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 #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 #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 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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For My Sunday Song #75, I am bringing you the song that started it all for me…”Photograph” by Def Leppard. It was the first single off the massive hit album ‘Pyromania’ and it was the song that started my obsession with Def Leppard. From that point on, music took a whole new direction in my life. It was my passion. I tried to play guitar (rather unsuccessfully) and I couldn’t sing, but I could listen to music.
The song was perfect in my book. The video was mesmerizing. The two together captured my attention like nothing ever had. The song has such a melodic melody and the guitar solo and background vocals were all spot on thanks to Mutt Lange behind the boards. The guitar riff on the song that is played throughout is instantly recognizable.
I had heard of Def Leppard as my brother had one of their albums, but it was this song and this album that made me a fan…no a fanatic with this band. I had to have the albums, the singles, the shirts, the posters, the pins…you name it, I had to have it. And it still goes on today. They release a video and I own it; a live album and I gotta have it; a deluxe version of an album I already have, yep, I get that as well. It doesn’t matter.
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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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If I remember correctly, there was an interview with Joe Elliott a long, long time ago asking him about Cover albums and Live albums and why Def Leppard hadn’t done any of these albums. His response was something to the effect that bands that have nothing else to give do those kind of albums (not a direct quote). I tried finding the article, but was unsuccessful. Well, 1 Cover album and now 3 Live albums later, I guess Def Leppard has nothing to give…Okay, we know that is wrong as Def Leppard has still put out great albums in between all these Live albums and the Cover album. His opinion of them has apparently changed.
This post will be the first in a 3 part series discussing Def Leppard’s 3 Live Albums including ‘Mirror Ball’,‘Viva! Hysteria’, and ‘And There Will Be A Next Time…’. We will start the series in chronological order starting with the 2011 release ‘Mirror Ball: Live & More’.
‘Mirror Ball’ is the first official release on CD for any Def Leppard recording. I have bootlegs of live albums, but glad to see an official release of live material. It was long overdue. The album was a 2 CD set and included a Bonus DVD as well which I will discuss later in the post. The CD packaging is one of those old thick plastic cases that doesn’t hold up well. I cracked the back of the case on the day I bought it. I don’t remember what I did, but it is nicely cracked now.
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