Sitting with my guests Klaus Meine, Scorpions singer and songwriter, and Rudolph Schenker, guitarist/ songwriter, it was fascinating to be reminded by members of Germany’s beloved band just how much rock music had changed the world in thirty-five years. And they should know better than anyone: they were there, living it every day in just the five short years after the early 1984 release of Love at First Sting. “We were not proud of our country, and our parents were not proud of our country,” says Scorpions lead singer Klaus Meine. “They had just survived the (Second World) War. So rock music is the way we got out. And starting as young musicians playing English and American music, it was in a way something like an attempt to be part of the world community, to escape a place where you feel this burden.”
The Scorpions from Hanover Germany had been the decade-long international long shot when their 1982 album Blackout blew up Top 10 in the US, powered by the # 1 Rock radio track “No One Like You”. The Scorpions’ follow-up album Love At First Sting two years later soared to # 6 on the Billboard album chart with triple platinum sales while delivering a blitzkreig of rock anthems including “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, “Big City Nights”, and the signature power ballad “Still Loving You”.
But the real story is how the Scorpions overcame potentially unsurmountable barriers of distance, language, lack of management, lead singer Klaus Meine’s desperate throat surgery, the notorious East German Stasi secret police, and the Berlin Wall to be key players with Soviet Premiere Mikhail Gorbachev’s dismantling of Communism in the Soviet Eastern Bloc. Lead singer/ songwriter Klaus Meine and guitarist/songwriter Rudolph Schenker share how rock’n’roll helped the Scorpions escape the uber guilt of Germany’s Nazi past and build a future.”We played Leningrad and the Moscow Music Peace Festival in 1988 and 1989, one hundred thousand Russians for each of two days in Lenin Stadium…When we were growing up in Germany, the Russians were the ‘bad guys’. But in 1989 there was such a feeling of hope…We told the Russians, ‘Our parents came with tanks. We come with guitars.”
In 1997 powerful feelings, not of social liberation but of deeply personal loss, swept through the Scorpions inner circle while recording the album Eye to Eye for eventual 1999 release, and Klaus Meine reveals the inspiration for that album’s title song. –Redbeard