My Sunday Song – “White Lightning” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #154, we are covering the 7 minute epic, “White Lightning” off the band’s 1992 release ‘Adrenalize’.  The album sold millions, went to #1 and released 7 singles (not all in the States) and this was not one of them.  This is one of those deep cuts that is actually probably better than everything else on the record.

The ‘Adrenalize’ album was the first album without Steve Clark and even prior to Vivian Campbell joining the band.  The song was written about Steve Clark and his addicitions and untimely death.  Steve’s nickname from the band was White Lightning as he normally dressed in all white on stage and ran around the stage like a bolt of lightning.  It is such a heartfelt tribute and you can feel the love and passion the band had for this man.

The song opens with a guitar solo by Phil Collen that was played in the style of Steve and his personal tribute to him.  The solo starts off slow, with an eerie feel to it…a sadness.  In fact, Phil played all the parts and even with the dual guitar parts he played as if it was he and Steve going at it together.  It is very touching.


The lyrics spell out Steve’s troubles how he was burning the candle at both ends, always had to have that taste, but always unable to let it go and walk away.  He was consumed by his addiction and in the end, the addiction won and took his shining light from us way too early.  I was immediately drawn to this song when I first heard the album. It was always the standout track and when I first really listened to the lyrics, I knew what this was all about and I think that is what always has drawn me to this song.

If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen and let me know what you think.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy Sunday!

“White Lightning”

No promises
No guarantees
When you come down here you’re
Already on your knees
You wanna ride White Lightnin’, then just sign your name
If you wanna dance with the devil, you gotta play his way
(Play the game)
You gotta taste that sweetness
‘Cos you can’t say no
But are you ready for the nightmare
When you can’t let go
Like a soldier of fortune
When the money runs dry
You’ve got rivers of bitter tears
(In your eyes)

You wanna leave but you can’t let go
You wanna stop but you can’t say no
(You never laugh about it, you just can’t live without it)
You’ve had enough but you just want more
You never get what you’re looking for
(You never laugh about it)

You’ve got both ends burning
Like a moth to a flame
You’re going off the rails
Like a runaway train
It’s a no-win situation
And there’s no way out
And no one will ever hear you – Scream and shout

[Repeat Bridge]

Run – He’s coming to claim you
Run – Nowhere to hide away
Run – You dance with danger
Run – Oh you gotta ride

The White Lightning – On a dead end street
White Lightning – Where the deadbeats meet
White Lightning – It’s a one way ride
White Lightning – Oh, there’s nowhere to hide

Such a lonely road you ride
It’s not easy when you don’t know why
Such a heavy load you hide
You never leave no matter how you try

Run – He’s coming to claim you
Run – Nowhere to hide away
Run – You dance with danger
Run – Oh, you gotta ride

The White Lightning – On a dead end street
White Lightning – Where the deadbeats meet
White Lightning – It’s a one-way ride
White Lightning – Oh there’s nowhere to hide

(White Lightning)
Can you feel it? – Can you feel it?
(White Lightning)
It’s so dangerous
(White Lightning)

No promises
No guarantees
(White Lightning)
When you come down here boy,
You’re already on your knees

Written by Phil Collen, Joe Elliott, Mutt Lange & Rick Savage

17 thoughts on “My Sunday Song – “White Lightning” by Def Leppard

  1. This is my favourite song by the Deaf Leopardz. I love it now I loved it then. When Steve Clark died I was still at school. I remember my little band of metalheads coming together one lunch time to discuss the news. We made a short funny film in media studied (it was a 50’s Sci-Fi spoof called Invasion of the Eggs) which had scrolling credits using a long piece of paper and it included an RIP tribute to Steve (and some Leps on the soundtrack). I remember the teacher thinking it was a joke (the rest of the film was) but we wanted to mark the passing of a hero. When Adrenalize came out I’d gone a little cold on the band (until we saw their Wembley show) but White Lightning was worth the price of the album alone.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Great Steve Clark memory. You now have to post that video. I love a good spoof.
      Adrenalize is not one of my favorite albums probably due to a little burnout at the time, but this is my favorite song on that album.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the best post-Hysteria songs. Rest in peace, Steve.

    When I first got Adrenalize this was obviously one of the standouts. I felt it was a bit of an homage to Gods of War, but an apt tribute to Steve. The band has never been the same since.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This played this tune on the Adrenalize Tour! I recall it being the huge production piece f the set as it featured a ton of lasers/smoke etc!
    That was still when Lepp was touring in the round so to speak!
    Great addition to Lepp Sunday Song Selection John!


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