This German-bred hard rock band became one of the biggest attractions in the 198's heavy metal scene with radio-friendly hits like "Rock You Like A Hurricane," "No One Like You," "Big City Nights" and "Winds Of Change." Founded by shrieking, frizzy-haired vocalist Klaus Meine and flamboyant, spandex-clad rhythm guitarist Rudolph Schenker, the Scorpions have had the honor of having almost as many interchangeable sidemen over the years as Spinal Tap. While most of them have gone on to wallow in rock 'n' roll obscurity (remember "Hermen Z German"? I thought not), the Scorpions have managed to feature some truly great lead guitar players throughout their career--including Rudolph's younger brother, ex-UFO/MSG mad axeman Michael Schenker, the psychedelic and inspired Uli John Roth, and current six-string shredder Mathias Jabs.
The Scorpions began in Hanover, Germany in 1964 as a garage band featuring Meine and Schenker. After several years of playing around Germany, the band broke up due to lack of success. They got back together to record the soundtrack to an obscure movie called The Cold Paradise; it was released as their debut album Lonesome Crow, the band toured to support it, and then broke up again. They reformed, toured again, and finally got a record deal. However, the band members had to fulfill their required time in the German army and the band was put on hold. When they got out, they enlisted the guitar duties of Uli John Roth, as sometimes-guitarist Michael Schenker was recruited by UFO, and recorded Fly To The Rainbow. Several more line-up changes later, the band honed their sound to a definable, sometimes memorable science on their third effort In Trance, the first recording with long-time producer Dieter Dierks. Next came the controversial, but classic Virgin Killer, whose sexist album cover was banned all over the planet. Several albums later, the band hit the big time with their breakthrough '80s classic Blackout. Already a huge live attraction, the band cemented their American stranglehold with the radio staple "No One Like You," the first of many hits to come. Their follow-up, Love At First Sting, was even bigger and featured several radio/MTV hits, such as "Big City Nights" and their anthem "Rock You Like A Hurricane." From 1982 to 1990 the band churned out hit after hit, and dominated the '80s heavy metal movement lead by such acts as Van Halen, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi. The Scorpions were always one of the biggest non-American bands to find multi-platinum success in the fickle American market place. Just when the metal scene started to fizzle out, and the Scorpions' popularity seemed as if it might come to an end, the German warriors came back with their biggest hit yet, "Winds Of Change," a power ballad that capitalized on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Still, after riding the winds of success for a couple of years, the Scorpions' popularity inevitably began to fade. Several more records of metal-lite proved to nail the coffin shut for the German wonderboys.
Continuing to put out albums, the Scorpions are still able to pack houses; it's just that the houses have shrunk from arenas to amphitheaters. Still, for a one-dimensional heavy metal band, they have managed to carve out one hell of a long career for themselves. Always a favorite among heavy metal diehards, the Scorpions will always have the distinction of bringing the world three great guitar players, an anthem of freedom for Berlin, and whole mess of fashion faux pas.
"Winds Of Change" is their biggest hit yet.
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