1995 the band released another live album, Live Bites. Now with bassist Ralph Rieckermann and drummer James Kottak, they released Pure Instinct in 1996. Mercury Records assembled a double album of the band's greatest hits, Deadly Sting: The Mercury Years, and released it in 1997. Eye II Eye, an album in which the band experimented with pop-techno melodies, was released in the summer of 1999. Moment of Glory, featuring the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and several revamped versions of Scorpions cult classics, was released in fall 2000. Continuing to be productive into the 21st century, the Scorpions released their fifteenth studio album, Unbreakable, in 2004, followed by the concept album Humanity: Hour 1 in 2007. In 2010 they released their final studio album before retirement, Sting in the Tail.

album review

One does an aural double take upon hearing the opening bars of “Raised on Rock,” the first track from the Scorpions Sting in the Tail. Rudolph Schenker's opening power chord riff and guitar tone sound like something from 1976’s Virgin Killer, or 1979’s Lovedrive. When he’s joined by Matthias Jabs on their trademark twin-guitar attack, and by Klaus Meine's instantly recognizable vocal, the effect is complete, the sound familiar, but somehow not nostalgic. The riff was just a quick, humorous nod to history rather an attempt to revel in it. Sting in the Tail is reported to be the final Scorpions studio effort after 44 years. The band that vaulted to the top of the '80s metal scene with its balance of monstrously loud rock anthems (“The Zoo,” “Blackout”) and infectious power ballads (“Wind of Change,” “Still Loving You”) has decided to give it one last, honest shot at what they do best. There’s more of the former on this offering, from the aforementioned and boogie-metal party rocker that is the title track, to “Slave Me,” “No Limit,” and the amphetamine overdrive of “Rock Zone,” "Spirit of Rock," and “Turn You On” (particularly from the rhythm section of bassist Pavel Maciwoda and drummer James Kottak). Meine’s voice is in great shape; he wails and howls without any sign of wear. Another band trademark, the “gang vocal” chorus, is apparent on all the rockers. The power ballads here, “Loreli” and “Sly,” follow their formula of slowly ramping up with undeniably catchy melody, a meld of near classical form with hard rock dynamics, and multi-layered guitar and vocal textures. The songwriting here is characteristically tight, the arrangements and bridges are sophisticated, the production doesn’t give in to modern clichés, and the band comes off sounding like no one but a renewed version of themselves. As a farewell, Sting in the Tail is an album the Scorpions and their fans can be proud of.

Track Listing

1.Raised on Rock - 3:57 (Music: Andersson, Hansen / Lyrics: Hansen, Meine)
2.Sting in the Tail - 3:12 (Meine, Schenker / Meine)
3.Slave Me - 2:44 (Schenker / Meine, Jabs, Bazilian)
4.The Good Die Young (feat. Tarja Turunen) - 5:14 (Schenker, Kolonovits / Meine)
5.No Limit - 3:24 (Meine, Schenker, Bazilian / Meine, Schenker, Bazilian)
6.Rock Zone - 3:17 (Meine, Andersson, Hansen / Meine)
7.Lorelei - 4:31 (Schenker, Thomander, Wikström / Meine, Bazilian, Thomander, Wikström)
8.Turn You On - 4:25 (Schenker, Andersson, Hansen / Meine)
9.Let's Rock - 3:22 (Schenker, Meine, Bazilian / Meine, Bazilian)
10.SLY - 5:15 (Meine, Schenker / Meine)
11.Spirit of Rock - 3:43 (Schenker, Bazilian / Meine, Schenker, Bazilian)
12.The Best Is Yet to Come - 4:34 (Bazilian, Thomander, Wikström / Schenker, Bazilian, Thomander, Wikström)
13.Thunder and Lightning (Bonus Track) (Schenker, Meine, Kolonovits / Meine)