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Def Leppard has been active as a band since 1976.
So, if you were just getting started with Def Leppard today, their 12-album discography spanning over four decades might seem a little overwhelming…
Not to worry, because in this episode of the Adrenalize Def Leppard Fan Podcast, hosts David and Brennan help you find your start with the illustrious arena rock band.
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David: What’s up, Pyromaniacs? It’s David here and I’m joined as always by Brennan.
Brennan: Hi everybody, this is Brennan here.
David: How you doing, man?
Brennan: Pretty good.
David: What’s up?
Brennan: Oh, just, chilling out with some, Pizza 73 french fries, guzzling my power drink right now.
David: Yeah, that sounds delicious.
Brennan: It is.
David: Okay, well, we’re here to talk about Def Leopard obviously, but we wanted to share about the concept of the show with all the fans out there. So why don’t we start there?
Brennan: Okay. Well, this is a podcast obviously for Def Leppard fans, and Dave and I are the guitar players in a fabulous Def Leppard tribute band called Adrenalize. We have been together for more than 10 years, and we wanted to put together a very unique concept with this. We wanted to make it a fan based instead of a venue-based podcast.
And one of our ultimate intentions and the thing that’s the most fun to us is to be able to come out to you and perform live. We’d like to put on performances in front of audiences of anywhere from like 500 to 2,000 people and really turn it into a major event. And we have got something on our band website, which is adrenalize.ca.
You’ll probably want to check that out tonight after you listen to the podcast. We’ve got a special VIP page you can go to and put yourself on the radar just for that purpose. So anytime there are updates, you’ll get them in advance. Even before we’re planning show dates, that we’re going to officially announce, and make public, you can know well ahead of time.
It’ll give you the ability to buy tickets ahead of time, and we’ve even got our own private ticket site on site as well. So, we’ve really thought of all the logistics of how to make this work.
David: Awesome. No, that’s terrific. And we do look forward to sharing about our activity too, right?
Like if we’ve got new releases, if we’ve got a new music video, if we’ve got new merch, which apparently, we do, we do have new merch on the website.
Brennan: That’s right. We do.
David: Yeah. Some cool new shirts with the podcast artwork. You might have seen our amazing podcast artwork if you’ve downloaded this episode right now.
So, you can find our merch at adrenalize.ca. But we really look forward to sharing, you know, everything that’s going on. Our shows and our releases and, and everything else just mentioned.
So why don’t we get into today’s topic? What are we talking about today?
Brennan: I think we’re talking about Def Leppard.
David: Really? I didn’t expect that. Wait, this is a Def Leppard Fan Podcast and we’re going to be talking about the rosetted cats. Was there something specific in mind for today though?
Brennan: Well, I think you floated me the idea of doing an introduction to Def Leppard for newbies.
David: Yeah. Totally. “Where do I start with Def Leppard” being kind of the main keyword or the question that people have asked.
I have some thoughts. I’m sure you have some thoughts and I think at the end of the episode we might meet in the middle, or it will just end in a fist fight probably.
Brennan: Complete with fist fight sound effects added in post-production.
David: That’s right. I think in terms of albums, it’s somewhat obvious to me, or at least I should say it’s a very conventional pick where I would start from.
But what about you, Brennan? What album would you get started with if you were a new fan?
Brennan: Well, I guess I’ll give you a little bit more of a detailed answer on that. Yeah, I would say, a good starting point to get introduced to Def Leppard for someone who’s just barely heard of them or a complete newbie, is to look up what their radio hits were in the 80s, beginning as early as 1981.
Because I think the thing that really started to get them into the limelight, the single, “Bringin’ On The Heratbreak”, right in 1981. That coincided with when MTV was becoming a big thing and all the hair metal bands in the 80s were beginning to blow up at the start of the decade. And so “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” was the first hit in a string of many.
There were many more radio hits after that, but in terms of the albums, that those radio hits tie back to? I would say it would be the trio of High ‘n’ Dry, Pyromania, and Hysteria. Now, just coincidentally, those were also the albums where they started to kind of really define their signature sound because Hign ‘n’ Dry was the first album where they brought Mutt Lange on board as a producer.
Definitely helped them sculpt their signature sound, which is easily recognizable once you know it.
David: So, if you had to pick just one album though, if you had a gun to your head and you had to say, well, one of those three, which one would you pick?
Brennan: Well, I would have to say if it was just one of those three, I’d have to say probably Hysteria. One of the reasons being is that it was the one album that had a string of hits, like it had six or seven singles. And that was within the space of, I believe, less than two years.
David: I would pick Euphoria as a starting point. I’m just kidding. There’s no way I would pick Euphoria as a starting point. I do remember listening to music on Pandora, just letting it play through a playlist or suggest music to me.
And something from Euphoria came on. I think it was “21st Century Sha La La La Girl”, and I actually ended up liking that a lot. I thought it was great, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the best starting point for a new Def Leppard fan. I lean pretty heavily towards Hysteria as well overall.
I don’t know whether you’d want to start with track one. Unless you’re willing to listen all the way through, but as you said, there’s six or seven hits on there that are probably going to be very recognizable. Like if you’ve listened to any classic rock radio, I would say even, you know, 80s, 90s, mixed radio, you’ve probably heard more Def Leppard than you even realize.
And Hysteria is the album that’s going to help you recognize that.
Brennan: Yeah. Chances are you probably have heard nearly all those hits, and even if you don’t know who it was that performed them, if you heard them again, you’d recognize them. And if someone pointed out that it was Def Leppard doing them, that would be a real eye-opener.
David: Absolutely. So, whether it’s “Animal” or “Armageddon It” or of course the title track “Hysteria.” These are all excellent starting points. Depends on what you like. Some people are into ballads or let’s say songs with a little more feel and emotion to them, in which case “Animal,” “Hysteria” are perfect. But if you want the rockers, then of course “Armageddon It,” right?
You can’t go wrong there. And I have some other ones on there that are sort of unconventional favorites as it were on Hysteria. But that’s kind of what I think.
Brennan: You know, and a thought just came to mind here too, is that Def Leppard, I think they’ve said that there would be no Hysteria without Pyromania.
And Pyromania, in its own right…
David: it’s still a masterpiece.
Brennan: It is a masterpiece, but in a lot of ways it was a precedent setting album. Which it was a concept that up until 1983 had never been done before. In a lot of ways, it was the first of its kind.
David: Yeah, you’re right. I think in that sense, it’s worth listening to both all the way through.
If you happen to be going on a road trip or something like that, then that’s perfect. Just listen to those two, back-to-back, or three. You could throw High ‘n’ Dry in there if you wanted to, and you get a really good sense of what Def Leppard’s all about.
I am going to throw one controversial statement in. But it may be not controversial. I think their latest album might not be a horrible starting point for new fans.
Brennan: Well, I would kind of agree with that. In the sense that it definitely sounds like classic Def Leppard, and this album is their sound in the present day, after, I guess decades of experience of being seasoned veterans.
And yet you listen to it now and in a lot of ways, you hear a reincarnation of the best of their stuff of the 80s. If there was a single from the present day, that would encapsulate their signature sound, which you could then go back to the 80s and compare to the sound of their radio hits back then, I think it’s the first track off the new album, which is “Take What You Want.”
David: And they have recorded a few songs along the lines of “Pour Some Sugar on Me” through the years that might be worth starting with as well, but “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is obviously a very signature hit and it’s played in every strip club, right?
Brennan: Well, that is probably the defining song of Def Leppard throughout the decades.
David: Very much it is. And interesting how it’s actually very much percussion or drums driven. The guitars do come in to supplement or complement as the case might be, but it’s one of those where it’s really a clap along kind of song.
Brennan: Right. Now. Here’s something that’s kind of funny about that song that not everybody knows, but in fact they were ready to decide that the album was complete with Hysteria and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was an afterthought. In fact, they were almost reluctant to do it because they were thinking, no, it’s enough.
We don’t need to overfill the album; we’re already burned out. And yet when they threw it in as an afterthought for song number 12, it turned out to be their biggest hit.
David: Yeah. I recall Joe Elliott talking about this, and I think he was sitting around the studio playing a bit of guitar and then had randomly come up with the hook.
So, it’s pretty incredible how things come together sometimes. I know it’s a novelty hit, but I mean, something like “Kung Fu Fighting” was pretty much laid down in 10, 15 minutes. I hear. So, you just never know when a song might come to you that’s worth it.
Anything else? I think we might be about close to wrapping this one up.
Brennan: Well, I think that’s a pretty good comprehensive introduction to Def Leppard. Of course, this is a subject that we can always periodically revisit from different angles.
David: Absolutely. So don’t forget to visit us online at adrenalize.ca and we’ll see you on the next show, Pyromaniacs.