Return to Forever, the 18th studio effort of new material from German hard rockers the Scorpions, also marks their 50th anniversary as a band. So when it came time to compose the songs for the album, the members asked themselves a question: “We said, ‘Why are the Scorpions still standing?’ Because there is only a very small handful of bands that have made it to their 50th anniversary,” guitarist and founder Rudolf Schenker says. “What is the reason we are still here?”
The answer, according to the 66-year-old Schenker, can be found in the refrain to the celebratory first single, “We Built This House,” premiered below. “We say in the song, ‘We built this house on the rock,’ and that’s the truth.”
But, Schenker adds, the “rock” is more than just rock & roll: “It’s also friendship. When I started the band 50 years ago, I knew four or five people who were playing rock music together and touring the world and making friends everywhere. I said, ‘I want to do the same thing.’ I wanted to have people around me who were great musicians, but also people I could build a friendship with. So I think in this case, the ‘rock’ is rock & roll, and the rock tour. But it is also the friendship and the love. So you have a double meaning.”
Elsewhere on Return to Forever, the Scorpions delve into their long history in other ways. Several of the album’s songs were constructed from riffs dating back to the Eighties, Nineties and early 2000s, while in other cases unused demos from sessions for classic metal platters like Blackout and Love at First Sting were retooled and updated with new arrangements and lyrics.
“We Built This House,” however, is one of a handful of tracks that is an entirely new composition, and was written expressly to acknowledge the trials, tribulations and triumphs that come along with being a band for half a century. Says singer Klaus Meine enthusiastically, “We built this house of Scorpions brick by brick over the years, and weathered severe storms and saw highs and lows. But we truly enjoyed every minute of this rockin’ journey. This house is still standing – ’cause it was built on a rock!”