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The History of Earhtquake


This album is dedicated to the spirit of Jimi Hendrix. It was recorded between November 1978 and January 1979 at Olympic Studios, London.
Mixed in February 1979 at Olympic 1 and 3. Recording and Mixing Engineer Doug Bennett.
Tape Ops. Laurence and Bill. Rec.
Engineer on “Winterdays” David Hamilton-Smith, Mix.
Engineer Guy Bidmead.
Drum-tracks 2 and 3 rec. at Scorpio Sound, London, England.
Engineer: Ray Hendrickson.

Many thanks to Monika, without whose love and care it wouldn’t have been possible…
I’d like to give my blessings to our friend Leila Watanabe († 6. 12. 78)
Special sound effects entirely by guitar.
Sleeve Paintings “Rising Force” and “Leila” by Monika Dannemann.

All Music, Lyrics and Concept by Uli Jon Roth Published by Wintrup/Sky Music Publishing
Producer: Uli Jon Roth for Sky Productions

Contact: Alpha Experium, Frechener Str. 20, 50259 Pulheim

Uli Jon Roth- guitars, vocals
Clive Edwards – drums
Ule Ritgen – bass

EARTHQUAKE (1978/79)

Even while Uli Jon Roth was still with the Scorpions, he was already preparing material for his first Electric Sun album. In 1976, he had met the gifted German artist Monika Dannemann in London, who had been Jimi Hendrix’ soul mate towards the end of his life. Monika and Uli felt they had a lot more in common than their love for the great guitar magician and became a couple late in 1976. They mutually inspired one another and Monika had a very important impact on Uli’s own artistic development. In many ways, her influence was an eye-opener for the then 21-year old, both in regards to spiritual matters as well as artistic ones. Monika’s beautiful artwork was to feature on all three Electric Sun album covers.

At that time, Uli began to distance himself musically from the Scorpions. Uli had always felt that he would not stay with them indefinitely, as he regarded this period somehow as his apprenticeship in the field of record production and the music business in general. Even before he met Monika, he was feeling changes in his perspectives and was mentally preparing to explore different worlds in his mind. Through Monika, he experienced a great increase of depth of perception and achieved a stronger, more far-reaching and more steady flow of inspiration.

After the production of the farewell album “Tokyo Tapes” in the summer of 78, Uli held auditions in London, searching for a suitable drummer for Electric Sun. His brother Zeno, himself an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, was helping out as temporary bass player during these auditions. The best impression was left by Clive Edwards (ex Pat Travers Band) with whom they had an immediate musical rapport. Soon afterwards, Ule Ritgen completed the three-piece line-up, playing the bass. Ule Ritgen had been a friend of Roth for a number of years and had previously played in a band with Uli’s brother Zeno. Ule Ritgen was an important cornerstone for Electric Sun, supporting Uli as a friend during the album production and tours during the following years. After the final Electric Sun album, “Beyond The Astral Skies”, Ule Winsomie Ritgen went on to become a founding member of the brilliant band Zeno, who had a large cult following . After the band Zeno decided on a long hiatus, Ritgen eventually founded “Fair Warning”, who achieved several gold albums in Japan, featuring the talented young vocalist Tommy Heart on vocals.

In December 1980, Roth and Monika Dannemann moved from Düsseldorf to Seaford on the Sussex coast of England. Here he also spent a lot of time writing philosophical treaties. At that time, Uli Jon Roth also developed his legendary Sky guitar, of which there are only five copies in existence. Electric Sun were resurrected in 1983, thanks to Uli’s then manager, Dave Corke, and started touring again with a much larger line-up, including two drummers, keyboards and two singers. This resulted in a new recording deal and culminated with the production of “Beyond The Astral Skies”. In 1985, the band toured extensively, both in Europe and America, but Roth was again forced to disband the line-up, because the costs were simply too high to maintain a band.

He then entered into an intense phase of musical discovery and developed his mature symphonic style, featuring full classical orchestra, which we can enjoy today by listening to his “Sky Of Avalon” project. He wrote several large scale pieces during that time. In 1987, he started writing a concerto for guitar and orchestra called “Sky Concerto”. Unfortunately, this has never been recorded. In 1991, he wrote a truly dazzling series of piano concert studies called “Aquila Suite”, excerpts of which can be heard on this sampler. His first full orchestral symphony followed in 1992, entitled “Europa Ex Favilla”, which was performed live with the Brusssels Symphony Orchestra in Belgium the following year, within the framework of a television broadcast called “Symphonic Rock For Europe”. 1995 saw the release of “Prologue To The Symphonic Legends” under the project name “Sky of Avalon”. Roth has written four symphonies to date, which form the first part of a cycle called “Symphonic Legends”.

In April 1996, the tragic and sudden death of Monika Dannemann, who was his partner and best friend for twenty years came as a tremendous shock to Uli. Since then, he has written a beautiful double symphony entitled “Requiem For An Angel” to honour her memory, which he is currently recording at Skylight Manor Studios in Wales, situated in the romantic setting of a large and solitary chateau overlooking the ocean and mountains, a place full of mystical inspiration and home to Monika’s artwork.

In the autumn of 1978, Electric Sun were holding rehearsals in the tiny village of Schnaid, near Bamberg in Bavaria, where Klaus-Peter Dannemann, (Monika’s brother) owned a large discotheque. Klaus-Peter later became Uli’s manager and very close friend. Working intensively, the trio prepared themselves for the studio recordings for Earthquake. They failed in their search to find a suitable singer before the commencement of the recordings, so that in the end Roth ended up singing himself, against his own better judgment. In October 1978, the band traveled to London and started recording in November, initially at “Scorpio Sound Studio” . But Roth was not satisfied with the sound; he found the acoustics too dull and uninspiring and did not like the sound of the Cadac mixing board.
After ten days Electric Sun moved into “Olympic Studios”, one of the most famous studios in the world at that time. This was the place where Jimi Hendrix had made some of his greatest recordings ten years earlier, including “Axis: Bold As Love” and “All Along The Watchtower”. The key to the sound of that studio lay in its recording room, which was one of the largest in London, as it had formerly been used as a cinema and had excellent acoustics. This was where Roth finally found the sound he had been searching for, but could not find in any of the German studios previously: a naturally large ambient sound coupled with a round, warm tonal quality.
He wanted the guitar to sound as natural as possible with a much less aggressive foundation, compared with the fighting heavy rock of the Scorpions. Olympic Studios, one of the best addresses in Europe in those days, obviously drove the production budget upwards, so that in the end Earthquake ended up costing more than DM 120,000.
Directly following the recordings, Clive Edwards received a financially more lucrative offer from Wild Horses and left the band overnight, effectively breaking the contract he had signed and leaving Electric Sun in the lurch.
Roth was now in a difficult position because Metronome, their German record label, insisted that Electric Sun should play at the Brain Festivals at short notice, but there was no drummer. Despite Roth’s protestations that they were not ready to play live, he eventually obliged to agree to do three festivals against his better judgment. Hurriedly, a drummer was found in Sidhatta Gautama, of Indonesian origin, but living in Hamburg, who was chosen to replace Edwards.
Musically, Gautama turned out to be the much better choice than Edwards, because his style was much more suited to play this kind of music. The band scrambled through a few rehearsals and played the “Brain Festivals” as promised, although far from ready for the task at hand.
The first show was pretty flat with the second being a little better, but the third was a success because the band had a very fast learning curve. This show already displayed the hallmarks of Electric Sun’s later magic on stage. There were further tours and the band grew tighter as a unit on each show.
At the same time, Roth was already writing the material for the second album “Fire Wind”, which was recorded in 1980


Oh, he was dead
He saw no light
And he was damned for forty years
He cried for help
But he was tied
All light of hope had disappeared.

Black souls on fire
Their shadow never dies
They can’t get higher
Their soul ship never, never flies.

Oh, he once was
A saint on wings
But he let evil come inside
He didn’t fight
And he enjoyed
To be the mad horse of their ride.

Black souls on fire
Their shadow never dies
They can’t get higher
Their soul ship never, never flies.

Oh no, too low – I’m much too low
Don’t know, don’t know
Which beam to go
I’m bound to Earth – my pains keep

Life’s golden angel
On Earth received his cries
And saved him for the skies
Six full moon nights
The Lotus showed the light
Then he was free – free to rise.

Sundown Sundown Sundown
Sundown Sundown Sundown

This song is introduced by a dramatical and catchy opening theme with Hendrix- style octaves over a driving rhythm. The lyrics are alluding to Frederick Delius (British composer 1863-1934). As in many other instances on this album, the influence of Jimi Hendrix is clearly apparent in Roth’s approach to his brilliant rhythm guitar playing, but clearly transformed and absorbed into his own style.


Tiny Flower –
Within thy lilac depth
I see the breathing Universe…
All strength, all wisdom – never changing law. Infinite Beauty !
Thou art embracing all the power
And the weakness of creation.
In thine embrace I will find ev’rything…
In thee lies hidden all the precious knowledge -mysteries.
Within thy calyx bottomless
Dwells all the vision of the future and the past; Peaceful slumber of the child unborn –
And of the ancient man.
Horrors and sorrows – days gone by – tomorrows -And peace and beliefs
Waiting for my treacherous kiss
To be disturbed in holy sleep…
Tiny Flower –
I want to become thee
I want to become free
I want to drown myself in thee…

Lilac A song without beginning or end, imbued with an other-worldly atmosphere. Uli’s gentle talking voice recites a poem over the background of a haunting melody. The effect is almost that of a painting in sound. Dramatic lead guitar passages playing against strong countermelodies are featured in the mid and end sections.

Stil So Many Lives Away

Once somebody told me,
I read it in his eyes
„Be careful what you’re doing
Don’t ever criticize.
Forget all your illusions
They’re just a mad confusion
Man is a killing beast
And there’s no paradise“…

He thought he was a wise man
Who had fought so many fights
But he was just a child then
Who hadn’t yet escaped the night.

You’re still so many lives away
You’re still so many lives away
You’re still so many lives away
And you’re as blind as only man can be !

Yesterday I met him
He hadn’t changed his mind
They didn’t even let him
Behold what he did find.
He’d lost his cars, he’d lost his wife,
He had lost everything
And nothing could remind you
That once they crowned him king…

He thought he was a wise man
Who had fought so many fights
Yet he was just a child then
Who hadn’t yet escaped the night.

You’re still so many lives away
You’re still so many lives away
You’re still so many lives away
And you’re as blind as only man can be!

He didn’t recognize me,
I had to realize he
Was staring like a mad man
At me who’s just a sad man
He threw a stone and he did moan
And finally he hit my bone
He wouldn’t listen and he screamed –
Shoutin’ at the crowds it seemed –
And then he grabbed a knife
And robbed himself of life
But he could only kill his flesh
And now his hatred stays quite fresh
And he doesn’t find relief
No, he doesn’t find relief
And he doesn’t find relief
And he still cannot believe that

He’s never been a wise man
Who hadn’t fought any fights
And he was just a child then
Who hadn’t yet escaped the night.

You’re still so many lives away
You’re still so many lives away
You’re still so many lives away
And you’re as blind as only man can be!

The lyrics of “Still So Many Lives Away “ deal with the theme of reincarnation. It is Roth’s belief that Earth is like a school for the soul and men get reborn many times in order to evolve their spirit to a higher level of understanding and purity. This song features a unique and ground breaking guitar solo, displaying veritable fireworks of highly melodic and fast arpeggios, delivered with seemingly nonchalant ease. This solo created a big impact with guitarists all over the world due to its innovative violin-like approach and display of true virtuoso fret-board dexterity.

Electric Sun

Sunchild, from Japanese gardens
Here are my new songs
They’re all done for you.

Sunchild, from African seashores
Here is my message
I’ll sing it to you.

Rainchild, from cold, misty islands
Where does your heart live
In peace or in a ?

Lonechild, from icy big cities
Well, here comes an old land
But it’s made of fresh sand.

Oh, I was so sad – I thought I would go mad
Yet now I am free and I’m gonna take you
Into the fire of the Electric Sun…

Sunchild, from Mexican deserts
What do you believe in ?
You should start conceivin’ !

Sunchild, from Sicilian gardens
Where do you come from,
From Earth or from Heavens ?

Snowchild, from South California
Stop freezin’ your brains now
Start searchin’ for new aims !

Snowchild, from long arctic winters
Where do you belong to ?
There is only one Truth !

Oh, I was so sad – I thought I would go mad
Yet now I am free and I’m gonna take you
Into the fire of the Electric Sun…

Moonchild, from Eastern World countries
Beware the false sunrise
Who turns out to be wise !

Moonchild, from wild eastern landscapes
Don’t follow the wrong sun
There is only one Son !

Peacechild, from nothing but Love
Don’t let yourself down, now
We still have to starve.

Starchild, from Paradise gardens
You’ll be our leader
All through the night !

Oh, we’ll be so sad – and think we’re
gonna go mad
But then we’ll be free
Forever again will be free…

Written in 1978, there are overtones of Jimi Hendrix in the rhythm of this piece, but the already more orchestral treatment of the lead guitar sections makes it distinctly Roth. During their first phase of touring, this used to be Electric Sun’s opening song during concerts. The lyrics allude to Roth’s sense of newly gained freedom after spending a relatively unhappy time in the final phase of his Scorpions tenure, where he felt increasingly stifled and restricted by the style of that band. The feel of this piece is fresh, driving and positive with perhaps a slight touch of melancholy.

Burning Wheels Turning

There was turning and yearning
Transition to crime
And slaughter and dancing
And cheating in rhyme.

In the lanes there were standing
A few of the Blest
And the flames in their right hands
Shone bright through the mess.

And their message was strong
As their teaching was Love
But the mass did them wrong
And they mocked the dove.

And Wisdom was smiling in white and soft blue…
See burning wheels turning and He’ll burn in you, too.

And the ages were passing
And Mars took the rule
Pouring gem rains of ruby
As a war bait for fools.

And gazing in concern
At the fight on these planes
Other planets came closer
To take over the reins.

Deluge was their weapon –
Skies drowned in the sand –
Changing land into water
And water to land.

And Wisdom was smiling in white and soft blue…
See fiery wheels turning and He’ll burn in you, too.

And a crowd of crusaders
Outliving the night
Stared shocked at the silence
Of the white blinding light.

And the bloodstained remains
Of the great antichrist
Were shattered by archangels –
Those whom he’d despised.

And dissolved was his spirit
Soaked up by the sun
And a new age was dawning
Thus all had begun…

And Wisdom was smiling eternal soft blue…
See fiery wheels turning and He’ll burn in you, too.

In this song, Roth’s lyrics are touching on aspects of the Kabbalah, an ancient mystical Hebrew view of the world. Like all other Electric Sun songs, the music and lyrics form a very personal and unique statement. The guitar passage work is very original, fading out in a long and melodic dual guitar lead.

Winter Days

A kind of instrumental praeludium, “Winter Days” displays yet another unique facet of the budding, young composer. Harmonically and melodically this one could not be further away from Jimi’s style and has a distinctly European classical flavour. This beautiful and moving instrumental was written in January 1978 and puts across an atmospheric image of winter. Here again the maestro has shown that he is prepared to go completely new ways while gracefully avoiding any sense of cliché. This piece is a little gem, but unfortunately maybe a little bit too short.

Japanese Dream

Mond muß weichen
Sternumkränzt –
Morgenröte küßt die Wiesen
Eine weiße Taube steigt empor –
Traumgleich –
Friede liegt über der Welt…
Moon must fade
Starberimm’d –
Dawn kisses the meadows
A white dove is ascending –
Dreamlike –
Peace is over the world…

A beautiful track, which Uli wrote in May 1978, directly after completing his last tour of Japan with the Scorpions. This song is basically a spontaneous improvisation made by Roth on his 4- track recorder in Monika’s flat in Düsseldorf. With its oriental sounding melody, it strongly evokes the atmosphere of a Japanese garden. Gently spoken lyrics over a background of two undistorted guitars round off this peaceful dreamy scene in sound. The instruments and harmonies create the dreamlike atmosphere of a misty meadow illuminated by an early morning sunrise which is dedicated to the spirit of peace.


Undoubtedly the most daring and monumental track of Uli’s formative years. Written in the autumn of 1977, this was his first venture into a more symphonic direction. In some ways, this piece already foreshadows his future musical route pointing towards Sky Of Avalon. A truly earthshaking introduction is followed by a symphonic theme performed by no less than five guitars. The centre of this epic features a moving solo over a fast chromatic Lisztian bass line. Pure magic is created, when a series of flanged guitar chords, recorded backwards are hovering mysteriously over a 6/8 beat drum rhythm just prior to a striking Spanish chord structure with an alternating octave melody. This piece concludes the album with a major guitar cadence. Roth’s original title “Instead Of A Symphony” did not appear on the album release, and the epic was called “Earthquake” instead.