Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Scorpions: Kings of Bad Album Covers

Hello all you lovers of bad art!
I wanted to do a piece tonight on bad heavy metal covers but then I discovered The Scorpions and I'm still having a hard time picking my jaw up off the floor. They're a band that's been around for a long time and they've managed to put out bafflingly bad covers throughout their whole career.
Lets start from the beginning shall we?

Their first album isn't too bad really. It kind of sets the tone for the rest of them though: poorly made and not making a whole lot of sense.

Then we get to their second. Words fail me. I'll just let you enjoy it and try to figure out what the Hell it's supposed to be on your own.

I actually kind of like the cover for their third album. It reminds me of exploitation film posters a little bit. Of course the nipple was censored in quite a few countries. What do people have against nipples anyways?

Then we get to their fourth album. You might want to prepare yourself.

This is the original cover:

This is the point where my jaw hit the floor. Not that I have anything against nudity but this is so tasteless that it's almost genius. Having a naked twelve year old girl on your cover is sketchy enough but calling it Virgin Killer hurtles it over the bad taste line into something else entirely. Something creepy that I'd rather not think about. Of course it was banned in almost every country imaginable (except Japan of course) and this was offered up as an alternative:

Not really offensive, but you think they could have at least changed the title? It's almost as bad with a bunch of sketchy looking dudes on it.

So after the controversy caused by their last album, The Scorps decided to put out an innocent one that would slip entirely under the radar:

Personally I don't see whats so bad about it, but people got pissy and again an alternate was offered:

Oh yeah, that's so much better. Again, couldn't the title have been changed? The Scorpions want to take me by force and it freaks me out!

Again, I am speechless. I...don't get it. I just hope that's gum and not what I think it's supposed to be.

Do you remember in This is Spinal Tap where they're talking about the controversial art work that causes their new album to be released with an all black cover, no title or anything? This is what they were referencing:

While this awful sexist crap was controversial, no alternate cover was actually released. I guess showing the female body is bad enough for censorship but showing them being treated like dogs is A-OK!

Not controversial, but just freakin' weird. What the Hell is going on here?

This one isn't too bad. It's actually kind of tasteful, as tasteful as you're going to get here anyways. Of course someone complained and an alternate was issued with just the band on the cover (Not even worth posting up). Ah Wal-mart, blandness = profit!

With a title like Savage Amusement, you think they could have come up with some pretty insane cover art, but nope. This one's pretty darn tame.

As are the next two in their discography:

You'd think that they were getting old and resting on their laurels, but then they came out in 1996 with this:

It must have sounded like a good idea on paper at least. It looks like they made the damn thing in Photoshop! (This is what we got in the US, by the way.)

I'm not even going to post the boring "head's of the band members" cover from 1999. Lets move on to 2000 when The Scorps rode the trend started by Metallica of recording with a full orchestra:

Again, there's no words for this. No words at all.

In 2001 they released another gimmick album, this time an unplugged one called Acoustica:

And in 2007 they released Humanity: Hour I

These two aren't offensive at all, just strange as Hell. What do they mean? Do they have any connections? If I stare at them long enough will Jesus come down on a flying Pong arcade machine and tell me that the secret of life is to never forget to drink my Ovaltine out of a Fred Fintstone jelly glass? I've been considering these too long, I'm losing my mind!

Alright, back to sanity. 2010 saw the release of Sting in the Tail and a shockingly not crappy or crude or weird cover:

It's like they said (in German probably): "We're old as shit now and no one's going to buy our album anyways. Lets make a cover that doesn't garner us any unwanted attention in the media!" I guess the lesson learned here is that old people just don't like to rock the boat, despite their pasts.

But, hey! We're not done yet. We still have a few compilation albums! Yep, every band or artist that's had even a few hits (and some that have had one or less) put these out. It's a way to wring a few more bucks out of die-hard fans who want to get that one song that's not going to be released anywhere else and give casual fans something quick to buy. The Scorps are no exception. And of course, they have to be insanely crude:

I suppose that's not too bad, especially when you consider what they got in Japan:
Sorry, this is one of the few places I could find a decent size picture of this!

Here's Deadly Sting which came out in 1997:

What's with the stinging women motif's in these?
Here's the clean version:

On second thought...put the woman back. Without her the picture is kind of unnerving don't you think?

And finally we have Bad For Good: The Very Best of the Scorpions which came out in 2002:

I think I know what they were going for here, but they wussed out at the last second. (Hint: I think the guy's head is supposed to be lower.)

So there you have it, a gallery of tastelessness, misogyny, and confusion from Germany. Still, none of these can compare with what I think is the most tasteless cover ever, from a band that I actually really like: (Click here at your own risk!)

Happy nightmares!

Edit: Here's the back cover to Lovedrive (Pointed out by Justin):

I...still don't get it.


Justin said...

I hate those covers. Actually Lovedrive is probably their best, but it's better if you see the back cover too.

Justin said...

Ha ha, I don't get it either. It just seems their best to me for some reason. I dunno.

Justin said...

... It's kinda like picking what the best intestinal disease is.

Ian Andersen said...

I wish they had all been by the guy who did the second album. It's almost like after that they try really hard to defend their sexuality, "no we love women, look at our albums" and by "love" they of course mean date rape.

I'm less shocked by the Virgin Killer cover itself than I am that it actually went further than a joke and was actually almost used at all.