On Sept. 17, 1975, a little-known German band going by the intimidating moniker of Scorpions took their embryonic career to the next level with the release of their third studio long-player, In Trance. To this day it is considered among their very best.

On Sept. 17, 1975, a little-known German band going by the intimidating moniker of Scorpions took their embryonic career to the next level with the release of their third studio long-player, In Trance. To this day it is considered among their very best.

Not that the road so far had been a ride on the Autobahn, exactly, for Germany’s future platinum sellers. It was more like a twisting alpine road, filled with ice patches and sheer cliffs, at all times threatening to pitch the hungry young group into the abyss and away from their intended path towards rock stardom.

After slowly assembling in the mid-‘60s, Scorpions’ first LP, 1972’s Lonesome Crow, had dabbled rather unsuccessfully in psychedelia and even Kraut rock. Their 1974 sophomore album, Fly to the Rainbow, had shown marked improvement but still blended leftover hippie digressions amidst the escalating hard rock ingredients on display.





In other words, this album, too, barely hinted at the heightened, newfound focus achieved by the band’s next effort, In Trance, which advanced by leaps-and-bounds towards the signature blend of metal and hard rock that came to define Scorpions’ sound. They were no doubt helped by new producer Dieter Dierks, who would henceforth work with the band for over a decade and a half-dozen LPs.

Not surprisingly, all of those ensuing commercial triumphs would owe much of their successful template to diverse In Trance highlights ranging from the driving “Top of the Bill” and the blisteringly paced “Robot Man,” the cascading “Life’s Like a River” and the majestic “Living and Dying,” plus the seductive, mystery-laden title track.

What was unlike subsequent Scorpions albums, at least those released after 1979, were the songs helmed by lead guitarist Uli Jon Roth, whose vocals were no match for those of frontman Klaus Meine. But his guitar talents were truly second to none, as shown on the roiling, metallic blast of “Dark Lady,” the grungy blues of “Sun in My Hand” and the ethereal dreamscape of closing instrumental “Night Lights.”

All in all, In Trance wasn’t quite perfect (see “Evening Wind” and “Longing for Fire”), but it showed a confidence and maturity previously unheard of from Meine, Roth, rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker, bassist Francis Buchholz and new drummer Rudy Lenners.

Together, this quintet (plus Dierks behind the recording console) would soon certify Scorpions as serious European contenders on the back of impressive follow-ups like Virgin Killer and Taken by Force. But it was In Trance that clearly showed them the way: with its musical improvements and even the first appearance of the band’s distinctive logo font.

Speaking of In Trance’s cover art, it accidentally established another future Scorpions trend by upsetting conservative groups and winding up censored, when the seductive model photographed by Michael von Gimbut had her exposed breast “blacked out” for the ever-sensitive U.S. market.

Nothing but a day in the life of Scorpions, of course, who would never look back after achieving their first major career breakthrough with In Trance.





I wake up in the morning
And the sun begins to shine
The day did sneak up on the night
I see your face and I see myself
And I get a little taste of life
I try to stand it for a while
But I’m in a trance
Hey baby tell me can’t you hear me calling
I’m in a trance
I take too much in the Saturday night
Hey… Hey
Hey baby tell me can’t you hear me calling
I’m in a trance
I wanna try to stop this life
I feel so sad I’m feeling down
On the radio the music plays
I’m in love with her and I feel fine
I close my eyes
I think today is getting better with a sip of wine
And I can stand it for a while
When I’m in a trance
Hey baby tell me can’t you hear me calling
I’m in a trance
I take too much in the Saturday night
Hey… Hey
Hey baby tell me can’t you hear me calling
I’m in a trance
I wanna try to stop this life
I’m in a trance
Hey baby tell me can’t you hear me caling
I’m in a trance
I take too much in the Saturday night
Hey…Hey
Hey baby tell me can’t you hear me calling
I’m in a trance
I wanna try to stop this life

In Trance is the third studio album by German rock band Scorpions, released by RCA Records in 1975. The album’s music was a complete departure from the progressive krautrock of the two previous albums in favor of a hard rock sound of shorter and tighter arrangements with which the band would achieve their later global success and fame; extended suites in the vein of songs such as “Lonesome Crow” and “Fly to the Rainbow” are absent altogether. It is the first album by the band to contain the now-famous logo and controversial artwork.





Artwork

The original version of the album cover, photographed by Michael von Gimbut,[4] was censored for clearly showing the cover model’s exposed breast[5] hanging down towards the guitar. Later releases have the breast blacked out so that it is not visible. This is the first of many Scorpions album covers that have been censored. The band’s former lead guitarist Uli Jon Roth claimed he may have come up with the “idea to do the thing with the guitar for the cover of In Trance“.[6]

However, in a 2008 interview Roth claimed that early Scorpions album covers in general were “the record company’s idea, but we certainly didn’t object. And so shame on us. Those covers were probably the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever been involved with.” He did, though, classify the In Trance cover as “borderline”.[7]

The White Stratocaster shown on the cover belonged to Roth and he can be seen playing the same guitar on the cover of the Electric Sun album Fire Wind. This is the guitar that Roth used on all subsequent Scorpions and Electric Sun albums on which he played.[8]

This was the band’s first album to feature the band’s name written in the now-familiar font used on nearly all subsequent album covers, as well as their first collaboration with producer Dieter Dierks.





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