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…
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.