Borderline Latin: Scorpions, Baladas de poder

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Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature the works of a ‘non-Latin’ artist via song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.

I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was pushing my way through a maze of people, tables, stands of food, pirate movies, homemade porn VHS tapes and stolen car radios, when I heard a string of notes that sounded somewhat familiar. I stopped for a while, pretending to look at piles of watch batteries of all sizes –you know: those round pieces of metal that used to power our wristwatches back when wristwatches were cool. I had heard that song before, but something was different. There was something quite particular about this version I was listening to at the street market of calle Reforma. –los Puesteros de Reforma, Monterrey. And then it struck me: it was Scorpions, the hard rock band from Germany. And they were singing in Spanish.

Rudolf Schenker started this power-ballad loving band back in 1965 in Hannover, Germany. In 1970, Klaus Meine became Scorpions’ lead vocalist. They recorded their first album 1972: Lonesome Crow. Schenker and Meine wanted to gain international recognition, and decided to write their songs in English. International fame did come, and they conquered American audiences with their typically German wild performances, and kickass records like Animal Magnetism and Blackout.

But for them, the best was yet to come. In 1985, after performing in Rio de Janeiro’s fest Rock in Rio, Latin America’s hard-rock loving crowds welcomed Scorpions, and the romance was hard and sweet –yes: like in a power ballad. In 1990, they recorder a Spanish version of their hit “Winds of Change” –they did a Russian version too. Scorpions’ fans are still around, all over the continent. The city of Leganés, Spain, even named a street after them. And I must admit certain nostalgia when I listen to this tune from far more innocent times. Sigh.

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Click HERE to read more “Borderline Latin” profiles. For comments and tips, please contact me at:, and for more info on my “Borderline” works, visit Borderline Projects.