Def Leppard – ‘The Story So Far…The Best of’ – Album Review

Def Leppard decided to grace us with yet another Greatest Hits Collection right before the holidays. How nice of them!  It is exactly what I needed…uhh…yeah…NO!!  No offense Lep, I am a huge fan, but why do we need another greatest hits collection.  We have some solid ones already.

I get it.  They have been riding a pretty big wave this last year with the awesome success of their arena and stadium tour with Journey (You can read about those here for Def Leppard and here for Journey).  They have picked up some fans this past year and also they were nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (FINALLY!!!).  All-in-all, a pretty big year so why not cap it off with a new greatest hits set.

Now, they released 3 different sets.  One was a single CD set, a Deluxe 2CD set and a Vinyl Set (2LPs).  So what are the differences between the sets?  I am glad you asked.  We will start with the single CD and the Vinyl Editions.  Both of these sets have 16 tracks.  Okay, the CD has 17 because it includes the new track which is a cover of Depeche Mode’s song “Personal Jesus”.  Now that I mention that, the Vinyl set has that song 2 but is on a separate 7″ Single and the B-Side is the bands new Christmas song “We All Need Christmas”…we will get to those two new songs later.

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Friday New Releases – November 30th

The last Friday of November and Christmas is just around the corner which means one thing.  Album releases start to become relatively scarce. You want to drop your album early enough that it makes it on people’s Christmas list, but not too late where no one will grab it as they have spent all their money already on Christmas presents.  Now, there isn’t a whole lot I care about this week and in fact, there is only one.  Some of the other might get a listen sooner or later.  Have a great day and let me know what you are interested in hearing.  Mine is in Blue.

  • 61WAzq7sdaL._AC_US320_QL65_.jpg   Def Leppard – The Story So Far – (Virgin EMI/Mercury):  Def Leppard is bringing yet another greatest hits release.  Just what we needed, right?  Well….not really.  However, that doesn’t stop me from buying it.  I have it on pre-order for the vinyl so I can’t get the 7″ Single of their Depeche Mode cover of “Personal Jesus”.  Yes, I am becoming a completist with Def Leppard.  Anyway, this is a pretty complete greatest hits package and not a bad one to get if you don’t have on yet.  Enjoy!!

  • 31Ncg-T41kL._SS500  The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships – (Dirty Hit / Polydor / Interscope)
  • 91CRBGCU3QL._AC_UL115_  Neil Young – Songs for Judy – (Shakey Pictures Records)

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Matt Nathanson – ‘Sings His Sad Heart’ – Album Review

Matt Nathanson is one of my all time favorite singers and songwriters, no doubt.  If I had to list my Top 10 Bands or Artists, Matt would be there along with Kiss and Def Leppard (if you follow me, you know I love those two bands so that is high praise).  Why do I love him and his music so much?  Well, this album is a shining example of why.

Speaking of the album, this album took a long journey.  No, not Matt writing and recording it.  A literal long journey.  The album was shipped Friday October 5th (the day of release) from Nashville, Tennessee.  It stated it would not be to me until Thursday, October 11th which I thought was strange as North Carolina is not that far from Tennessee (well not really far). When I looked up the tracking #, the package suddenly appeared in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Now I am not great on geography, but San Juan isn’t anywhere near North Carolina the last time I checked and doesn’t seem the normal traffic route for a package.  Needless to say, it din’t arrive by the 11th as stated.  The USPS finally corrected themselves and I did receive it on Saturday, October 13th. It could be worse, I might not have ever received it.

‘Sings His Sad Heart’ is exactly that.  An album of songs that are about “loss”.  Sounds depressing, right?  It is far from it.  Matt’s pop sensibility is second to none.  He can write an album chock full of catchy tunes that stay with you and never leave.  His mixture of that pop sound with folk and rock blends so nicely together that his music makes you feel like you have known the songs and the album your whole life.

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The Original vs. The Cover vs. The Cover – “Rock On”

For this month’s edition of “The Original vs. The Cover”, we are going to take on a third version as we tackle the David Essex song “Rock On”.  We will battle it out between David Essex’s original version vs. covers by both Michael Damian and Def Leppard.

The song was written for a movie that David was starring in called “That’ll Be the Day” which also had Ringo Starr and Kieth Moon.  The song, however, was not used in the movie.  David wrote the song based on his character from the movie and it has a pure old rock & roll rebellious attitude.  The song is actually a tip-of-the-hat to the old time rockers as it mentions “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Summertime Blues” as well as it gives a shout-out to an old Hollywood rebel James Dean.

Since we have three versions, we might as well jump right into it.

DAVID ESSEX

David’s version hit #3 on the UK singles chart in 1973 and didn’t do that great in the US, but doesn’t mean we Americans don’t love it.  The song is very unique in that there are no instruments that play any chords which means there is No Guitar and No Piano on the song at all.  It is all bass, percussion and horns.  It is really stripped down.

You can tell a major influence of the song is Jamaican raggae and the whole dub style.  The song is driven by the bass line which was done by Herbie Flowers.  According to Wikipedia…”(Herbie’s) double-tracked bass guitar was treated with a prominent “slapback” delay effect, creating a complex polyrhythmic backbeat.”

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My Sunday Song – “Love Bites” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #99, we will tackle the Def Leppard power ballad, “Love Bites”.  The song is off the Diamond selling album, ‘Hysteria’ and was Def Leppard’s biggest hit, if you can believe it.  It is the only Def Leppard song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Considering this was the fifth single off the album and with the success of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, I was completely surprised by that fact (PSSOM did go to #2).

The song was originally brought to the band by the legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange.  The song was a country song at the time and of course the band put their spin on it and turned it in to of the great rock power ballads of the time.  The title for the song actually came from another song that Leppard was working on and that song later became “I Wanna Be Your Hero” which was the B-Side for “Animal” in the US.

What I like about the song is that the guy is so in love with this person that he is actually going a little nuts.  Hell, just touching her drives him crazy.  But he isn’t sure she feels the same way.  He keeps questioning her.  Maybe it is really his own insecurities that are causing him to doubt the relationship.  Or maybe she doesn’t love him and he really senses something missing.

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Def Leppard – Concert Review (Charlotte, NC June 9th, 2018)

Def Leppard is back on tour and this time they are out with Journey on a co-headlining trek around North America.  The last time the two bands toured together was 12 years ago and I missed that tour (I am sure it had to do with having an almost 3 year old and maybe another on the way).  Whatever the reason, I missed it and I wasn’t going to do that again.

When tickets went on sale, I joined the Def Leppard Rock Brigade so I could get early access to tickets.  And damn, tickets were expensive.  This show wasn’t going to be just 2 tickets, I had to buy 3 this time as my wife and my oldest daughter (the one that was almost 3 is now almost 15 – my 11 year old opted out), were joining me on this one.  My wife was going for Journey, but my daughter was going for Leppard (and now has the shirt to prove it).  Me…I was actually going for both.  I have seen Leppard numerous times, but I have never seen Journey…crazy, I know.  Here is what you get for joining the Rock Brigade…a T-shirt & a Pin…

Back to tickets, Lower Level seat were kinda ridiculous.  They were at least $150 or so a piece and then even higher the closer to the stage.  I settled for 3 Front Row Tickets!!  That is right 3 Front Row Tickets!!!  Of course, front row in section 226 on the upper deck because I do have to eat and these were only $99 a piece (only…like $99 is cheap).  Hey, I had an unobstructed view of the show and I could sit if I wanted and not miss a thing.  No real complaints (except I will pay more next time…and there will be a next time).

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Matt Nathanson – ‘Pyromattia’ E.P. – Album Review

We interrupt the normal Tuesday’s Memes scheduled to talk about something amazing…Matt Nathanson surprised his fans with an announcement of a new album and released it the very next day.  The album was only a 6 song E.P., but who cares.  Any new music from Matt is super fantastic.  The only problem is that it wasn’t actually new music.  It was an E.P. full of cover songs.

Now, they aren’t just any cover songs.  They are from my all time favorite band, Def Leppard.  If you don’t know, Matt Nathanson is a metal head.  I realized that a few years ago when I saw Matt being interviewed on the VH1 show “That Metal Show” with Eddie Trunk.  Matt gushed on and on about his rock and metal influences and it made me appreciate him more than I already did.

Matt is also one of my all time favorite artist and he can do no wrong in my book. So, let’s throw Matt together with Def Leppard songs and you have what could possibly be the greatest combination in music history.  I am not kidding!!

When I saw the track listing, I was a little disappointed with a few choices as they seemed obvious and then stunned at some others as I couldn’t imagine what he would do with it.  The songs are as follows:

  1. Pour Some Sugar on Me
  2. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
  3. Comin’ Under Fire
  4. Hysteria
  5. Stragefright
  6. Promises

With cover albums you either need to nail it perfectly or completely re-imagine the song.  Matt completely re-imagined the songs.  He plays them acoustically and even adds some string orchestration to them.  He takes these songs and makes them his own and does an absolutely impressive covers album.

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Def Leppard – The Collection, Volume One – Album Review

Def Leppard is on a mission to release Four Box Sets each collection a specific period in the band.  On June 1st, they started with Volume One…of course.  They aren’t Chickenfoot and aren’t going to skip around with title numbers.  Volume One covers the early years of the band capturing the first 4 albums of release.  The set also includes 2 bonus albums, a book and a 7″ Single.  Now, I have the first four albums on vinyl and CD so that was not what I was after.  I wanted the bonus material.  Don’t get me wrong, it is nice having new remastered, 180 gram vinyl for all of the albums.  I am not complaining.  But this set is for serious fans because it isn’t cheap!!

The article is not really a full review as it would take pages and pages of writing to fully review each album in the set.  It is really a picture chronicle of the set because really there is no reason you shouldn’t own it if you are a fan.  You can get it in CD or Vinyl. I chose vinyl.  What you get is another fantastic package from the band and if this is an indication of what is to come for Volumes Two – Four, I better start saving now.

Why don’t we start with a picture of everything you get…

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Friday New Releases – June 1st

Welcome to the First Friday of June and better yet, the first day of June.  We are now getting into the Summer months and it is going to be Hot with new releases and temperatures.  There only a couple I am interested in the one will require a lot of dough.  My choices are highlighted in Blue.  What interests you?  Leave me a comment.

  • 614aKIFCXNL._AC_US436_QL65_.jpg  Def Leppard – The Collection: Volume One – (Mercury):  Okay, Def Leppard is re-releasing Four Collections of all their albums plus some bonus material.  I will just quote from Amazon exactly…

This initial volume of the band’s complete recorded output comes in a limited-edition 180-gram heavyweight vinyl box set, featuring Def Leppard’s first four studio albums — along with some choice bonus live and studio material — all spread across 8LPs. The Volume One collection contains all of Def Leppard’s iconic 1980s recordings – On Through The Night, High ‘N’ Dry, Pyromania and Hysteria – with reproductions of the original packaging. Furthermore, this collection includes a replica 7-inch single of the band’s original independent EP, the self-titled The Def Leppard E.P. The Volume One collection also houses bonus material including Live At The LA Forum 1983, originally released as a bonus disc in the deluxe CD version of Pyromania, making this the first-ever vinyl offering of the complete show. This 2LP version comes with a new sleeve and inner bags. The box set also includes Rarities Volume 1 which has been specially compiled by Joe Elliott, containing rare B-sides and recordings from Def Leppard’s early years, all in a newly commissioned sleeve. Each album in the Volume One box set was mastered by longtime band producer/soundmaster Ronan McHugh and frontman/vocalist Joe Elliott at Joe’s Garage in Dublin, Ireland, and cut by Greg Moore. Housed in rigid boxes, the Volume One collection also contains a hardback book with rare photos by longstanding band confidant Ross Halfin and liner notes by Classic Rock’s Paul Elliott. Def Leppard bandmembers Joe Elliott, bassist Rick Savage, drummer Rick Allen, and guitarist Phil Collen have all also contributed their personal introductions to the collection.

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Def Leppard – Live at Abbey Road Studios E.P. (2018 #RSD) – Album Review

For the third time in as many years, Def Leppard took part on Record Store Day.  In 2016, the did a picture disc of the self-titled album and last year they re-released their original EP release on vinyl, The Def Leppard EP.  For 2018, we are given another EP, but this time it is 3 songs recorded live at Abbey Road Studios on May 8, 2008.

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What does the Def Leppard press release say about this release, well I will tell you…

The retro cover art is similar to the Def Leppard EP and features the large logo from the 1980 ‘On Through The Night’ album and ‘Hello America’ single. Also included is the street sign from the studios in North West London and the same red stamp title seen on ‘The Lost Session’ iTunes EP from January.

The band recorded a session at the legendary London studios on 8th May 2008 when promoting the ‘Songs From The Sparkle Lounge’ album. Using the same room The Beatles used to record most of their biggest albums in the 1960s.

This was filmed for the UK TV show ‘Live From Abbey Road’ which was broadcast on More4 TV on 1st August 2008 and featured three songs – ‘Rocket’, ‘Rock On’ and ‘C’mon C’mon’

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