If one were looking for a band that captured the zeitgeist of early 1960s British rock, one would do well to seek out the Manchester quartet The Scorpions. Formed in 1964, during their brief two-year career, they would release a dozen singles and two albums. They were more regarded as a live band, especially in the Scandinavian areas of Europe, and most notably in Holland. The band’s sound is pure Beat, a sound owing nearly everything to American rock. It also doesn’t hurt that the band themselves were a tight unit, all spearheaded by the powerful vocals of Peter Lewis.
What makes The Scorpions such a satisfying group is their ability to make poppy, catchy singles. They weren’t the most original of bands; of the thirty tracks offered on this compilation, only a small handful are original compositions–most notably the excellent Beat-style interpretation of “Greensleeves.” Yes, one also hears tones of The Beatles, but considering that The Scorpions covered many of the same songs as the Fab Four, such as “Long Tall Sally,” “Some Other Guy,” and “Johnny B. Goode,” maybe that’s really not that surprising. Considering the similarity in nature, it would probably not surprise anyone that these fellows had seen the Beatles in their nascent early 1960s live years. Though they disbanded in 1967, they would reform off and on in the convening years with varying members–lead singer Lewis died in the early 1980s from cancer–and releasing albums here and there. most recently in 2011.
Still, Hey Josephine is an interesting, fun little listen, full of great covers and some great rock and roll. If one closes their eyes while listening, one might find themselves in the legendary Cavern Club or the Hamburg, Germany clubs, listening to what would soon become the future of rock and roll.