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?
Shortly after the release of their previous album, ‘Animal Magnetism’, Klaus Meine started having vocal issues. It got so bad he had to have surgery on his vocal cords which left a lot of doubt if he was going to heal and be able to continue as lead singer of the band. Scorpions started working on this next album and brought in singer Don Dokken to do the guide vocals on the demos. None of Don’s demoes made the album, naturally, but one can hope they get released one day (if they’ve survived). Luckily for the band, Klaus’ vocal cords healed up nicely and he had no problem completing the album. The album would see its release on March 29, 1982 and would go all the way to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. going platinum with over 1,000,000 records sold.
The band’s line-up ended up unchanged thanks to Klaus’ recovery. It was still Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Mathias Jabs, Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell. Don Dokken is credited with background vocals as they did leave some of his work in tact. Producer was still Dieter Dierks and with all the same cast of characters, the band was really starting to find their way. They were gelling and put together one of the Top 100 Greatest Metal albums of all time according to Rolling Stones Magazine in 2017. I don’t know if I agree or disagree with that, but I do know it is one hell of a great album.
Another year, another Scorpions album. The band recorded their fourth album during 1976 and it was released on October 9, 1976. The album saw the band continue down the hard rock road and refining their sound more and more closer to what they became most famous for, but this album didn’t see them push much further in sales. The album did better outside of Germany seeing some success in Japan, but the U.S. still hadn’t jumped on board yet. In Japan, the album landed at #32 and sold over 100,000 copies but success elsewhere was coming, but not with this album.
With the last album, ‘In Trance’, the album cover saw a little controversy. ‘Virgin Killer’ looked at ‘In Trance’ and said “Hold my Beer”. The original album cover for this album was of a nude prepubescent girl with a broken glass effect over her private parts. This did not sit well with a lot of the buying public as some considered it child pornography. The album cover was not designed by the band as they generally had no say in the album artwork, that was handled by the label and this picture was handled by Steffan Böhle who was product manager for RCA Records. Some countries wouldn’t sell the album unless it was sealed in black plastic so the cover wasn’t visible. As a result, an alternate cover that featured the band members was issued and is the cover I have. I had the opportunity about 6 months ago to buy the original cover album at a record show, but they wanted $150 for it and I didn’t want to spend that much…maybe someday.
Ten months after the release of 1974’s ‘Fly to the Rainbow’, Scorpions recorded then released their third studio album on September 17, 1975 in Europe, but wouldn’t see a U.S. release until March 1976. This time around they had a new drummer as Jurgen Rosenthal left the band because he was drafted in to the Army. He was replaced by Rudy Lenners. The rest of the band was the same with Klaus Meine on lead vocals, Rudolf Schenker on rhythm guitar, Uli Jon Roth on lead guitar (& vocals) and Francis Buchholz on bass.
As far as a sound for the record, Scorpions continued on their hard rock road and left behind those epic 10 minutes songs for an album of 10 tracks within the standard 3 to 5 minute range. They were tighter, more melodic and we even get more Uli Jon Roth on vocals as he gets two songs this go round. This was also the first album that featured producer Dieter Dierks who would go on to produce all their album up to 1988’s Savage Amusement. I guess you could say he was the 6th member of the Scorpions.
This album was also the first album to include the now famous Scorpion log. If that wasn’t enough, it was the start of a set of album covers that would become rather controversial. This one, and the copy I happen to have, shows a beautiful lady standing over Uli’s guitar and one of her breasts is exposed. They would later change the cover to blackout that part hiding her breast. Honestly, this one is really hard to see and you have to be really looking for it to see it, but it is there. This wouldn’t be the last cover of the band to get censored. Censored cover or not, the album helped propel their sound and their popularity, but they were still not near their highest of highs yet. That wouldn’t come for several years.