Scorpions are best known in the U.S. for their arena-rock anthems of the ’80s and early ’90s: “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “No One Like You” and their post-Berlin Wall collapse ballad, “Wind of Change.”
But they had a long and rich history in West Germany before they broke out with Blackout here. And that early story is the basis of a new book.
German Metal Machine: Scorpions in the ’70s is an oral history that tells of the band’s early days — of two different influential lead guitarists, Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker; of albums such as Lonesome Crow, Fly to the Rainbow, In Trance, Virgin Killer, Taken by Force and Tokyo Tapes.
In his 19th music book, author Greg Prato discusses this era with several band members past and present: Michael Schenker, Roth, Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell, as well as longtime Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks.
Members of other bands who are admirers were also interviewed, including KK Downing of Judas Priest, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Joe Satriani, Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith and David Ellefson of Megadeth. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett wrote the foreword.
Rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker, Michael’s older brother, founded the band as a beat group in 1965. The addition of Michael and singer Klaus Meine in 1970 set the band on its metal trajectory. The Scorpions released their first album, Lonesome Crow, in 1972.
One chapter is devoted to the song “The Sails of Charon,” written by Roth for the 1977 album Taken by Force. It’s a song that has been lauded by Hammett, and is also cited as a huge influence on Yngwie Malmsteen and his playing style.
The book is available in paperback, Kindle, Nook and iBook formats.
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