Tuesday, November 18, 2014

80's Hair Band: Def Leppard

 Gunter glieben glauten globen
All right
I've got something to say
It's better to burn out
Than to fade away...


"Rock Of Ages" is a song by Def Leppard from their 1983 album Pyromania. It takes its name from the hymn "Rock Of Ages". When released as a single in the United States, the song reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number one on the Top Tracks rock chart.

It begins with a German-like nonsense phrase, "Gunter glieben glauten globen", which was later sampled in "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" by The Offspring as well as "Call Me What You Like (If You Like Rock-N-Roll)" by Puffy AmiYumi. This was also sampled in a parody of the song, "Rape Rock of Ages," by shock rock band The Mentors. According to the official Def Leppard FAQ,
"These four words that you hear at the start of "Rock Of Ages", mean nothing, though the band sometimes jokingly claims it means "running through the forest silently". It's actually just German sounding gibberish, said by producer Mutt Lange during one of the later takes of the song. Lange was a perfectionist and would often do dozens & dozens of takes, and after repeatedly beginning so many with the standard count, "One, two, three, four" he simply started saying nonsense words instead, the band liking this one so much that they included it on the album."
As the song's melody begins, Elliott speaks the lines, "All right/I've got something to say/It's better to burn out/Than to fade away"; the second two lines are a reference to Neil Young's song "My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)". Def Leppard's four-line version was quoted in the 1985 movie Highlander by the film's villain, the Kurgan. Young's line would later become immortalized in rock history when it was used in the supposed suicide note of grunge pioneer Kurt Cobain.



Who Are Def Leppard?

Rick Savage, Tony Kenning, and Pete Willis, all students at Tapton School in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, formed a band called Atomic Mass in 1977. The band originally consisted of Willis on guitar, Savage on bass (after originally playing guitar), and Kenning on drums. Only 18 at the time, Joe Elliott tried out for the band as a guitarist following a chance meeting with Willis after missing a bus. During his audition it was decided that he was better suited to be the lead singer. Their first ever gig was in the dining hall in A Block in Westfield School in Mosborough, Sheffield.

Soon afterward they adopted a name proposed by Elliott, "Deaf Leopard", which was originally a band name he thought up while writing reviews for imaginary rock bands in his English class (and in at least partial reference to the band Led Zeppelin). At Kenning's suggestion, the spelling was slightly modified in order to make the name seem less like that of a punk band. In January 1978, Steve Clark joined the band. According to Joe Elliott, he successfully auditioned for the band by playing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" in its entirety.

In November, just prior to recording sessions for what would be a three-song release known as The Def Leppard E.P., Kenning abruptly left the band; he would later form the band Cairo. He was replaced for those sessions by Frank Noon. By the end of the month, Rick Allen, then only 15 years old, had joined the band as its full-time drummer. Sales of the EP soared after the track "Getcha Rocks Off" was given extensive airtime by renowned BBC Radio DJ John Peel, considered at the time to be a champion of punk rock and new wave music.

The band's strongest commercial success came between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Their 1981 album High 'n' Dry was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who helped them begin to define their style, and the album's stand out track "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" became one of the first rock videos played on MTV in 1982. The band's next studio album Pyromania in 1983, with "Photograph" as the lead single, turned Def Leppard into a household name. In 2003, the album ranked number 384 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Rick Allen
On 31 December 1984, drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car crash on the A57 in the hills outside the band's home city Sheffield, when his Corvette swerved off the road on a sharp bend and went through a drystone wall. Despite the severity of the accident, Allen was committed to continuing his role as Def Leppard's drummer, and realised that he could use his legs to do some of the drumming work previously done with his arms. He then worked with Simmons to design a custom electronic drum kit. The other members of the band supported Allen's recovery and never sought a replacement. Allen was placed in a separate studio to practice his new drums. After a few months, Allen gathered the band together and performed the intro to the Led Zeppelin version of "When The Levee Breaks" to showcase his progress to the band. Joe Elliott reports this as being a "very emotional moment." During this period, Mutt Lange returned as producer. Def Leppard brought in Jeff Rich in August 1986 to play alongside Allen during Def Leppard's warm-up mini tour of Ireland, but after Rich accidentally missed a gig, he and the band realised Allen could drum alone. Allen's comeback was sealed at the 1986 Monsters of Rock festival in England, with an emotionally charged ovation after his introduction by Joe Elliott.

Def Leppard's fourth album Hysteria, released in 1987, topped the U.S. and UK album charts. As of 2009 it has 12x platinum sales in the U.S. and has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. The album spawned seven singles, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number one "Love Bites", alongside "Pour Some Sugar On Me", "Hysteria", "Armageddon It", "Animal", "Rocket", and "Women".

Their next studio album Adrenalize (the first following the death of guitarist Steve Clark) reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and UK Album Chart in 1992, and contained several hits including, "Let's Get Rocked" and "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad". Their 1993 album Retro Active contained the acoustic hit song "Two Steps Behind", while their greatest hits album Vault released in 1995 featured the new track "When Love & Hate Collide".

As one of the world's best-selling music artists, Def Leppard have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and have two albums with RIAA diamond certification, Pyromania and Hysteria. They are one of only five rock bands with two original studio albums selling over 10 million copies in the U.S. The band were ranked No. 31 in VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" and ranked No. 70 in "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".

http://youtu.be/ncjcjpQzceQ