For My Sunday Song #160 and the final in the Def Leppard series, I bring you “Die Hard the Hunter” from the multi-platinum album ‘Pyromania’. The song was never released as a single; however, was played live back in the day.
The song opens with the sound of a helicopter and machine gun fire and is representative of war, the Vietnam War to be exact. The song is about a war veteran who comes back from war, but can’t seem to let it go. The battles the soldier faces being home as he can’t seem to stop fighting the battles and now they are in his mind. The evils of war are following him everywhere and he is struggling to let go of the bad and find the good. A common problem with soldiers then and even today.
What I love about the song is the seriousness of the music. The heavy metal chords that are used give an impending feel of doom and gloom. There is a darkness to the music, an eeriness, a sadness that captures the feelings the soldier is going through. You can actually feel the heaviness of it all through the music. It is quite fantastic how they captured that feeling musically.
Steve Clark’s solo on this is fantastic. He has a really cool riff and along with Pete Willis’ rhythm guitar, the two made a great pair and helped deliver the sound that captured the essence of the song. It was simple sounding, yet brilliant. Not too flashy, but not understated either. Joe delivers the vocals in a way to also help convey the emotions of the song. Always has been one of my favorites on ‘Pyromania’.
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For My Sunday Song #159, I want to discuss the song “Blind Faith” off the self-titled album Def Leppard from 2015. The final song on the album and not a rocker, but not sure it is a ballad either. The album has helped see a jump in popularity for the band as it is probably the best album they have done in about the last 20 years. And for me, this song is part of the reason.
“Blind Faith” was written by Rick Savage and Joe Elliott and is a commentary on religion and cult-like faith groups. I think I connected to it due to his viewpoints are similar to mine. It is not that he doesn’t believe in God, it is not a knock on religion, it is more that sometimes organized religion is kind of futile.
Joe said this about the song in an interview with Claire Sturgess for Absolute Radio:
“We’ve always touched on the real side of life if you like. Mostly it’s in with relationship stuff but with this it was like just observation of the that humanity can be abused if you like. And I set out writing this thing and I just had this stream of consciousness. It just came pouring out of me but I made a very conscious effort to not be preachy and finger waggy about it. If you actually read the lyrics. And I did say to the guy when he was putting the artwork together. I want a question mark putting at the end because I want everybody to realise. I’m asking a question and I’m not telling you what’s going on. I’m asking is it really what’s going on?. You know. Make your own mind up. So in that – it is poking a little bit but it’s not preaching. I want the listener to make their own mind up as to whether you know what they’re hearing is representative of what they’re thinking as well because it’s certainly what a lot of people think.”
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For My Sunday Song #158, I bring to you “Getcha Rocks Off” from the band’s 1979 debut E.P. simply known as the Def Leppard E.P. The song would go on to be re-recorded for the band’s debut full length album ‘On Through the Night’ but there it is known as “Rocks Off”.
What is cool about this song? Well, everything actually. It is as early Def Leppard as you can get. It is raw, it is rough and it completely gets your rocks off…really! The band sounds so young, so hungry and so damn good. Steve Clark’s guitar riff instantly grabs hold of you and won’t let go. And let’s talk about that solo. Damn, Steve was immediately letting the world know that this band meant business. There is a little back and forth on the guitars with Steve and Pete Willis and then Steve just tears into that solo with a blistering pace and so much fire and passion. This is guitar rock at its best.
Another cool thing about this song is the drumming. This is not Rick Allen on drums. This was before he joined the band. The drummer on this is Frank Noon. Frank was a session drummer and wasn’t really a full member of the band. He wasn’t the first drummer either as that was Tony Kenning, but he isn’t on this record so no more about him. Frank did a great job and pounded the hell out of those drums.
Lyrically there isn’t much to the song. It is a pure rock & roll song about a beautiful woman that comes to the dressing room door and is looking smoking hot. She wants to get her rocks off. When the band goes on stage the girl is in the front and she has lots of pretty friends, enough for every one in the band…funny how that works out. This song is really great for the music, not the lyrical content for sure.
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For My Sunday Song #157, “Blood Runs Cold” from the 1996 album ‘Slang’ is our song of discussion this week. The song is certainly a deep cut as it was never a single and not sure if they played it live. ‘Slang’ was a highly underrated album and was at a time when Grunge had killed the 80’s rock so Lep went out and did their own thing. Most people wanted more of the same, but this was from it. This song is a ballad, but not like any ballad they had done before.
The song is another tribute to their fallen comrade, Steve Clark. “Blood Runs Cold” was written by Joe Elliott and Phil Collen and this is the second tribute they had written for Steve, the first being “White Lightning” which we discussed several weeks back. This one was a cold, feeling ballad full of sadness and emptiness for missing their friend.
It really is a dark song and I love how the bass playing by Rick Savage is really the focused instrument. Just give a listen to how he plays the song and how the notes are hit with the right tone and timing. He does a stellar job with this song.
Joe’s sadness shines through as he sings the lyrics and I love in the middle of the song, Phil’s backing vocals sound amazing and adds an extra level of pain to the lyrics with his delivery of the lyrics. Then the guitar solo also has the sad feel to it as well. It is really a heartbreaking song especially when you listen to the lyrics.
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For My Sunday Song #156, we are going to talk about one of Def Leppard’s few politically charged songs and one of the few songs from Hysteria that was not a single. The song is “Gods of War”. It is an epic song at over 6 minutes and I loved it when they used to play this one live long, long ago. They still do play it when they do the whole Hysteria album in concert of course.
This was the 80’s and there were all these little military skirmishes going on around the world and it was the end of the Cold War. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States and Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Intermixed in the song were lines from the world leaders threatening the terrorists and even gun fire and battle sounds. One of my favorite lines was towards the end when President Reagan said, “He counted on America to be passive, He counted wrong” and then there was gun fire and explosions. For a teenage boy, that was really badass! Plus, I can do a really great Reagan impression so I would say those lines in his voice every time I would sing it.
Joe came up with the song from watching the news and what was going on in the world. It was Def Leppard’s version of protest song which I am sure was overshadowed by the songs that the band was releasing such as “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. People didn’t look at Leppard as a socially conscience band, but they could be and were.
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For My Sunday Song #153, we are exploring the great song “Paper Sun” from the band’s 1999 album ‘Euphoria’. The song was released as a single in the U.S., but to little fanfare despite it being one of the best songs on the album.
The song is about the Omagh terrorist bombing on August 15, 1998 in Northern Ireland. Here is what wikipedia says about the bombing…
It was carried out by a group calling themselves the Real Irish Republican Army, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) splinter group who opposed the IRA’s ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement. The bombing killed 29 people (including a woman pregnant with twins) and injured some 220 others, making it the deadliest single incident of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Lyrically and musically, the song is very dark and sad. At over 5:26 minutes, the song takes you on a journey through the emotions of that sad day. It feels like they are losing hope in humanity and in life. The world is so fragile as if made of paper that could burn up in an instant. Lyrics, like “Do you still hear ’em screamin'” is full of the pain that one would feel if they were at the bombing and could hear the cries for help and the cries of sorrow for those lost.
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For My Sunday Song #152, we are discussing the song “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” by Def Leppard off their 1981 album ‘High N Dry’. The song was written by the late Steve Clark and Joe Elliott. It is one of those deep cuts that sticks with you and at times you feel is even better than anything else on the album (at times, not all the time).
The song is up for interpretation. It could be about two different, but similar things. The one I like to go with is that the “Mirror” is that mirror on the table with lines of Coke on it. As he is sniffing up the coke and the lines disappear, the mirror is suddenly staring at him and he has to face his demons. It is a rather dark viewpoint, but the one I feel is quite plausible. The lyrics in this verse is what leads me to that conclusion…
Hangin’ there with that crack in your eye
You make me stumble, make me blind
Time after time and line by line
The “line by line” part fits in to the theory nicely. But the “hangin'” part leads me to the other theory.
The other theory is that he is just standing there looking in the mirror and it is forcing him to take a deeper look into what he has become. He doesn’t like what he sees, but he feels so lost. The anger builds up and he smashes the mirror into little pieces. Those pieces are his life.
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For My Sunday Song #151, we are now going to spend the next 10 weeks exploring some of my favorite Def Leppard songs. These won’t be the hits you have heard on the radio or in concert (okay, some may have been played live, and one might be a single but that is it). These will be songs that I think are some of their best deep cuts and something I think is worth checking out if you want to get a better understanding of what the band is about.
The first song is off the 1993 album, ‘Retroactive’ and it was the B-Side to the song “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” off ‘Adrenalize’ from 1992. The song is called “From the Inside” and was written by Joe Elliott.
The song is one of the darkest songs they have ever written or performed. The theme of the song is about drugs and addiction and the point of view of the song is actually from the drugs. The drugs describe to the user what it will do them and how it will take them up high and drag them to their lowest of lows. With lyrics such as…
And I’ll laugh while you’re up there
And I’ll laugh when you’re down
Though your screams break the silence
Oh, they won’t make a sound
…it is quite disturbing and sadly, so true. Written around the time I think Steve Clark died, my guess is that Joe was inspired by what happened with Steve write this track.
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For My Sunday Song #126, the instrumental we will be covering is “Switch 625” by none other than Def Leppard. For a band that is not noted for doing instrumentals, when they did one, they definitely got it right. The song is off the band’s second album ‘High & Dry’ and is still played today in concert as a tribute to the writer of the song, the late, great Steve Clark.
The song bleeds effortlessly after “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” with such a smooth transition you would swear it is part of the song. The long, unedited version of the song. The song itself is a beautiful representation of all that was great about the god-given gift of Steve’s guitar playing.
I love the dual guitars battling it out. I can picture Pete & Steve going back and forth and playing off each other (now I am making an assumption that Pete played on the recorded version). It also has such a great melody and if it had lyrics would have made for another great Def Leppard ballad I am sure.
In fact, producer Mutt Lange wanted to add lyrics but after battling out with Joe Elliot, no lyrics were added. Joe felt the song was perfect the way it was and no need to mess it up with his voice (of course that isn’t a direct quote, I’m making assumptions but the story itself is true).
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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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