With the album ‘Blackout’, the Scorpions were starting to break big and it looks like the record company wanted to promote more of the band’s 70’s material, especially with Uli Jon Roth. This is the band’s second compilation and like the first one, only features songs with Uli. Released on May 4, 1982, ‘Hot & Heavy’ is released under the RCA banner of “Takeoff” series. The album, as the title suggests, features the heavier songs by the band and even has 3 Uli sung songs. The songs cover the years 1974-1977.
Admittedly, this is not really necessary as a release, but it is a good showcase of the band’s more rocking material. Sadly, there are 6 repeats on this compilation that are on the ‘Best of Scorpions’ released a few years back. My version is the German release of the album and the back cover has a brief history of the band in both German and English. The back cover also highlights a few other albums under the “Takeoff” series umbrella.
In 1980, not sure if the record label was capitalizing on Scorpions growing success or what they were doing, but the released this 2LP set called “Rock Galaxy”. It isn’t a compilation album…nope. It is a re-release of two of the bands albums…’Fly to the Rainbow’ (1974) and ‘In Trance’ (1975). It was released in 1980, out of Germany, but sold across Europe as you can see from the back cover. It would see re-issues later in Spain and Greece, but my copy is from Germany.
The release I have is a 2LP set and on a wonderful gatefold. The inside picture is of the band and not a great one at that as Klaus is either frightened or he is just totally uncomfortable getting his picture taken. The story of the band is on written in both English and German and is called ‘The Scorpions Chronicle’ or in German as ‘Die Scorpions Chronik’.
The album at least isn’t controversial. It is basically plain and utterly awful. I hope the band didn’t have an input in the cover, because if they did I would question their sanity. We already know record labels were full of idiots so if they chose the cover it then makes sense. However, it is the awful cover that is the main reason I bought this. I already have the two albums, but dang, that cover is so bad I had to have it.
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…
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.