Scorpions was founded by the guitar playing Schenker brothers (Michael and Rudolph), along with Klaus Meine (vocals), Lothar Heinberg (bass) and Wolfgang Dziony (drums). Their premier record on the domestic 'Brain' label, Lonesome Crow (1973), was well received but the celebration was short lived. Michael wanted a show of his own and soon left to join U.F.O., later forming his own MSG to be replaced by Ulrich Roth in 1974. Jurgen Rosenthal replaced Dziony and Francis Buchholz took the place of Lothar.
1974 saw them singing to 'MCA' and releasing the follow-up album, Fly To The Rainbow. Their sound was now evolving into Jazz-influenced German Hard Rock with high-pitched vocals and lumbering riffs. Rudy Lenners took over drums from Rosenthal the following year. This sound and line-up would influence the follow-up releases, In Trance (1976), Virgin Killers (1977) and Taken By Force (1978). Tokyo Tapes (1979) was a live effort that neatly summed up their career to that point. Roth, unhappy with the more commercial direction the act was taking, left to form Electric Sun, his replacement being Mathias Jabs. Michael Schenker returned briefly and was featured on three tracks of the Lovedrive (1979) release. At the same time, Herman Rarebell replaced Linners. Now under a new deal with 'Harvest', this latest effort drove them into the top 40 and top 60 in the U.K. and U.S. respectively. The follow-up fared even better. Animal Magnetism (1980) got them into the U.K. top 20, mostly on the track The Zoo; it was now clear their musical improvements were being matched on the production side.
Blackout (1982) finally broke them stateside, achieving double platinum with a 10 U.S./11 U.K. chart position, and it's follow-up Love At First Sting (1984), sold twice that, with the track Rock You Like Hurricane making top 30 on it's own with the album taking 6 in the U.S./17 U.K. World Wide Live (1985), a live set, followed this trend and featured only tracks since their last live effort; summing up another chapter in their collective life. Now the Scorpions were tailoring their music for the U.S. market almost exclusively by featuring hooky lyrics with Pop melody and Hard Rock crunch. This style fit nicely in between the NWOBHM and Pop Metal phenomenon that was sweeping that nation at the time.
It would be a further four years, however, before Savage Amusement (1988) would surface. It was at this point they singed to 'Phonogram', as well as ending their 20 year relationship with producer Dieter Dierks. Their career would further be boosted in 1991 with the ballad single Wind Of Change, getting top 5 U.S. and a 1 worldwide, taken from the otherwise mediocre Crazy World album (1990). The single gave them instant crossover appeal without sacrificing their fan base; it even helped them become the first western Rock band to play in the Soviet Union. The song was influenced by the events of the time and took a very political point of view on the sweeping changes that were happening in the communist bloc at that time. A version of the song was actually translated into Russian!
Their tales of crazy nights and loose women had been traded, for a time, for more political issues from this point on, and Face The Heat (1993) was their first full album of this style by taking on the issues of unification of east and west Germany, their homelands. But before its release, Buchholz was given the sack and replaced with Ralph Reickermann, who previously worked as a computer programmer for Kingdom Come, along with various other soundtrack work. To further compound the issue, the band was being investigated for alleged tax evasion.
Live Bites (1995), another live effort, and Pure Instict (1996) would follow, but hovered only in and around the 100 positions, their glory days slowly slipping away. The latter album also witnessed another membership change with Rarebell giving way for Curt Cress on drums, while Reickermann would also leave. The membership saw Patti Height (drums), Luke Herzog and Koen Van Bael (both keyboards) taking guest spots.
Not to be deterred, Eye To Eye emerged in 1999 with James Kottak on drums, to little notice; their sound now far less Metallic than their beginnings. After Ken Taylor replaced Reickermann on bass, Moment Of Glory (2000) would continue this trend with a Metallica meets an orchestra effort with the album featuring The Berlin Philharmonic. Continuing on this trend the aptly titled Acoustica followed in 2001 with the return of Ralph Rieckermann. But Rieckermann would be out again and replaced with Pawel Maciwodafor the release of the follow-up, Unbreakable (2004).