When the Scorpions Celebrated Their ’80s Peak With ‘World Wide Live’
On most every occasion, in fact almost by definition, live albums are recorded to both document and celebrate a band's success. This was doubly so for the Scorpions when they captured what, in retrospect, proved to be the very peak of their global stardom with the aptly named World Wide Live, which was released on June 20, 1985.
A platinum seller in both the U.S. and Canada, and a gold-certified Top 10 release in numerous European countries, World Wide Live really was a coronation of their talents, hard work, and most of all, their dogged persistence.
After all, nearly 20 years had already elapsed since rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker first began playing in teenage bands, beginning what would prove to be an arduous climb, filled with the challenges and setbacks faced by most any band seeking greatness, and none greater than losing his mercurial baby brother, Michael, to Britain's UFO.
But with the help of key musical contributions made by the latter's equally gifted replacement, Uli Jon Roth, charismatic vocalist Klaus Meine and, later, bassist Francis Buchholz and drummer Herman Rarebell, Rudolf and the Scorpions wrapped up the '70s as one of the planet's leading heavy rock attractions – almost everywhere except for America, where their profile still needed work.
This was about to change after the band swapped RCA for Mercury Records and signed with the powerful Leber & Krebs management team. They survived the loss of another guitar genius (Roth – replaced by the baby faced Matthias Jabs) and released a spate of ever-more popular albums like Lovedrive (1979), Animal Magnetism (1980), Blackout (1982), and Love at First Sting (1984).
Listen to Scorpions Perform 'Coming Home'
The latter, in particular, truly pushed them over the top, setting the Scorpions them on a frankly colossal, year-long headlining world tour comprised of nearly 170 shows. Needless to say, a tour of this magnitude was simply begging for a live album, and all of four vinyl sides were needed to capture the full scope and power of the German quintet as they raced around the globe at top speed as the ultimate hard rock machine.
As such, World Wide Live, when it arrived, was fairly bursting at the seams with highlights from the band's aforementioned, most recent four studio albums, including major hits like "Make It Real," "Big City Nights", "Loving You Sunday Morning," "Rock You Like a Hurricane," "No One Like You," and the mega-ballad "Still Loving You."
Meanwhile, heavier fan favorites like the galloping "Coming Home," "Blackout" and "Another Piece of Meat" constantly offset further lighter moments like an acoustic "Holiday" and the always gorgeous instrumental "Coast to Coast," while the sensual strut of "The Zoo" was given longer legs by Jabs and his talk-box.
An absolutely devastating speed metal blast through "Dynamite" brought the two-hour, nearly 20-song set to a cataclysmic finale, so that the "Six String Sting" finale, sandwiched between a two-part "Can't Get Enough" was really just gravy.
The unprecedented high shared between the band and their fans after the world conquering blur that was 1984 would never truly be equaled again – though Scorpions would, of course, carry on enjoying great, if not always consistent, success amid changing times, fashions and personnel. But it's almost inevitably World Wide Live and the imagery and music surrounding it that most frequently comes to mind when fans look back fondly on Scorpions' absolute glory days – and with good reason.