Fly To The Rainbow
RCA Records, 1974
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/13/1999
Last time the Scorpions graced our pages, we dug out the band's debut Lonesome Crow. Since then, I've found that I've had an interest in discovering just who this band was long before they became stars of the metal genre in America. So, I've found myself listening to albums like Blackout and World Wide Live less and less, and albums like 1974's Fly To The Rainbow more and more.
Fly To The Rainbow was the album that first introduced Klaus Meine and company to the States - and they said "hello" with a lineup that was much different than the band who recorded Lonesome Crow. In fact, only Meine and rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker survived from that lineup. Taking over the lead guitar role was Uli Jon Roth, who would lead the band through what some people called the Scorpions's first glory period.
The problem is that this was still a band very much in transition, and Fly To The Rainbow, while a stronger work than Lonesome Crow, still was very disjointed. It's an improvement, albeit not much of one.
The first thing that hits you is the poppiness of the leadoff track "Speedy's Coming," a track which dares to suggest that the band is starting to get serious about rocking you to the floor. Meine is in fine voice - which is to say, he sounds the same as he has throughout his career - as he pays tribute to some of the more popular acts of the time and dares to hint of a new power coming forth to challenge said groups. So far, so good.
"They Need A Million" is the first suggestion that things haven't changed that much. Sure, the eventual lock into a Latin rhythmic pattern suggests that the rock side isn't being forgotten, but leaving Meine to do only background vocals seems to weaken things. (I'd be lying if I said I knew who handles the vocals on this track and "Drifting Sun," but there's a different singer on each track.) To the band's credit, Meine does a lot more of the vocal work on this album, and he has been moved up in the mix - but I have to still wonder why he wasn't the only vocalist for the band yet.
"Fly People Fly" is a bit of a plodder, and isn't the best example of the work that this band could do. Likewie, I think the title track is stretched out a bit longer than it needed to be, but isn't that bad of an effort. The remaining tracks, "This Is My Song" and "Far Away," are pretty decent songs, even if they don't light up the sky like some people might expect them to.
The addition of Roth and drummer Jurgen Rosenthal seems to kick some life into the Scorpions. Roth's guitar work seems to challenge the melody a bit more, while Michael Schenker (who departed to join UFO after Lonesome Crow) seemed to want to work off the melody a little more. Regrettably, he was gone by the time the next album, In Trance, came out - but we'll get to that album soon enough. Bassist Francis Buccholz seems to provide a solid rhythmic anchor - as well as one for the lineup, as he would remain with the band for a good portion of their career afterwards.
Fly To The Rainbow is the first album to really show that the Scorpions had some promise as a rock band, but they were still very much learning to walk, and this album is another I'd call a release for the die-hard fans. It's still worth listening to, especially if you want to get a feel for what this band was like before the spotlight was shining on them. But if I had my choice of listening to this album or Love At First Sting repeatedly, I don't think I'd be going for Fly To The Rainbow that often.