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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Today, July 11th, marks the 35th Anniversary of Def Leppard’s best and heaviest album, ‘High & Dry’. Everyone knows the albums ‘Pyromania’ and ‘Hysteria’, but the album that started it for me was ‘High & Dry’. My brother had their first album on vinyl ‘On Through the Night’, but that album didn’t really do much for me. I liked it, but it was lacking in a lot of areas.
It was this album that changed my views on Def Leppard. This album is what a Rock & Roll album was supposed to sound like. Once I heard this album, my world was never the same. Def Leppard became a part of my life and has not stopped since.
What was so special about this album? For starters, the producer was the legendary, Mutt Lange. He went on to produce ‘Pyromania’ and ‘Hysteria’ as well. Mutt Lange was able to take the elements that were missing on their first album and put them together here. The improvements from their first album to here are huge. They sounded like a band that had a plan and an idea of who they were that they didn’t have before.
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