73. Scorpions, 'Blackout' (1982)
Germany's Scorpions spent the 1970s in relative obscurity (on these shores at least), churning out somewhat eccentric hard-rock albums that spotlighted the neo-classical/Hendrix-ian six-string work of Uli Jon Roth. It wasn't until the end of the decade, when their lineup solidified around the guitar team of main songwriter Rudolf Schenker and new recruit Matthias Jabs, that they became, in the words of singer Klaus Meine, "more focused on the 'Scorpions DNA,'" streamlining their sound and making a serious bid for the American metal market. Blackout, their eighth album overall, was the one where it all truly came together, its songs powered by lean, no-frills riffing, crisp production and a straightforward rhythmic thrust, with Meine's banshee howl and Jabs' bluesy leads adding a measure of personality and flash. Songs like the title track, "Can't Live Without You" and the power ballad "You Give Me All I Need" were as direct and unadorned as they were insanely hook-y. And then there was "No One Like You," which, in part due to its memorable Alcatraz-featuring video, hit Number One on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart and launched the Scorpions' golden Eighties run – while also helping to pave the way for an entire era of hard-rock hits that were both tough as nails and disarmingly melodic. R.B.