At the record show here in Charlotte back in May of 2022, I found a Generation X album on vinyl I didn’t know existed. It is ‘Demos 1977’ and was actually only released back in 2020 and with Covid going on, probably the reason I missed it. It is also a German release which adds to why I didn’t see it. It says these demos were recorded back in 1977 on February 16th presumable for Chiswick Records. The band at the time was Billy Idol, Tony James, Bob ‘Derwood’ Andrews and John Towe and the demos were recorded at De Lane Lea Studios in Wembley, North London.
Here’s the problem I have with this saying these are the demos for Chiswick Records. They actually only recorded 5 songs for Chiswick and there are 13 songs here. Plus only 4 of those 5 are on this recording. The other 9 songs are from other recording sessions between 1977 and 1980 I believe based on the songs.
The first four songs on the album appear to be the Chiswick demos, but it is missing “Kleenex” which is a shame as that is a great one to have as it has different lyrics than the final product for the debut album. It kicks off with “Your Generation” which would’ve been their first single they released independently with the original pressing only 250 copies and later they would go back and do another 500. The B-Side of that single was “Listen” also from these sessions. “Listen” would wind up on the debut album, however, it was omitted from the U.S. release of the album and “Your Generation” take its place as it did not make it on the UK debut.
I bought ‘The Story So Far…The Best of’ back in 2018 and at the time not realizing it was only Volume 1. I also bought the CD Deluxe to get all the music as the vinyl didn’t have everything. Well, now it does. For Record Store Day 2019, Def Leppard released Volume 2 for those suckers, like me, who will buy everything they put out.
Now Volume 1 has all the songs from their 3 biggest albums (Pyromania, Hysteria and Adrenalice). Volume 2 covers pretty much everything else. And for that, it has a much better selection of songs than Volume 1 for me. It covers the band’s history better and is a lot more diverse and entertaining.
But before we get on about the set list, let’s talk the album cover. It is styled the same as volume 1 with some alterations to color. The biggest pet peeve for me is the picture when you open up the gatefold (oh yeah, 2 LP set with gatefold). It is the same DAMN concert picture as the first!! Really, you couldn’t come up with a different picture. At least the pictures of the individual band members are different.
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.
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’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.”
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.
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’