On February 25, 1979, "Scorpions" released its sixth studio album, "Lovedrive".
This album marked a fundamental change in the sound and style of the band. It was the first to set the familiar formula of "Scorpions", which includes a combination of Hard Rock songs with melodic and sweet ballads. It is also the album that some critics consider to be the pinnacle of the band's work.
The story of "Lovedrive" begins in 1977, with the end of the recordings of the album "Taken By Force", which marked the end of the psychedelic era of "Scorpions". The change in the musical line led to friction between Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine on the one hand, who wanted to push the band's style towards Hard Rock/Melodic Metal, and Uli Jon Roth on the other. These musical disagreements led Uli Jon Roth to decide he wanted to leave the band, but Klaus Meine's persuasions led him to stay for the tour during which the "Tokyo Tapes" live album was recorded. At the end of the tour, Uli Jon Roth left the band and founded "Electric Sun". In his place, "Scorpions" hired the services of guitarist Matthias Jabs, who was chosen from 150 guitarists who auditioned, thus completing the band's classic line-up.
But the story was not so simple, because after Matthias joined the band, a new actor, a "Superstar", came into the picture, in the form of Michael Schenker, the brother of Rudolf Schenker who just left "UFO", after the release of the live album "Strangers in the Night" from 1979. Michael was a guest on the recording of "Lovedrive" and even provided solos and background vocals, for 6 of the album's eight songs. Later Michael will also replace Jabs during the band's tour, but will leave again in April 1979, to set up his own project "Michael Schenker Group". This will lead Matthias back into the band's arms.
Why are we telling you all of this? Because the addition of Jabs and the change of musical direction by Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine, will bring "Scorpions" to meteoric success that will only intensify from the early 1980s, while "Lovedrive" marks the exact turning point.
Rudolf Schenker said that after the departure of Uli Jon Roth, he and Meine were determined to prove they could continue without him. The recruitment of Jabs helped them hone their sound. The songs became shorter and denser and they relied less on guitar solos and more on stadium-oriented catchy riffs. The fact that the meteor Michael Schenker joined the recordings, only added to the confidence and helped the musical change, while giving the band exactly the boost it needed.
For example, Michael Schenker's additions in songs like the energetic and fast-paced "Another Piece of Meat", the instrumental "Coast to Coast" or the theme song "Lovedrive" is well felt, especially in the last one, where the riff and rhythm, sound like they were borrowed from Michael's previous band, "UFO".
Another significant change that took place on this album, was the dominance of "power ballads" like "Holiday", which will become a regular part of the band's albums, as a matter of deliberate policy. It's not that the band did not have quiet and melodic songs before, but on this album, they came up with the winning formula, which not only will skyrocket their careers, but will serve as a role model for any Hard Rock or Heavy Metal band in the 1980s and beyond. You will hardly find a classic Heavy Metal album during the 80s, without a ballad that tries to emulate the winning recipe that "Scorpions" started on this album. Listen, for example, to "Always Somewhere" (whose chord progression itself was influenced by "Simple Man" by "Lynyrd Skynyrd") and then to "Don't Cry" by "Guns N 'Roses" and understand what we're talking about.
This balanced between "fast and furious" and "slow and melodic", will become an ultimate irresistible combination. This recipe will be incorporated into the band's next albums such as "Blackout" and "Love at First Sting", which will spawn stadium rock anthems alongside timeless ballads.