The Scorpions was founded in Germany and is one of the most known creators of rock ballads of all time. Although during the 50 (!) years of the bands’ activity they created various songs on the spectrum on hard rock and heavy metal, their most prominent success lies in the combination of soft words, melodic guitar and the accurate singing of Klaus Meine. This combination brought their most successful creations, including the legendary song “Wind of Change”, released in 1990 and marked the political changes in Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall and became one of the most selling singles of all time. The total record sales of the Scorpions are above 100 millions. The group released 18 albums, while 2 prominent members who participated in all the recording and most of the performances are the founder Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar) and the vocalist Klaus Meine who joined the band in 1970.
The early years
The Scorpions was founded in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker the guitarist, who also sang at the time. The first album was Lonesome Crow and was recorded in 1972. A year later the band broke-up due to the departure of the solo guitarist and Rudolf’s younger brother Michael, who was invited to join the British band UFO, with whom the Scorpions performed as part of promoting their debut album. However, Schenker didn’t give up and the band regrouped in 1974 with a new line-up and released the second album “Fly to the Rainbow”, which was more successful than the first one, allowing the audience to get familiar with the unique and innovative sound of the band.
The major success
The third album was released in 1975 and was produced by Dieter Dierks. This album marked the first usage of the formula of a metal song, which later prevailed throughout Europe. The popular songs of the time were “In Trance”, “Dark Lady” and “Robot Man”. Parallel to this work, the band recorded some songs in German under the name “The Hunters”.
The fourth album “Virgin Killer” created a lot of fuss due to the controversial cover proposed by the band’s manager in RCA Records. This was the first album to reach audience outside of Europe. In 1978 the band released the album “Loverdrive” which considered by many critics as their most interesting way, probably because for a short while there were 3 guitarists in the band – Michael Schenker returned to the band for a short while after quitting UFO.
The creativity process
The main force of the band was always Schenker who also saw the potential of melodic ballads. When asked about his playing style, he explained that he’s not aspiring to be the most technically impressive or fast-playing guitarist, but emphasizing his composing skills. This allowed writing charming songs with simple and touching guitar solo. Interestingly, the solos in the most prominent ballads of the Scorpions: “Wind of Change”, “Always Somewhere”, “Still Loving You”, “Send me an Angel” – the solos are played by Schenker, although he’s usually the rhythm guitarist. The subjects and the lyrics of most of the band’s songs are written by Klaus Meine.