Scorpions: Lonesome Crow (1972) by Ben Miler
The Scorpions, for many, will give one guaranteed nightmares of ’80s pop metal and cheesy anthems as “Rock Your Like a Hurricane”. But the band has a history that predates that song (or the album in question, 1984’s Love at First Sting) by almost two decades. They actually formed around 1965, but wasn’t until around 1971 that they got a chance to record. No matter who was in the band, or how the band’s sound changed through the years, it was always vocalist Klaus Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker.
But things were way different in 1972 when the band released their debut album, Lonesome Crow (which was released on the Brain label, and the first ever release on that label). This album featured Rudolf Schenker’s younger brother, Michael Schenker on additional guitars (Michael was just 16 when this album came out) and is truly a very different album than what you expect from these guys. No cheesy heavy metal anthems to be found here, you won’t find anything remotely resembling “Rock You Like a Hurricane”. Instead you get treated with psychedelia, jazz, early hard rock, prog rock, even some Krautrock! “I’m Going Mad” is a fantastic opening piece with strong ’60s psychedelic overtones and great guitar playing from Michael Schenker! “It All Depends” has a stronger hard rock feel with some bluesy overtones, while “Leave Me Alone” has some bizarre sound effects and more of that great psychedelic sound you certainly don’t associate the Scorpions with! Plus this piece then later rocks with some heavy guitar solos. “In Search of the Piece of Mind” has a surprisingly folk-influenced sound, complete with acoustic guitars. The music then changes to more hard rocking territory where Klaus Meine shrieks. “Inheritance” starts off mellow, but then they get rocking more for a short time, then a really wonderful atmospheric passage with an almost Pink Floyd-like feel! Then the piece goes back to how it return. “Action” is a rather surprisingly jazzy piece, even the drummer at the time, Wolfgang Dziony provides some rather jazzy drumming! I can’t believe the Scorpions actually did stuff like this! Then comes the lengthiest piece, the title track. Starts off rather mellow, and then the music starts including lengthy guitar solos, and through several changes, and then eventually the music slows down near the end.
But of course, Michael Schenker left after this album to join UFO, and the Scorpions would witness many lineup changes (including Ulrich Roth, and future Eloy drummer Jürgen Rosenthal, plus many others), not to mention switching from Brain to RCA (and later on Harvest in Germany and Mercury in America when they changed to the arena act people associate them with).
What more can I say about Lonesome Crow? I never stop being amazed listening to this album. Even if you’re a non-fan or even run at the thought of them, I very much highly recommend this album if the description of the album sounds good to you!
– Klaus Meine: vocals
– Michael Schenker: guitars
– Rudolf Schenker: guitars
– Lothar Heimberg: bass
– Wolfgang Dziony: drums