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 #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 #154, we are covering the 7 minute epic, “White Lightning” off the band’s 1992 release ‘Adrenalize’. The album sold millions, went to #1 and released 7 singles (not all in the States) and this was not one of them. This is one of those deep cuts that is actually probably better than everything else on the record.
The ‘Adrenalize’ album was the first album without Steve Clark and even prior to Vivian Campbell joining the band. The song was written about Steve Clark and his addicitions and untimely death. Steve’s nickname from the band was White Lightning as he normally dressed in all white on stage and ran around the stage like a bolt of lightning. It is such a heartfelt tribute and you can feel the love and passion the band had for this man.
The song opens with a guitar solo by Phil Collen that was played in the style of Steve and his personal tribute to him. The solo starts off slow, with an eerie feel to it…a sadness. In fact, Phil played all the parts and even with the dual guitar parts he played as if it was he and Steve going at it together. It is very touching.
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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 #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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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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