Lovedrive is the sixth studio album by the German band Scorpions, released in 1979. Considered by some critics to be the pinnacle of their career,Lovedrive was a major evolution of the band's sound, exhibiting their "classic style" that would be later developed over their next few albums. Lovedrive cemented the "Scorpions formula" of hard rock songs combined with melodic ballads.
Lovedrive was the band’s first album to be released by Harvest/EMI following the band's departure from label RCA, and proved a major commercial breakthrough, reaching number 55 on the BillboardTop 200, which none of their previous five albums had dented at all. The RIAA certified the record as Gold on 28 May 1986, and the album also proved a breakthrough in the UK where it was the first Scorpions album to chart and peaked at number 36.
Lovedrive ranked 25 on IGN's 2007 list of the top 25 metal albums.
This is the first album to feature Matthias Jabs on lead guitar, and by extension, the first record to feature the band's "classic" lineup. Jabs replaced Uli Jon Roth, who went on to form his own band, Electric Sun.
Michael Schenker, younger brother of rhythm guitarist Rudolf, who had just split from UFO, recorded lead guitars on "Another Piece Of Meat," "Coast To Coast" and "Lovedrive." At the beginning of their German tour in February 1979 it was announced that Michael had rejoined the band. Scorpions reluctantly parted with Matthias Jabs. However, two months later, in April, whilst the band was touring in France, Michael quit and this led to Jabs' immediate return.
The cover depicted a well dressed man and woman (which vaguely resemble the fictional characters Lucy and Ricky Ricardo) seated in the back of a car, with one of the woman's breasts exposed and connected to the man's hand by stretched bubblegum. The back cover featured the same man and woman, but holding a photograph of the band, and her left breast completely exposed (without the gum). It was created by Storm Thorgerson of the design firm Hipgnosis. It caused some controversy upon the album's release and was subsequently banned, with later pressings of the album bearing a simple design of a blue scorpion on a black background. The album's artwork was named "Best album sleeve of 1979" by Playboy magazine.
Recalling the cover photo with the woman and the car, Thorgerson remarked: "Not exactly the most politically correct scene you've ever seen. I thought it was funny, but women read a different inflection into it now."
In a 2010 interview, singer Klaus Meine commented on the album cover, stating: "We just did not know it would be a problem in America, it was just sex and rock 'n' roll. It is odd that in America some of these covers were a problem, because in the 80's when we would tour here, we always had boobs flashed to us at the front of the stage. Nowhere else in the world, just here. We just did not think it would be a problem to put out a record like Lovedrive in America. Deadly Sting: The Mercury Years was banned at Wal Mart and Pure Instinct was banned as well."
This is one of the few Scorpions album covers that was initially edited upon release in many places because of its controversial nature, only to have the original uncensored art restored for the remaster series.