The 10 best Scorpions albums, chosen by Rudolf Schenker
With over half a century of hurricane rock behind them, Scorpions may have slowed down a bit, but the band that helped shape the model of modern mainstream metal with albums like Lovedrive, animal magnetism, blackout and Thunderbolt are still a tremendous force in and out of the studio.
The driving force behind the group remains Rudolf Schenker, a man whose metronomic and precise rhythm guitar provides the fuel for much of the group’s success. Here he chooses his 10 favorite Scorpions albums.
“We never thought about making an orchestral album, until we were told that the Berlin Philharmonic wanted to work with us. We were the only group they wanted to work with. They even refused Pink Floyd!
“The whole event was a great experience, and we worked really hard on the arrangements. I’m not a big fan of classical music, but it’s something that gave the songs an added edge. Scorpions If MTV Unplugged showed that we could be convincing in an acoustic environment, it proved that we could collaborate with a world-class orchestra.
” We did Acoustic in 2001, so when we were asked to do an MTV Unplugged show, we wanted to make it different. Usually bands do this in front of very small crowds, so we decided to do it with a large audience in a special setting. This is why we went to Athens (to the Lycabettus Open Air Theater).
“The songs are obviously all very strong, but I think the arrangements we made worked out wonderfully. And the atmosphere was amazing. I think we proved that we can play an acoustic show at a very high level. “
“It was originally supposed to be an album with leftovers from the ’70s and’ 80s. And that’s how it started. But one day I found a book my mom kept from September 1965 that documented how much money I owed my dad who loaned us what we needed to go on tour at the time.
“My mom was determined to repay my dad for everything he loaned to the band. When I showed this book to our manager, he was very excited, because he realized that 2015 was our 50th anniversary, and so few bands make it in. So he insisted that we make an album that celebrates the event.
“What we did was use some of the leftovers, but also write new songs with the Swedish rock mafia (Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen). He really has the spirit of the 1980s, and I would say it fits perfectly between Thunderbolt and Wild fun. “
“I always thought these were some of our best songs, but what let him down was the production, which I never liked. But by the time we got to Wild fun, we knew exactly what we were doing and were very up to speed when it comes to the style and sound of the Scorpions.
“It wasn’t that we were in the rehearsal, but we all knew our roles. If only the production had been better …”
“We were lucky enough to record the music we wanted to play without Dieter Dierks, who had been our producer ever since. In trance in 1975. Bruce Fairbarin was our initial choice to perform, and we flew to LA to meet him. He put us in touch with Jim Vallance because he thought Jim could help write the songs.
“We got along so well with Jim, and ended up co-writing a lot of this album with us – seven tracks in all. But at the last minute Bruce said he was asked to produce AC / DC. , who still had one of his ambitions so he couldn’t do our album. Eventually we went with Keith Olsen, who did a great job. Most of the recordings were done at his Goodnight LA studios. , but Klaus had some issues with the vocals, so we did it at Wissloord Studios in Holland, where we also mixed it.
“The album is of course known for Wind of change, which became a hymn to peace for the time. But there were other songs like Send me an angel, which was massive in Asia. Grunge was really taking off, but we could play in front of 20,000 people in a place like Malaysia thanks to that last song. In fact, the consistency of this album helped us survive the onslaught of grunge.
“Every performance here is a killer. It’s been recorded in so many cities around the world (five locations), and our producer Dieter Dierks came with us on the road and spent hours going through each recording we made to find the best version of each song. .
“It was a long job, but it was worth it. It represented how exciting everything was for us at the time, because we were headlining big venues. Until recently, it was the second best-selling live album. Frampton comes to life! was selling more copies.
“We had just completed a huge promotional tour Lovedrive, so I didn’t have a lot of time to put the songs together for the next album. And Matthias [Jabs, guitar] still found its marks.
“But despite all of that, it’s a really powerful album, and some of the songs have become classics. Make it real, Lady Starlight, the zoo… They are an important part of Scorpio history.
“When Animal Magnetism was released, we were also getting a lot bigger and we were about to be headliners everywhere. It was a crucial step for us.
“This was the album where we wanted to prove that losing Uli Jon Roth on guitar wouldn’t affect us. Klaus and I were determined to show that we could continue without him. We sent for Matthias, but he still found his way. So I did a solo, and my brother Michael did too.
“He was on his honeymoon and called me to tell me he was back in Germany. Michael asked what we were doing, and when I told him we were doing a new album he offered to me. to come and play on it. It made a big difference. to the overall sound. I also like the cover art because it really stands out.
“Again, I think the songs are so good. But maybe what puts it a bit off my top pick is that the production isn’t as good. We went to Polar Studios in Stockholm because we wanted to work in a different location. It was one of the first fully digital studios, and it had a great vibe.
“The mistake we made was recording and mixing digitally. We should have mixed the old fashioned way to analog. So the overall sound of the album was not that good.
“But the songs … well, Rock you like a hurricane is one of the rock’n’roll anthems of the 1980s, while Still loving You started a baby boom in France. It’s also been played so much in Russia, that made us a really big band in the country long before we played there in 1988. ”
“There are so many great songs on this album. But it’s more than that that puts it first for me. The sound was so loud, because we were using a state of the art 32 track machine in the studio.
“But more than that, we had to overcome a huge problem, because Klaus Meine lost his voice, and that put a lot of pressure on us. The fact that we got over the problem makes the album very special. Nobody like you became the most played rock song on American radio in 1982, which helped us ramp up and become full headliners there.
“I must also mention the album cover, which I love. We had a lot of meetings with Hipgnosis, who made the Lovedrive and Animal Magnetism covers. But none of their ideas fit. Then I looked in the German magazine Back one day and I saw this photo of (artist) Gottfried Heinwein. I knew it was the cover. I called Klaus, and he saw the photo at the same time and agreed with me! “