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How Don Dokken Helped Rescue Scorpions’ ‘Blackout’

todayMay 20, 2024 4

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Scorpions singer Klaus Meine lost his voice at a very crucial time in the band’s career – but luckily the group got a helping hand from a future fellow rock star.As the German rockers were heading into the studio to record the follow-up to 1980’s Animal Magnetism, they were poised for a long-awaited breakthrough in America. Unfortunately, the decade of hard work which had gotten them to that crucial point had also taken a big toll on Meine’s voice.”I think the heavy touring and studio schedule finally got me,” he told Noisecreep. “My voice was in bad shape. I couldn’t sing and I thought my career was over. I couldn’t sing. It was that simple.”While Meine recovered from the required surgery, his bandmates continued working on demos for what would become 1982’s Blackout album. But they needed somebody to fill in for their singer, at least on a short term basis. “So our good friend Don Dokken came to Germany and worked with the rest of the Scorpions in the studio,” Meine continued. “He recorded some of the songs with them.”In a 2020 interview with the Metal Voice, Dokken was modest about his contributions, saying he only worked on the record for a couple of days. “I only sang a couple of songs a really quick 20 minutes scratch track just to get the melody on tape for Klaus. It was just a scratch track to save Klaus’ voice.””I had some surgeries done and rested my voice for six months or something,” Meine explained to Noisecreep. “When I finally came back I was in really good shape. I even did the high-pitched backing vocals like I did on the older records. I think one of two of the songs still have Don somewhere.”Indeed, Dokken is credited with background vocals on Blackout. “They’d been working on it like two years and they wanted to finish the record and it was almost done,” Dokken told Cassius Morris in 2023. And [producer Dieter Dierks] said, ‘do you want to come to Germany and just do all the high high high high stuff?’ So, ‘You Give Me All I Need,’ ‘No One Like You,’ ‘Dynamite,’ and all those super high vocals on the harmonies I just did those, that’s all I did. Because I was green, you know, and I could do it.”READ MORE: 10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1984Dokken was also quick to shut down rumors that he was ever in line to take over for Meine. “Even if somebody had asked me to join the Scorpions I would have said no,” he told Morris. “It would be a great honor, but I told Klaus, ‘I would have said no because you are the voice of the Scorpions. I’m just here to help out, that’s all.’ We’ve now all been friends for over 45 years.”As a thank you, Dierks gave Dokken access to recording studio time, which he used to record the demos that led to his first record deal. Blackout turned out to be exactly the hit the Scorpions needed. The album hit the Top 10 on the US album chart and was certified gold just three months after its release, thanks largely to the hit single “No One Like You.”As to whether fans will ever be able to hear the scratch tracks Dokken recorded with the Scorpions, well, don’t hold your breath. “I’ve been asked that a lot,” Dokken told the Metal Voice. “I have some [tapes] but I would never give it to anybody or play it for anybody or let it out of my hands.”10 Times Musicians Were an Emergency Fill-InEven rock stars need a sick day sometimes…Gallery Credit: Jacklyn Krol

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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