Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top Of The Heap-Def Leppard

Time again for Top of the heap. Andy and I tell our favorite album by a band and then you can comment on your favorite. This time around we are talking about Def Leppard.

Andy's pick-

Mercury Records 1980

While I am very tempted to write about how Hysteria shaped a young 14 year old into the metal fan you see before you in all honesty Def Leppard's 1980 debut is more to my liking. Yes it's true that Hysteria was a road map for my hormone driven teenage years but it doesn't have the lasting impact that On Through The Night had. Before the group exploded into rock and roll stardom (and became the envy of every guy with their unrivaled sex appeal) they were just another New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band trying to break their way out of England. After renowned British BBC DJ John Peel played"Getcha Rocks Off" (off of the group's 3 track The Def Leppard E.P.) the band's popularity soared and the group was signed. Produced by Tom Allen (of Judas Priest fame) On Through The Night is far removed from the overly produced and snyth crazy Hysteria. In fact it owes more to bands like Saxon and Diamond Head than to the pop metal craze they are now known for. It's been said that this is the band's least favorite album. It is raw hard rock. That's what makes it appealing to me. It does have it's share of singles like "Rock Brigade", "Wasted" and "Hello America". But it's more than that. Listen to "Rocks Off" and you'll see a band playing balls out rock. "Sorrow Is A Women" is bluesy rock and roll with shades of Led Zepplin running through it. "Satellite" is a nice mixture of melody and metal. Sure, "When The Walls Come Tumbling Down" is Iron Maiden without the all the charm but, the closing number "Overture" is an epic rock and roll number not unlike something Boston or Journey would write (only more rock and less syrup). A great way to close off this underrated debut. While it was a hit in their home country it didn't make the waves that future albums would. To me though it's a classic hard rock disc and shows how a band can start off being rough around the edges before the music machine gets hold of them. I would have loved to have seen the band continue on this road more than the glitz and glamor of later releases.

Metal Mark's pick-


This is another band where I switch back and forth on my favorite and in this case it's between Pyromania and High n' Dry. Pyromania was the first Def Leppard album I ever heard and I was crazy about it right away. High n' Dry was the second one I heard when I checked out a scratched up vinyl copy from my local library ( one of the maybe five actual rock albums they owned at the time). Pyromania was smooth and catchy, but so was High n' dry although it was a little more rough around the edges in places. Those edges are what made it appeal to me a little more than Pyromania. They still retained some of their NWOBHM grit, but the writing was stronger and the hooks were sharper on High n' dry than on the debut "On through the night".High n' dry is definitly the top album from these guys that I can listen to from start to finish and have on many occasions over the last 25 plus years. I actually like every song on this, but if forced to pick a few favorites I would say the ripping "Another Hit and Run", the great to sing a long with"High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)" , the haunting "Lady Strange" and the head noddin' "Mirror, Mirror (Look into My Eyes)". Back in the days of cassette "High n' dry" could frequently be found in my walkman ( really dating myself now). Nowadays I frequently listen to it when I get out of work on Friday on my way home, but actually I could certainly listen to it at almost any time.

***So what is your favorite Def Leppard album and why?

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Blogger BeckEye said...

I love Def Leppard and routinely get made fun of for it. But I don't give a shit.

It's a toss up between Pyromania and Hysteria for favorite album.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Rockin' Jeff said...

Two-armed-drummer-era! The first three are some of the greatest rock albums ever made.
I recently found a vinyl copy of On through the night, and blew my mind all over again. I hadn't heard it in over 20 years, but as soon as i put it on it was like i was in middle school again. And the cover artwork is brilliant. Classic album. I think i might put it on right now.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

High n' Dry is a great album as well and shows why Mark and I get along so well. Similar tastes in great rock music! I would love to hear On Through The Night on vinyl again. Everything sounds better on vinyl period.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

I definitely like On through the night more now than I did in the
80's. I am not much on anything from DL after Pyromania though.

4:20 PM  

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