1983 and 1984 were key years in the development of my interest in hard rock/metal music and 1984 in particular was a fantastic year for album releases from some of my favourite bands. The first of these is my absolute favourite Scorpions album, the epic “Love At First Sting”.. Although I had heard of the Scorpions, at that point I would not have considered myself a big fan. Little did I realize that was all about to change. I remember going into one of our local record stores one weekend in the summer (as I did a lot 😊 back then) and stumbling across Love at First Sting as I was flipping through the Heavy Metal section. I will admit it was the rather risque cover (well to a 13 year old boy it was risque) of Love Drive that caught my eye first and then the crazy picture on the front of Blackout that really made me curious. I flipped one more time and found Love At First Sting (again with that risque cover!). Back then I actually bought a lot of albums solely based on how cool the album artwork was and in many cases I had never even heard any of the music. I’m happy to report that 99% of the time the records I bought on sight alone actually rocked as well. I can’t remember exactly why, but that afternoon I decided Love At First Sting would be my first Scorpions record and wow I am ever glad I made that choice.
“Love At First Sting” is one of the defining records of 80’s hard rock/metal, and is a true example of an album that’s “all killer and no filler”. Track for track this album rocks, with nine epic songs running the gamut from all out heavy rockers to an emotional heartfelt ballad (more on this one later). Side 1 of the record is almost perfect and one of the best of the decade in hard rock. Every song could have been a single and it’s also one of those records where Side 2 is just as good as Side 1. It is in my opinion the Scorpions deepest album, laden with quality tracks from top to bottom. It’s also the album that was my gateway into the Scorpions fantastic back catalog as I soon discovered albums like “Blackout” and “Animal Magnetism”.
Let’s get into the songs on “Love At First Sting”. What better song to kick off Side 1 than the fantastically catchy ‘Bad Boys Running Wild’ which starts us off with that signature Mathias Jabs guitar riff and a driving bass line and drum beat. It’s a perfect party song, guaranteed to get your night going! ‘Bad Boys Running Wild’ wasn’t released as a single but it definitely could have been. With a song this strong starting off the album, you already knew that you were going to love the rest of it.
Keeping the momentum that started with Bad Boys Running Wild, the Scorpions launch into their signature song, ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ with Rudolf Schenker’s fantastic guitar lead. It’s one of the greatest openings to a rock song I’ve ever heard and instantly memorable. The totally sleazy lyrics fit extremely well with the music and the Scorpions pull off what would have been considered tacky by any other band. Rock You Like A Hurricane quickly became my favourite Scorpions song and is one of the greatest hard rock songs of all time. It’s one of those classic songs that you just can’t help singing along with, especially that amazing chorus. The song hit #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 (#5 on the Mainstream Rock Charts) and the concept video (featuring the band under siege in a cage by babes on some alien planet) was in heavy rotation on MTV.
The album keeps the rock going with the solid ‘I’m Leaving You’ a song obviously written with the memory of a girlfriend left behind. It’s a great mid tempo rocker and sets things up nicely for the absolutely killer 4th track.
‘Coming Home’ is in my opinion one of the Scorpions best written songs and definitely one of their most memorable. It starts off as a beautiful ballad, Klaus Meine’s haunting vocals lulling you into a blissful state… and then BAM!!! Coming Home turns into a heavy, rollicking ride complete with epic guitar soloing. I would have loved to have seen this song played live!
Side One finishes off with the another great rock track, ‘The Same Thrill’. Although not one of my favourite tracks on the album, it’s a great finish to the first side. Just as they did with the opening song on side one, the band hits us with an EPIC start to Side 2. One thing I love about classic vinyl albums is the thought that went into which songs went on which side of the album and the well thought out order of tracks. The Scorpions nailed it on this album giving us all a reason to want to listen to Side 2! ‘Big City Nights’ is vintage Scorpions at their absolute best. A total party track and one of their best live performances, it fits perfectly with the rocker lifestyle. The video (shot around the world on the Love At First Sting tour) captures the Scorpions at their best as the travel the world on tour (and includes obligatory crowd sing-along’s for the chorus).
Side Two continues with the tracks ‘As Soon As the Good Times Roll’ and ‘Crossfire’ both which fit in well with Love At First Sting’s hard rocking theme. Everything to this point though has been leading up to the epic conclusion of the album and one of the most iconic hard rock ballads ever made. Described by writer Rudolf Schenker, “It’s a story about a love affair, where they recognized it may be over, but let’s try again”. Featuring the strong vocals of Klaus Meine, this song is an absolute tear-jerker, filled with all the emotions one feels after a break up and that desire to make things work. The video features the band performing the song live on the Love At First Sting tour. I was somewhat surprised to find out that the song only got as high as #64 on the US Hot 100 as it has definitely become perhaps the Scorpions most recognized song. It was however a massive hit all over Europe.
Years ago, I unfortunately sold a bunch of my old records (including Love At First Sting) but recently I was able to pick up another copy of this epic album. It remains today one of my favourite all time rock albums and I think the Scorpions career defining album going 3x platinum in the U.S. and 2x platinum in Canada. In 1991 I was finally able to see this amazing band live for the first time on the Crazy World tour and they did not disappoint, seeing all of my favourites from the Love At First Sting album. Here’s a few shots of the copy I picked up recently: