With their 1979 album, ‘Lovedrive’, Scorpions were starting to see international success. In the States, the album went to #55 and was certified Gold. In the UK, two of the singles charted. The band was enjoying their new success and the label was ready to capitalize on that success. On November 17, 1979, the band released their first compilation called ‘Best of Scorpions’. The album reached #180 on the Top 200 album chart and didn’t garner I think the fever the band and label were hoping.
The songs from the compilation come from four of their first five albums. There were no songs chosen from their debut album, ‘Lonesome Crow’. All the songs were from ‘Fly to the Rainbow’, ‘In Trance’, ‘Virgin Killer’ and ‘Taken By Force’. There were also no songs from the newest album ‘Lovedrive’. All the songs were from the Uli Jon Roth era of the band. I’ve read some of the songs were new mixes, but not all and the ones that were sounded pretty much the same. I am sure they cleaned them up so they would all sound consistent here on the album. Let’s jump right in…
The album kicks off with the rock anthem “Steamrock Fever” from ‘Taken By Force. With its chugging guitar riffs, it was one of the most metal songs on that album. Don’t know if I understand what it is about, but really who cares when they sound this good. The chanting children thrown in the verses, the Klaus scream and the overly catchy chorus make it a fun, cool-sounding opener.
“Pictured Life” was up next from ‘Virgin Killer and it is a classic sounding Scorpions’ song which we all love. The chorus has a great hook, we get those killer riffs and Roth lays down a splendid solo…everything you expect. Klaus Meine might not be the best vocalist in the world, but his unusual pronunciations and that scratchiness vocal is what we really need. What he lacks in power, he makes up for in tone. It isn’t the most powerful opening album track they’ve ever done, but it is pure Scorpions.
From the album, ‘In Trance, we get “Robot Man”. The quick barrage of the drums and Rudolf’s guitar shuffle suck you in to this cool, fast-paced blistering track. It doesn’t sound like anything else on that album and that is a good thing. The effect on Klaus’ vocals keep it interesting and varied. A quick solo and more Klaus and before you know it, it is over and you are wanting more.
“Backstage Queen” is also from “Virgin Killer’ and it is full of the hookiness that we enjoy and has more great Roth guitar work. There is a nice groove to it, but overall not as exciting and probably wouldn’t have been I would’ve chosen from that album. I might’ve picked “Yellow Raven” instead.
With “Speedy’s Coming” we get the only song from ‘Fly to the Rainbow’ and it is a great choice. Uli Jon Roth makes it known that he is the force behind their sound as his playing is exceptional. Klaus wails the vocals and makes me feel right at home as it his voice that for me screams Scorpions. The drumming by Jurgen and Francis’ bass are a lethal combo and throw in Rudolf’s rhythm guitar and you have a hell of a package.
The first side ends with our first Uli Jon Roth sung track, “Hell Cat”. It is frantic and frenzied and although he isn’t always on key, he does attack the song with a veracity of a wild cat…from hell. His solo is very Hendrix like and so is all the guitar work on this one. The “Hell Cat” screams are rather out there and I applaud for their attempts at keeping it interesting, but it needs to be restrained a little instead of running wild.
Side two sees the band go straight-up beast-like Metal with “He’s a Woman, She’s a Man” off of ‘Taken by Force’. A heavy riff which might the heaviest they’ve ever done or at least on this album. It is brutal. Herman really pounds away on the drums that makes the guitar riff seem even heavier and it is almost Thrash. A catchy chorus and more Klaus vocal dexterity with this broken English makes it all an utter blast. If your head ain’t banging on this one, you ain’t playing it loud enough!! This was also Herman Rarebell’s first writing credit and what an introduction to his talent.
“In Trance” from ‘In Trance’ is a song like none other for the band, so far. It is dark, the guitars sound a little distorted and there is a somberness to it yet Klaus’ vocals are crisp and clean as they are so powerful here and resonate so much emotion. We would grow to expect ballads in the future but this was so unexpected at this time of this album.
One of the band’s coolest songs ever, “Dark Lady” from ‘In Trance’ is a first for the band with both Uli and Klaus sharing lead vocals. You have Uli on the verses and Klaus screaming on the chorus and those screams are hairs standing on the back your neck type screams. The guitar sounds on this one are eerie, gritty and totally brutal. One hell of a track.
“The Sails of Charon”, from ‘Taken by Force’, is over 5 minutes if you got the Japanese edition, however, most versions of this song are edited down to 4:24 with the wind-like sound effects at the beginning and end edited out. As you can see above, my version is the edited version. This song was penned by Roth and is a major showcase of his talent. The opening guitar solo is stupendous and has a great driving rhythm by Schenker. The Sabbathy type lyrics and Klaus’ eerie vocal approach is also fantastic. A totally kick-ass song.
“Virgin Killer”, from…well…’Virgin Killer’, is not about killing virgins. It is about how time steals away the naiveness and innocence of our youth. It is a rifftastic rockfest. Klaus screams his way through the lyrics and attacks those verses. The heaviest song on that album, though a little of a mess at times, is still a great track and a beast to be tamed. A no holds barred approach with the vocals and the guitar work. It was like they threw everything at the wall to see what would stick and I dig it.
And that is it. 11 Tracks and most worthy of being here, but not all. If you don’t know the early albums, this is a great introduction, but shouldn’t be your one stop shop. Get the albums as they are all worth it. My Overall Score on is 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as I do love it, I just think they could’ve picked a few different tracks that I think might be a better showcase of the band. But still worth it. Now, we are about to get in to the meat of what most everyone knows of Scorpions…can’t wait!!
NEXT UP: ANIMAL MAGNETISM (1980)
THE SCORPIONS COLLECTION SERIES:
- Lonesome Crow (1972)
- Fly to the Rainbow (1974)
- In Trance (1975)
- Virgin Killer (1976)
- Taken by Force (1977)
- Tokyo Tapes (1978)
- Lovedrive (1979)
- Best of Scorpions (1979)
- Animal Magnetism (1980)
- Rock Galaxy (1980)
- Blackout (1982)
- Hot & Heavy (1982)
- Love at First Sting (1984)
- Still Loving You Maxi Single (1984)
- Best of Scorpions Vol. 2 (1984)
- Gold Ballads (1984)
- World Wide Live (1985)
- Savage Amusement (1988)
- Rhythm of Love – Single (Box Set) (1988)
- Best of Rockers ‘n’ Ballads (1989)
- Crazy World (1990)
- Crazy World – 4 Track From Crazy World Promo Vinyl (1990)
- Tease Me Please Me Promo CD (1990)
- Don’t Believe Her Promo CD (1990)
- Send Me An Angle Promo CD (1991)
- Face the Heat (1993)
- Live Bites (1995)
- Pure Instinct (1996)
- Big City Nights (Compilation) (1998)
- Eye II Eye (1999)
- Moment of Glory (with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) (2000)
- Acoustica (2001)
- Unbreakable (2004)
- Humanity: Hour 1 (2007)
- Sting in the Tail (2010)
- Comeblack (2011)
- MTV Unplugged – Live in Athens (2013)
- Return to Forever (2015)
- Rock Believer (2022)
- The Albums Ranked Worst to First