Judas Priest – ‘Priest…Live!’ (1987) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

It was time for Priest to release another live album. After the success of the band’s 1986 album ‘Turbo’ and the very successful tour called ‘Fuel for Life Tour’, the band was still riding high. It was decided to capture this new era of Priest with a live album. The album takes songs from two of the band’s shows on the tour. The first was from my hometown of Atlanta, Ga from the show on June 15, 1986 at the Omni. Back then I would’ve been 17 years old and about to start my Senior Year in High School which means I was in to the whole glam rock scene with the likes of Poison and Ratt and those bands. I wasn’t listening to Priest so completely missed that show…now I look on it sadly because what a show it would’ve been. The second show they took songs from was from the Dallas, TX show on June 27, 1986 at Reunion Arena. And from the sounds of this album, both shows were spectacular.

What I find really cool about this release is they did the same thing Kiss did with Alive! and Alive II. They did not repeat any tracks on the albums. Yep, all the songs on Priest…Live! were from the era after ‘Unleashed in the East’ so you get an entirely new set of songs. As a fan, I completely appreciate and love that fact. Then you can throw on both albums and play them back to back and get a killer show with no repeats. Good job guys.

The track listing is great with over 15 tracks covering the 5 albums. You get 5 from ‘Turbo’ which makes sense since that is the album they were touring at the time. You get 4 from ‘Defenders of the Faith’, 2 from ‘Screaming for Vengeance’, only 1 from ‘Point of Entry’ and 3 from ‘British Steel’. The version I have has 3 bonus tracks which is 1 from ‘Defenders of the Faith’, 1 from ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ and ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ which would technically be the only repeat, but since this is a bonus track and not on the original album it doesn’t count.

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Judas Priest – ‘Defenders of The Faith’ (1984) – Album Review (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

In May of 1983, Judas Priest played one of their biggest shows at the US Festival in California. They played on what was called Metal Night with bands like Motley Crue, Scorpions, Quiet Riot, Van Halen and Ozzy. It was a very memorable event. Then three short months later, the band was back at in the studio in Ibiza, Spain where they had recorded their prior album ‘Screaming For Vengeance’.

They recorded the album from September to November 1983 with Tom Allom again at the helm. Well, they weren’t recording the whole time because when they arrived all the studio equipment was gone. Apparently the owner of the studio had some money issues. They had to get all new equipment shipped in and had to get it in to the studio. Rob tells in his book, ‘Confess’, they had to put a bunch of logs together and put the giant console on it to help roll it in to the studio. That had to be a sight to see. They definitely worked hard to get that album made…when they weren’t partying in town.

The album was done and the sound was very much like ‘Screaming for Vengeance’. The band felt that had tapped in to something special with that album so they basically repeated it on ‘Defenders of Faith’. Now they didn’t repeat really, but they wanted a similar vibe and sonic feeling. Which they achieved. And they achieved it with the band in tack from the last album with Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing, Ian Hill and Dave Holland. The album was released on January 4, 1984 and went all the way to #18 on the Billboard charts and went Platinum in the US with over 1 million in sales.

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Def Leppard – Hysteria: The Singles Box Set – Album Review

Def Leppard have been milking the Hysteria album for years and why not as it is their most popular album.  It was an album that would reach Diamond status with well over 10 million copies sold.  It would produce 7 singles in the US and even 6 in it’s home country of the UK.

In celebration of the albums 30 years, they released a beautiful box set of the full album which I reviewed a long while back (Hysteria).  Now, they have decided to release the Singles Box set to celebrate those 7 singles and for fun they released two more singles plus gave us an extra Spanish Version of one of their singles (Spanish cover, not sung in Spanish although that would’ve been cool).  This gives us a nice set of 10 singles plus their B-Sides.

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There were two things that made the Hysteria Singles so special.  One was the cover of those singles were a puzzle piece that when put together, they created the album artwork.  The second thing was that the B-Sides were all unreleased tracks.  As a collector, they were awesome.

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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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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 – ‘Hysteria’ 30th Anniversary (Deluxe Edition) – Album Review

Thirty years ago on August 3rd, 1987, Def Leppard released their fourth studio album, ‘Hysteria’.  Little did they know this ground breaking album would go on to sell over 25 million records, produce 7 hit singles and go to #1 on the Billboard Charts.  The album was a labor of love for the band as it took several years to record and they struggled so much during this time.

There were so many setbacks during the recording of the album.  First, Robert John “Mutt” Lange turned down the producing job for the record after he had recorded “High & Dry” (my personal favorite) and “Pyromania” although he did help in the initial song writing for the record.  The band went through several producers during the recording including working with Jim Steinman of ‘Bat Out of Hell’ fame.  Their relationship did not go smoothly and he was later fired (they paid him a lot of money to get out of the contract so it must have gone badly). Later in the process, “Mutt” did come back and produce the final product and then history was made.

The second big obstacle was Rick Allen’s car accident that severed his arm.  Yes, the drummer of the band lost an arm.  With all respect to the band, they did not abandon Rick.  They stood by him and supported him until he was capable of playing the drums with one arm using an electronic drum set and a set of foot pedals to compensate for the lost arm.  It definitely was a trying time.  I won’t go into much more as you can watch the documentary included to learn more.

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