Friday, February 26, 2016

Storms: Rock You Like a Hurricane

Purchase: Rock You Like A Hurricane 

If someone doesn’t write about The Scorpions' Rock You Like a Hurricane for this month’s theme, then we aren’t a music blog. An original staple of MTV’s rotation, Rock You Like A Hurricane was the first brush with fist-pumping, head banging glory for every single kid on earth, of a certain age. It came out in 1984. That made me 13 years old when this track blew up. It has since gone on to hold a prominent niche in popular culture. From sporting events to 80s nights at the bar to soundtracks to…well, you know. You’ve heard it. Everywhere.

It’s an interesting track: a cross-over heavy metal hit, it speaks to many of the motifs we’ve come to associate with a certain era: big hair, flashy, sexed-up videos, rapid fire guitar solos, strange looking little fellows becoming rock gods…the ‘80s, may they never return. Standouts in my memory? The video, featuring a strange twist on the ‘caged beast’ theme: the band is jamming out in a very rickety cage, surrounded by a pack of scantily clad, snarling animal-women, afraid of what might happen should this pack of overly-estrogened maniacs get inside. I think Motley Crue used the same theme. Roger Corman made a career out of the same theme…but that’s another era.  

Rock You Like A Hurricane is a strange, buzzed out, psycho-sexual fantasy, to be sure. But for the 13 year old boy I was, it set the standard for ‘hot rock chick’ and colored more than a few strange and hard to understand, even harder to shake, fantasies.

Then there’s the song: pure power chord madness, riff rock at its very best. The dual guitar attack has a distinctly a phased-out sound, lending just a slight trippy edge to the song. It's not the greatest song ever written, but it does have an immediate hook that makes it perfect for radio. Long after a lot of good music has been forgotten, Rock You Like a Hurricane will still be getting played. It inspired me to a mean air guitar. Eddie Van Halen inspired me to a real guitar, but that’s for another post.

What’s odd is, for all its ubiquity in popular culture, Rock You Like a Hurricane never made it past 25 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Not that this is the only way to determine a song's status as a hit, but it seems for all the times you’ve heard it, bobbed along to it, cheered on your favorite team it, or echoed Klaus Meine’s “Here I ammmmmmm….!” it should have been a number 1.

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