Scorpions – Lovedrive (1979): Review

Vinyl records collectors

Produced by Dieter Dierks
Label – Harvest/EMI/Mercury

1979 saw more personnel change for Scorpions, with Uli Roth splitting the ship to be replaced by Matthias Jabs, and the return of half drunk, temperamental guitarist Michael Schenker which would, for some of this recording, maintain a triple pronged guitar attack. 1978 saw the seeds of a more accessible heavy metal, partly due to the success of Van Halen’s debut, and Scorpions were one of a number of acts that would follow in their path by maintaining the distinctive instrumental metal thunder, but exploring more melodic and mainstream melodies. “Lovedrive” is the first and possibly best example of this new synthesis from Scorpions lengthy back catalogue. There’s little doubt that these fledgling recordings were the inspiration for the much heralded NWOBHM that dominated metal music in the early and mid 1980’s, and “Lovedrive” contains all the crushing riffs, and melodic harmonies to guide a new generation.

scorpions1

“Loving You Sunday Morning” fundamentally states the bands new leanings perfectly, with a killer hook, melodic vocals and trademark searing solos. The harder edge is still there in spades on “Another Piece Of Meat” to remind the listener where Scorpions had cut their cumulative teeth. The guitar interplay works perfectly and surprisingly rhythm guitars are upfront on many of the tracks, which makes for an interesting exception to the torrent of lead riffs which many bands of the time operated. This is particularly noticeable on the superb instrumental “Coast To Coast”, which meshes the three guitarists through a vital crescendo of exhilarating rifferama. The title track maintains the adrenaline of the rest, and if one has to pick out a failing, it’s the clumsy reggae of “Is There Anybody There” which over extends the Scorpions versatility badly, and the ballads “Always Somewhere” and “Holiday” are fine, but with the advent of the horrendous “power ballads” years later, sound extremely dated. The band would wait another three years to find an album that would rival this (“Blackout”).

There’s little doubt that Scorpions had never sounded as good as this. Pity they had to bugger it all up in the mid 80’s.

8/10

Track Listing
1.”Loving You Sunday Morning” 5:36
2.”Another Piece of Meat” 3:30
3.”Always Somewhere” 4:56
4.”Coast to Coast” (instrumental) 4:42
5.”Can’t Get Enough” 2:36
6.”Is There Anybody There?” 3:58
7.”Lovedrive” 4:49
8.”Holiday” 6:32

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8 responses to “Scorpions – Lovedrive (1979): Review

  1. So, this is a high point, then? I don’t know much of their stuff at all. I have Blackout and Tokyo Tapes, and I’ve liked what I’ve heard. I also love Wind of Change, which happens to be the first Scorpions track I ever heard.

    • For me it is J. They released other good albums including “Blackout”, but “Wind Of Change” is one of those generic lighters aloft stadium anthems that didn’t do it for me.

  2. I hadn’t seen NWOBHM before this year – I’m pleased that when I read this, I could enjoy the post without worrying about decoding the acronym!

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