Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Def Leppard – High ‘N’ Dry

I don’t have the vinyl anymore. It was in a box that went missing in one of my many house moves. I’ve been meaning to replace it, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. And then Def Leppard announced those marvellous box sets that would cover their career a few years ago, and I’ve seen a few of em reviewed on the blogs I follow, so I’m thinking, it’s time to part with some monies and get em.

Spotify also has em to listen and man, listen I did. For those who reckon that once you’ve heard an album, you don’t need to purchase it, well those people have never understood the collectors mentality.

Anyway, let’s get to the album, released in 1981.

The band is the same as the debut with Joe Elliot on vocals, Steve Clark and Pete Willis on lead and rhythm guitars, Rick Savage on bass and Rick Allen on drums.

The album cover by Hipgnosis is smart and done well, but my 80’s mind, made me ignore it for quite some time. It wasn’t as good as the debut cover, and nothing like the covers of the other albums I was purchasing.

Let It Go

It’s written by Pete Willis, Steve Clark and Joe Elliott.

Many would say its AC/DC influenced and I would agree, but then again a lot of British acts like Queen, Sweet, Mott The Hoople and T Rex who influenced Def Leppard had songs with riffs like this. But producer Mutt Lange did work with AC/DC and during this period, “Back In Black” and “Highway To Hell” were selling like crazy.

Most Def Lep fans would know that it was originally titled “When the Rain Falls” with different lyrics and performed live during the “On Through The Night” tour.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mutt Lange had something to do with the song title change.

Another Hit And Run

Written by Rick Savage and Joe Elliot. It’s one of my favourite tracks from when I dropped the needle on this. I can never get enough of the Chorus riff and the Verse Riff.

High ‘N’ Dry

The song is written by Steve Clark, Rick Savage and Joe Elliot. If you want to hear the embryo of the “Photograph” riff, then press play on this and enjoy.

And it also became famous when it made a list called the “Filthy Fifteen”, which is a list of songs criticised by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), for having explicit lyrics that describe alcohol use and intoxication.

Seriously the subject matter on this song is meek compared to some other song. But then again what would a bunch of politicians wives know about hard rock music.

Bringin’ On The Heartbreak

One of Def Lep’s best slower tempo songs. Written by Steve Clark, Pete Willis and Joe Elliot. If those harmony guitars in the Intro don’t grab your attention, then please check for a pulse.

And that Chorus. Wow. The multi layered vocals that would become synonymous with the “Pyromania”, “Hysteria” and “Adrenalize” albums are all here.

Steve Clark also owns this song in the lead department. He didn’t have the top hat of Slash to give him that certain unique look, but his pentatonic playing is exceptional.

In relation to the videos, the live recording with Pete Willis is my go to version, but the video with the boat on a lake featuring Phil Collen is the more well-known one. And the 1984 remix version with the synths is a misstep. There was nothing wrong with the original at all.

Switch 625

An instrumental and it was the song playing in the end credits of “Cobra Kai” Season 4 finale. Written by Steve Clark and all solos are handled by him as well.

Just press play, close your eyes and let the music take you to the places your mind conjures up.

You Got Me Runnin’

Side 2 kicks off with this, written by Pete Willis, Steve Clark and Joe Elliot. I’ve read some reviews that basically ignore Side 2, but man, some of my favourites are here.

I like the 70’s vibe this song gives and the hooks keep coming with the Chorus vocal melody. And press play for the “you got me running” section just before the Pete Willis pentatonic bluesy solo.

Lady Strange

Written by Pete Willis, Steve Clark, Rick Allen and Joe Elliot.

How good is this song?

If it had a different title, it would still be in the set lists today.

The intro harmonies get me hooked and the Chorus riff with the melodic lead gets me moving and tapping my foot.

The verse riff has some sped up chords that would be slowed down in a few years’ time for a song called “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

But it’s that metal riff just before the Chorus that seals the deal. Press play to hear that and then to hear Clark wail.

And as they come out of the Chorus, there is this arpeggio riff which is excellent, Elliot starts singing and the music morphs into the verse riff and then we are back to the Chorus and that infectious vocal melody, of “lady strange I need you, lady strange I want you”.

On Through The Night

Written by Steve Clark, Rick Savage and Joe Elliot. The song has the same title as the debut album.

It’s another killer riff (which also becomes the verse riff) to start the song off. It’s very Blackmore like.

But press play to hear those Randy Rhoads style arpeggios in the Bridge just before the Chorus. For a band who wanted to rule the charts, they definitely kept their fingers on what was hot and what wasn’t.

Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)

Written by Steve Clark and Joe Elliot.

A very underappreciated cut.

Press play to hear how the verses are constructed. The drivers are the bass and drums.

Rick Savage plays a pulsing bass riff with Rick Allen providing a thundering beat and then the guitars start to decorate with chords at low volume and then at a more aggressive volume. Joe Elliot showcases his vocals chops moving between metal god and rock god melodies.

The Chorus has a catchy vocal melody with multi layered vocals.

And those harmonies in the solo. Just so many good sections in the song that words can’t describe.

I also like how in the last 40 seconds, it starts off with the pulsing bass and drums for a few seconds before the Chorus riff thunders in to close out the song.

No No No

Written by Rick Savage, Pete Willis and Joe Elliot.

I feel like its “Ballroom Blitz” merged with “Tie Your Mother Down” and I like it.

Def Leppard will always be known for “Pyromania” and “Hysteria”. Those albums have moved over 40 million in sales combined and they make up Def Lep’s streaming Top 10 lists as well. But I’ve never judged albums on how many units sold. It’s based on songs and riffs, and the quality and influence of this album cannot be ignored.

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13 thoughts on “The Record Vault: Def Leppard – High ‘N’ Dry

  1. My favorite Lep album any day of the week. And yes, Side 2 is awesome with Lady Strange and Mirror Mirror being my two favorites on this side. People need need to think outside of Pyromania and Hysteria because they were so much more than that.

  2. I got the first box set on vinyl just to get vinyl copies of the first four albums. The other two box sets I’m not to keen on except I would dig a copy of Slang on vinyl but I’m not paying a goofy amount to get it either.

  3. If it weren’t for “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” and “No No No,” this would be a perfect album for me! It was still Def Leppard with the big harmonies and big backing vocals, but they were more tougher and bada**. You don’t hear Joe Elliott screaming like that anymore. I saw videos of Ded Flatbird performing some of the ‘High ‘n’ Dry’ songs as the opening act for Def Leppard on their Hysteria Vegas tour and they were awesome! Great review, Pete!

    • Yes Elliot became a more smarter singer, that could maintain his voice after this. Then again he does hit some highs in Love Bites.

      Ded Flatbird. Never heard of em until I read your comments and I’m digging.

      • I mean to a sense I agree with you since Joe Elliott still has a voice, unlike some rock singers from the 70s/80s. He hit some high notes on “Rock Rock! (Till You Drop)” too, so he still hit high notes, but I think he had to limit himself to what he could do.

        Yeah and strangely enough, the members of Ded Flatbird kind of look like the members of Def Leppard.

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