Up till now, nearly every band on this list has been either British (The Kinks, The Who, Cream, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow) or North American (Jimi Hendrix [though with a British backing band], Steppenwolf, MC5, Blue Öyster Cult, Rush [Canadian]). The sole exception has been AC/DC, and they too are from an anglophone country — Australia. Now meet the Scorpions (and the bad-taste cover of their Lovedrive album):
As though you can’t tell from the vocal, the Scorpions are German. The screaming vocal is Klaus Meine’s. Their drummer, Herman Rarebell, was to go on to record a solo album under the title Herman ze German, billing himself as “the only German with a sense of humour”. But (and I mean no disrespect to bassist Francis Buchholz), the Scorpions are really all about the double-guitar attack of Rudi Schenker (rhythm) and Matthias Jabs (lead). The two of them work together to great effect on I Can’t Get Enough, Rudi’s remorseless riffing perfectly complemented by Jabs’ fluid, powerful, and occasionally atonal soloing. By the end of the song, both of them are hammering away in top gear, with Meine’s howled vocal improvisations winding in and out of both. It’s one of the most unashamedly full-on metal songs I know.
Rudi Schenker is the older brother of the more celebrated Michael, one of hard rock’s most distinctive guitarists. Having briefly been part of the original Scorpions line-up — it’s his lead playing on their underrated debut Lonesome Crow — Michael Schenker invested the best years of his career with brit-rockers UFO before briefly returning to contribute to some of the songs on the Scorpions’ Lovedrive album and then forming a near-endless sequence of different versions of the Michael Schenker Group. UFO didn’t quite make it onto this timeline, but they’re well worth a listen. Check out Schenker’s unique guitar tone in the solo from Born to Lose (starting at 1:50). Or, better yet, his signature song Rock Bottom, with its monster riff and inventive soloing — recorded when Schenker was only eighteen.
While little brother was building a career with UFO, Rudi and his bandmates put together a sequence of very Germanic sounding albums. But it was only when Matthias Jabs replaced previous lead guitarist Uli Roth that they landed on the sound they’re best known for. Lovedrive was the first and arguably the best of these — a commercial breakthrough that made them the first continental heavy metal band to break into the top tier.