Today, July 11th, marks the 35th Anniversary of Def Leppard’s best and heaviest album, ‘High & Dry’. Everyone knows the albums ‘Pyromania’ and ‘Hysteria’, but the album that started it for me was ‘High & Dry’. My brother had their first album on vinyl ‘On Through the Night’, but that album didn’t really do much for me. I liked it, but it was lacking in a lot of areas.
It was this album that changed my views on Def Leppard. This album is what a Rock & Roll album was supposed to sound like. Once I heard this album, my world was never the same. Def Leppard became a part of my life and has not stopped since.
What was so special about this album? For starters, the producer was the legendary, Mutt Lange. He went on to produce ‘Pyromania’ and ‘Hysteria’ as well. Mutt Lange was able to take the elements that were missing on their first album and put them together here. The improvements from their first album to here are huge. They sounded like a band that had a plan and an idea of who they were that they didn’t have before.
This was one of the first albums where I noticed the album had a cohesive flow and sound and I judged all albums after that based on that flow. The songs were crafted to work perfectly side-by-side and the pace of the songs just plain worked.
This was also the last album with the original line-up (I know Tony Kenning was the original drummer but didn’t appear on any full length albums):
- Joe Elliott – Lead Singer
- Rick Savage – Bass
- Steve Clark – Guitar
- Pete Willis – Guitar
- Rick Allen – Drums
Pete Willis’ addiction issues with alcohol became to much for the band and they let him go in 1982 and Phil Collen was brought to replace during the recording of ‘Pyromania’.
The album didn’t do well at the time, but it is said that “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” was the one of the first rock videos played on MTV back in 1982. The album charted at #38 on the Billboard 200 and later re-entered the charts in 1983 to #72 after the success of ‘Pyromania’. The album was released during that time with a couple new songs added including a remix of “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” and “Me & My Wine”.
The thing I liked most about this album was the double guitar work of Steve and Pete. The sound was so heavy and raw. The tone of the guitars was the same on every song which gave the album the flow I mentioned earlier. The opening guitars on “Let it Go” told me everything I needed to know on what this album was going to be like. Then to continue that power into “Another Hit and Run” and “High & Dry” was amazing.
The song that is now the most special is the instrumental song “Switch 625” written by the late, great Steve Clark. It is always so awesome when they play that now live and show the images of Steve and his greatness. He has certainly been missed, but Vivian Campbell is pretty amazing as well as his replacement.
The 2nd half of the album picks right back up with the heavy guitars on “You Got Me Runnin’. Two of my favorite songs on the album come from side 2 – “Lady Strange” and “Mirror, Mirror (Look into My Eyes)”. They both made my Deep Dive Playlist (click and see).
This is one of those rare albums that never get old for me and I still play it several times a year 35 years later. I will be listening to it on the way to work this morning to start my day and week. If you have never listened to it, you must give it a spin. If you have, then you know what I am talking about. Happy 35th Anniversary.
- “Let It Go”
- “Another Hit and Run”
- “High & Dry (Saturday Night)”
- “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”
- “Switch 625”
- “You Got Me Runnin'”
- “Lady Strange”
- “On Through the Night”
- “Mirror, Mirror (Look into My Eyes)”
- “No, No, No”