On October 9, 1976, "Scorpions" released their fourth studio album - "Virgin Killer".
This album continues the development process of the band, which left behind the psychedelic roots of "Lonesome Crow" and got closer and closer to the hard rock sound and genre that would characterize it over the next few decades.
Simultaneously with the development process that "Scorpions" underwent, the audience also opened up to the band, which on this album managed to establish its status outside Germany as well, mainly in Japan, but not yet in the US.
It can be said that "Virgin Killer" continues the formula of the previous excellent album "In Trance", and includes a balanced mix of fast hard rock songs with "biting" guitars, alongside soft blues ballads with melodic solos. Here, too, Klaus Meine demonstrates his vocal abilities ranging from the loud screams of "Virgin Killer" to the soft, caressing voice of "In Your Park."
At the same time, there is a natural development of the band and especially maturation compared to the previous album "In Trance". There is a combination between the Hendrix guitar sound and the well-known melancholy from the first album "Lonesome Crow". This time you can also hear the buds of the neoclassical genre that will characterize the excellent guitarist Uli Jon Roth.
Similar to the previous album, this album was also produced by Dieter Dierks, who was known for productions for leading bands in the Krautrock genre in West Germany and greatly helped the development of the band's sound.
The album opens with two atom bombs. "Pictured Life" with the dual guitar sound, that will become the sound signature of "Scorpions" and will become a classic in the band's repertoire, and the fast and edgy "Catch Your Train" with the dialogue between Klaus Meine's screams and Uli Jon Roth's short and instructive guitar sentences, which is simple Proves what a talented and unique guitarist he is.
The album continues with "In Your Park" - a melting blues ballad that is one of our band's favorite tracks. What a perfect guitar work by Rudolf Schenker and Uli Jon Roth that opens our hearts with the palm-muted strings, and what powerful and heartbreaking vocals by Klaus Meine.
Immediately after comes "Backstage Queen" with the sweeping riff cut by the groovy guitar lines, and the theme song "Virgin Killer" which is the first of 4 written and composed by John Roth alone. In contrast to the provocative title, the lyrics of the song were written as a critique of the rapid loss of innocence of young girls and the consequences that follow. The song's melody was influenced by "Kiss" with whom "Scorpions" went on a joint tour, with John Roth playing the riff trying to mimic Kiss' sound, referring to Paul Stanley in a sting with the words "Cause he's a virgin killer!". Maine who listened to Roth was very enthusiastic and asked him to continue developing the idea, and the result was the album's theme song.
The other three songs Roth wrote exclusively for the album are "Hell Cat" which also opens the other side of the vinyl and illustrates how much Uli Jon Roth was influenced by Jimi Hendrix both in playing and singing style, "Polar Nights" excelling with the bouncy rhythm and "Yellow Raven" which seals the album with caressing Velvet combined with psychedelia.
And it is impossible not to refer to one of the best and least appreciated songs in our opinion - "Crying Days" a song whose one of the riffs sounds like it was taken from a horror movie, but is really far away from there. This is another ballad of the band which sits at the crossroads of solos reminiscent of the psychedelic era, with the sound and musical elements that "Scorpions" will develop down the road, especially in their ballads.
The album's original cover caused quite a fuss at the time, after the band decided to include a photo of one of the record company manager's 10-year-old niece in its nakedness, apparently to attract attention and thereby increase awareness. This caused a great scandal which forced the band to release copies of the album with a new cover, in which the members of the "Scorpions" are shown.
This scandal continued to haunt the band even years later, when in 2008 Wikipedia decided to use the original cover to display the album which led to the case being reported to the FBI who investigated the matter and found that there was no US law violation. Later there were also demands from the Internet Watch Foundation to remove the page, but today the entry in Wikipedia includes the original image.
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