”]Rudolf Schenker launched Scorpions in 1965 in Hannover, Germany. In 1969, Schenker’s younger brother Michael (guitars) joined the band along with vocalist Klaus Meine (until then, Rudolf performed double duty as a guitarist and lead vocalist). Lothar Heimberg and Wolfgang Dziony filled out the lineup, and in 1972 the band released its first LP, “Lonesome Crow”, on RCA Records. During the “Lonesome Crow” tour, Michael Schenker was offered the lead guitar position in UFO; he accepted and quit the band. Ulrich Roth, the lead guitarist for the German band Dawn Road, filled in for Schenker on the remainder of the tour. The departure of Michael Schenker, however, led to the breakup of Scorpions. Rudolf Schenker opted to join Dawn Road, which up to this point consisted of Roth, Francis Buchholz (bass guitar), Achim Kirschning (keyboards) and Jurgen Rosenthal (drums). Roth and Buchholz convinced Rudolf Schenker to invite Klaus Meine to join the band, which was now renamed Scorpions because it was well-known in the German rock scene and they had already released an album under that name, even though only Schenker and Meine remained from the “Lonesome Crow” lineup.
The new lineup released “Fly To The Rainbow” (1974), which outsold “Lonesome Crow” and contained the fan favorite “Speedy’s Coming”. After the release of this album Kirschning decided to leave the band and Rosenthal had to leave Scorpions as he was drafted into the army; he was replaced by Rudy Lenners. Their third album, “In Trance”, marked the beginning of a long collaboration with producer Dieter Dierks. “Virgin Killer” (1976) followed with its controversial cover (a naked prepubescent girl covered with broken glass); the album was success with critics. In 1977 Lenners was replaced with Herman Rarebell, and the band released their fifth studio album, “Taken By Force”. Scorpions toured Japan in support of the album; Roth, however, was not satisfied with the artistic direction of the band and left after the Japanese tour. The live double LP “Tokyo Tapes” was released in 1978; it was released in the U.S. and Europe in 1979, 6 months after its release in Japan. In mid-1978, the band recruited new guitarist Matthias Jabs after auditioning 140 guitarists to replace Roth. Scorpions then left RCA Records for Mercury Records, releasing their first album for the label, “Lovedrive”, on February 25, 1979, an album that contained 3 songs featuring Michael Schenker, who had briefly rejoined Scorpions after being fired by UFO for alcohol abuse. The album peaked at #55 on the U.S. Billboard album chart, and was eventually certified gold, making it their most commercially successful LP in the United States up to that point, and some critics consider it to be the pinnacle of their career. It cemented the Scorpion formula mixing rockers with melodic ballads, and it also contained today’s featured single: “Is There Anybody There?” b/w “Another Piece Of Meat”.
“Is There Anybody There?” starts off with with a laid-back reggae beat established with a four-note riff (D/C/B/E), played the first time with a clean, funky sound, and the second time with distortion (to accompany Meine’s dreamy “Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah” vocals). The guitar riff accompanying the verses contains only 2 chords (Bm/A); the riff on the chorus adds two additional chords (G/D). The lyrics seem unusually eclectic for a heavy metal song: “Open my mind let me find new vibrations/Tell me the way I must take to reach my destination/And a place where I can stay/Where is the love of my life couldn’t find her”. Although the lyrics are awkward at some points, I found the idea of drawing an analogy of someone separated from his significant other as akin to being “lost in the ocean” and “in the darkness of these days” to be a compelling one. Although the song doesn’t really fit into either of the band’s traditional categories (it’s essentially an easy-going mid-tempo song; it’s not really a rocker or a ballad), it’s a worthy addition to their catalog, and it’s a reggae-influenced song released around the time that a lot of pop music sported a reggae influence (e.g. The Police, The Specials). And Meine’s vocals give the song an ethereal quality, even if the sound doesn’t quite transport you into another world.
The B-side, “Another Piece Of Meat”, is a pretty straightforward Scorpions rocker. While the band was altering its sound somewhat with this album to sound more contemporary (emulating newer bands such as Van Halen), I don’t think that “Another Piece Of Meat” would be out-of-place on any of their RCA-era LPs. The song is driven by a simple four-chord riff, and the lyrics – about a wanton woman (“She said: “Hey, let’s go, don’t put on a show/You’re just another piece/Another piece of meat”) makes it a much more prototypical heavy-metal material than the A-side. [If that’s not enough, the girl in the song has a fetish for violence: “Violence really turned her on, oh no/She was screaming for more blood”. Thus we get both sex and violence injected into the lyrical content.] There’s an energetic guitar solo about halfway through the song, and this is one of the tracks in which Scorpions reaped the benefits of having no less than 3 guitarists, since Michael Schenker plays guitar (along with Rudolf Schenker and Francis Buchholz) on this track (he would play guitar on two other tracks on the album, “Coast To Coast” and “Lovedrive”). Although Schenker would once again leave the band, the guitar pyrotechnics on this track are intriguing enough to make you wonder what might have been if he had stayed.
This single (catalog #: HAR 5185) was, as far as I know, only issued in the U.K. “Is There Anybody There?” was also issued as a single in Germany, but with “Can’t Get Enough” as the B-side. I couldn’t find any evidence of a U.S. release for this one. I did locate a picture of the U.K. single, albeit a white-label promotional copy, pictured here. It has the same picture as the cover of the “Lovedrive” LP (only in black and white), only with the “Scorpions” logo in big print across the top instead of in small print in the upper left corner. This single was a hit in the U.K., peaking at #39 in the charts (the LP peaked at #36 in the U.K. and #11 in Germany).
Scorpions performing Is There Anybody There? on West German TV in 1979
Scorpions performing Is There Anybody There? live in 1979
Michael Schenker performing Another Piece Of Meat live in 1997