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German rave machine Scooter are one of the most successful dance acts of all time, having sold millions of records, scored dozens of hit singles and full-lengths, and completed numerous international tours since forming in the early '90s. The group is the embodiment of dance music at its most over the top and excessive, taking the KLF's concept of stadium house to its extreme. Led by austere frontman H.P. Baxxter, the majority of the group's songs feature gigantic singalong choruses (often referencing a wide spectrum of both pop and underground hits), crowd noise, and the loudest, most booming beats imaginable. Starting by producing happy hardcore and hard trance, the highly prolific group's sound has rapidly evolved with the times, incorporating dance music trends such as jumpstyle, dubstep, and electro-house. Their carnivalesque live shows involve lasers, pyrotechnics, dancers, and copious amounts of audience participation. Scooter have remained massively successful without signing to a major label, having released music on Edel imprint Club Tools during the '90s before starting their own Sheffield Tunes in 2000.
Scooter were formed in late 1993 by H.P. Baxxter, Rick J. Jordan, and Ferris Bueller, who together with producer Jens Thele previously joined forces as remix team the Loop. During the 1980s, Baxxter and Jordan also scored a series of club hits as new wave/synth pop group Celebrate the Nun. Debuting with the single "Valleé de Larmes," Scooter scored their breakthrough hit with the follow-up "Hyper Hyper," which sold over 700,000 copies in Germany alone. A series of Top Five hits followed, including "Move Your Ass!," "Friends," and "Endless Summer" (all later collected on the trio's 1995 debut LP, ...And the Beat Goes On!). With 1996's Our Happy Hardcore, Scooter also scored their first British Top 20 hit, "Back in the U.K." Wicked! appeared later that same year, and featured tracks significantly slower than their earlier material, including the techno ballad "Break It Up." In the wake of 1997's Age of Love, Bueller exited Scooter, and was replaced by Axel Coon for 1998's No Time to Chill, which featured the smash hit "How Much Is the Fish?," as well as covers of songs by Kiss and Billy Idol. The group's first singles collection, Rough & Tough & Dangerous, also appeared in 1998. Back to the Heavyweight Jam followed in 1999; the album's title is one of Scooter's many blatant references to the KLF.
The album Sheffield appeared in 2000, inaugurating the band's Sheffield Tunes label, and contained the club hits "She's the Sun" and "I'm Your Pusher" along with a cover version of Soft Cell's "Sex Dwarf." We Bring the Noise appeared in 2001 while 2002 saw the release of a live album, Encore, and the singles compilation Push the Beat for This Jam. The latter included "Ramp! (The Logical Song)," Scooter's dance remake of the Supertramp hit, which ended up becoming their biggest hit in the U.K., charting at number two. Another singles collection, 24 Carat Gold, appeared by the end of 2002, including "Nessaja," the group's first single to feature Jay Frog, who had replaced Coon. The track was another success, topping the German singles chart and reaching the Top Five in the U.K. Three Scooter singles -- "Weekend!," "Maria," and "Jigga! Jigga!" -- filled Euro clubs in 2003 and the full-length Stadium Techno Experience paid further tribute to the KLF in both title and cover art. The band's 2004 release, Mind the Gap, was originally released in a "basic" edition, came out a few months later in a "regular" edition with some multimedia tracks added, and was reissued in 2005 in a "deluxe" edition with a bonus live disc.
Following 2005's Who's Got the Last Laugh Now? and 2006 live release Excess All Areas, Frog left and was replaced by Michael Simon, who had previously remixed a number of Scooter's tracks. Their incredibly prolific work rate continued unabated, with a new album almost every year (and two in 2007), a major world tour every couple of years, and a string of smash hits that made them the biggest-selling singles act in German chart history, including their 2007 track "The Question Is What Is the Question?," which spent a staggering 26 weeks on the chart. Its parent album, Jumping All Over the World, was one of the group's biggest successes, particularly in the U.K., where it hit number one and went platinum. The band's fame was such that Baxxter was asked to appear as a judge on the 2012 season of Germany's X Factor.
The group celebrated two decades of hitmaking with 20 Years of Hardcore in late 2013. Jordan then announced that he would be leaving Scooter after the group's 2014 tour. His replacement, Phil Speiser, made his debut with Scooter on the group's 17th studio album, The Fifth Chapter. Ace appeared in 2016, followed by Scooter Forever in 2017. ~ Jason Ankeny & Paul Simpson
- Hamburg, Germany
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