The Scorpions have really had a new life since their farewell tour. With a new album, ‘Comeblack’ which had them re-record old hits and some covers, the band was having a good time again. So, when MTV approached them about doing an MTV Unplugged, they jumped at the chance. They put a lot of work in to re-arranging the songs for an acoustic setting as you can tell from the “Making of Documentary” on the DVD on this release. The band actually didn’t really wanted to play their hits, but dig deep. With pushback coming from either the label or MTV (I forget which), they agreed to do some of their hits, but they also went deep and even brought in some new songs specifically for this set. The setlist is one of the highlights as we get old school Scorpions, 80’s heyday and even songs from today. It spans their career in what a good setlist should do.
The recorded 25 songs and performed at MTV’s first outdoor unplugged show and they couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful spot than high a top a mountain at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens , Greece. It was recorded over 2 nights on September 11 and 12, 2013. The release came quick on November 29, 2013 and I think the U.S. got it later. Let’s get out the one bad thing about the US version. The US Version is only 1 CVD and not a full show. The DVD that comes with it has the full show, but the CD does not. I am not sure why the rest of the world had a 2 CD full show option and we didn’t, but it is what it is. So, I am reviewing the DVD, full show set.
The full band is there and front and center are Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker and Mathais Jabs. The other two guys are slightly behind them with James Kottak on drums and Pawel Maciwoda on bass. But they weren’t alone, wow! There is a lot of extra help on the stage including a string ensemble, an extra percussionist with Pitti Hecht and then Mikael Nord Andersson, Ola Hjelm, Ingo Powitzer and Martin Hansen all on guitar (plus Mathias & Rudolf). And that wasn’t all, you also got Hans Gardemar on piano and accordion plus several surprise guest vocalists. It is a full house and one hell of a party.
Really! Another greatest hits album. Why? Well, the labels want money as this is a cash grab, but it does have some good points. The album was released on May 28, 2002 on Hip-O Records and contains 18 classic songs from the band. Scorpions – ‘Bad for Good: The Very Best of Scorpions’ does offer something a little different than some of their other compilation albums. First, you get 3 tracks that are single edits and not straight album tracks. Second, you get two brand new Scorpions songs!! That right there is the reason to buy this one.
Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems with this release and for that problem is glaring. Again, we get a greatest hits compilation that completely ignores any album prior to 1979’s ‘Lovedrive’. Why do they keep leaving off all those good songs? Is it that the band, or the label, don’t own the rights to those songs? Whatever is the reason, it is an absolute shame that the public doesn’t get to hear those great songs from the 70’s up against these smash hits. Being a single disc release, I see that there is no room and I do get the label wants the biggest hits…but biggest doesn’t mean the best.
The album is in chronological order…wait…not quite. They start it off with “Rock You Like A Hurricane” because that is like their biggest, most notable hit. After that, the rest are in chronological order. Not sure the point of that and seems quite silly in my book. I am not sure how much input Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker or Mathias Jabs had, but at least they might have had a say in the two new songs, but that might be it. There is a nice multiple page write up in the liner notes about the band by Gerri Miller from Metal Edge magazine and she talks about 3 decades of the band, but the compilation doesn’t give us songs that cover the whole period…but I’ve said that already. Enough bitching, let’s get to the songs.
Every band needs a signature song and Scorpions did that on their 9th album with the song “Rock You Like a Hurricane”. It only went to #25 on the Top 40 chart, but it has lived on and given the band one of the quintessential 80’s rock songs ever made. There is no one that doesn’t know this song the second that opening riff kicks in. It is a rock anthem like very few achieve. For ever how many songs the album sold, most were sold because of this track. With heavy riffs, killer solos and one of the most catchiest choruses ever, this song took the band to a level they probably never thought they would see.
Scorpions did something a lot of bands were doing and that was recording a live album using an orchestra. Metal and classical music go together as metal’s influences are heavily drawn from classical music. However, it doesn’t mean it should be done with every band. They were accused of copying Metallica who had released ‘S&M’ a year earlier. However, it actually had been discussed to do back in 1995 when the Berlin Philharmonic originally approached Scorpions to do such a show. Originally they had approached Michael Kamen, but he gave up on the job so he could actually go work Metallica on their album. They eventually found a composer by the name of Christian Kolonovits and along with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the album was completed.
It was recorded during January, March and April 2000 and was finally released on August 8, 2000. The album features only 10 tracks that consist of re-worked songs integrated with an orchestra and some really cool interludes from classical pieces. The album went to #3 in Germany and it did go Gold, but did nothing in the U.S. as I don’t think I heard about this until years later, but I was checked out on the band at this time any way. During the Hanover EXPO in June of 2000, they performed the show live and it was recorded for a DVD and was released in December 2000. During 2021, the band took it on the road and did 7 shows in Russia and other Baltic countries.
The show kicks off with a complete rearrangement of “Rock You Like a Hurricane” called “Hurricane 2000”. You get a grand opening that all the orchestra and it feels like the opening to a movie or maybe even a Bugs Bunny cartoon. The band joins in and you get that classic Hurricane riff re-imagined with an orchestra and a lot of extra notes thrown in. The overall tempo is slowed down as Klaus seems to slowly sing the lyrics instead of the rapid fire approach in the original. They added some women’s backing vocals towards the end of the song which totally strips the balls off the song. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t the Hurricane we all grew up with either. It does kick off the show with a bang though even if a little muted.
Scorpions is no stranger to releasing compilation albums. In fact, there are 28 official greatest hits compilations over their career. That is insane. Out of those 28, some are worth getting, like ‘Deadly Sting’ or ‘Best of Rockers ‘n Ballads’ and some are not…like this one!! This is a complete money grab except it was released at a time where Scorpions weren’t getting much publicity so I am sure this was overlooked by everyone. There are no unreleased tracks, no single mixes, no nothing excited that would make this worth getting. So why do I have it? I found it in a bin for like $2 so why not. It isn’t worth anymore than that, I promise!
It was released on July 11, 1998 on Rebound Records & Universal Music Distribution. There is one interesting thing about it, some copies have the song “No One Like You (Live)” was weirdly replaced with the studio version, but still listed it as “Live” on the track listing. My copy is the boring old version with the actual live version. And that is it, nothing else interesting about this release. So, I will at least go through the songs and give my input on them.
“Big City Nights” is up first and it is off the album ‘Love at First Sting’ and was the third single off the album. This one leans more to the 80’s pop rock, very radio friendly and although a rocker, a little calmer. Yet, it is very effective with its cool riff, contagious chorus and of course, that great Klaus vocal. What is there not to like.
The Scorpions were flying high. From the release of ‘Lovedrive’ in 1979 all the way up to ‘Savage Amusement’ in 1988, they could do no wrong. Their label, Mercury Records, thought, “hey, good time for a greatest hits compilation”…and ‘Best of Rockers ‘N’ Ballads’ was born. Since they have had other compilations focusing on Pre-‘Lovedrive’, Mercury Records released a compilation of only songs that were during the bands tenure on Mercury from 1979-1988. To make it enticing to fans, they added a few new remixes and unreleased tracks and I am a fan of new mixes and unreleased tracks.
The album was released on November 29, 1989 just in time for Christmas. And what a present it was. The album sold over 1,000,000 copies and is the only Scorpions compilation to be certified Platinum. The album went to #43 on the U.S. charts and had one single that went to #5 on the Mainstream Rock Charts. Now, depending on where you were in the world, you got a different track list. The European version had an extra track, “Is There Anybody There” from ‘Lovedrive, but this was a remix and previously unreleased. They also got a remix of “Hey You” which is a Non-Album single from 1980 that hasn’t been released on any album up to this point. The US and Japanese releases did not have either of those tracks, but did have the original version of “Hey You”. The European CD release also included one more rare track. It was the version of “China White” which features the guitar solo that was only available on the US Blackout release. If you are a completist on the Scorpions, you have a lot to buy here.
With the massive success of ‘Love at First Sting’, Scorpions were riding high. So the label felt it was time for another live album as it had been 7 years since the last one. During the ‘Love at First Sting Tour’, numerous shows were recorded and a double live album was pieced together. The shows were as follows:
Bercy, Paris, France (1984-02-29)
The Forum, Los Angeles, CA, USA (1984-04-24 & 1984-04-25)
Sports Arena, San Diego, CA, USA (1984-04-26)
Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, CA, USA (1984-04-28)
Sporthalle, Cologne, West Germany (1984-11-17)
The album was released on June 20, 1985 and went all the way to #17 on the US Billboard 200 Chart and sold over 1,000,000 copies giving it platinum status. The band could do no wrong. The classic line-up was in place with Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Matthias Jabs, Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell. And of course, the album was produced by long time Scorps producer Dieter Dierks.
The band started recording their 9th studio album in Stommein, West Germany which is where producer, Dieter Dierks, studio was located. The album was recorded in 1983 and 1984 and finally saw its release on March 27, 1984. The line-up was intact with Klause Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Mathias Jabs, Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell.
However, some of the early recordings that took place were actually in Sweden and had former Rainbow members, Jimmy Bain on bass and Bobby Rondinell on drums. Jimmy Bain’s name was brought up by Herman and then later Herman got sick and Bobby stepped in. The band then left Sweden and did a two week tour in the States with the normal members of the band. After the tour it was determined that everyone felt great and they headed to Germany to record with the original members.
The album became Scorpions biggest selling album of all time going triple platinum with well over 3,000,000 copies sold in the U.S. alone. Thanks in large part to MTV and the smash song “Rock You Like a Hurricane” which is a staple at sporting events and a song I think everyone in the world knows. The album went to #6 on the Billboard 200 album chart, but it was really the constant rotation on MTV that got the U.S.’s attention. I know it got mine. They played all their videos and even the ones from Blackout which made a lot of people run out and get that album as well. “Love at First Sting” was the band’s pinnacle album. The smooth, high glossed rock was so well polished it gave off a platinum sheen. And in fact, it was one of the first fully digital metal albums ever made. They have reached the top…or had they?