Congratulations to the great Def Leppard on the well-deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight. A fantastic career, especially the first several albums. Their excellence should have been recognized long ago.
When I started building “JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Def Leppard Covered,” I was initially disappointed by the lack of eclectic selections available. The deeper I got, though, some real gems popped up. Load these into your player and realize the brilliance of the newest Rock Hall of Famers. Some are straight-forward rockers, while others are countrified renditions, and there’s even an a cappella styling thrown into the mix.
JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Def Leppard Covered
- “Rock Brigade” by Bang Tango from The Ultimate Bang Tango: Rockers and Thieves
- “Wasted” by Seven Witches from Passage to the Other Side
- “Let It Rock” by Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys) from Rock Anthems of the ’80s
- “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night) by The Gravel Pit from No One Here Gets in for Free: Rare & Unreleased. I’m not going to pull any punches here. This sounds slightly better than something my college band would have done in our dorm on our little tape deck.
- “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” by Mariah Carey from Charmbracelet. It was either this or a Jethro Tull-ish Jed Davis version.
- “Photograph” by Malibu Storm from Malibu Storm
- “Stagefright” by Matt Nathanson from Pyromattia
- “Too Late for Love” by Crease from Only Human
- “Rock of Ages” by Kelly Hansen (Foreigner) from Rock Of Ages: Hard Rock Hits Of The ’80s
- “Action Not Words” by Charlie Bonnet III from JukeBox Bluesman
- “Billy’s Got A Gun” by House of Heavy from House of Heavy
- “Love Bites” by Lucky Uke from Lucky Uke
- “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Emm Gryner from Girl Versions. If you didn’t click play on the YouTube video at the top of this list, do it. Now. There are a lot of straight-forward covers of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” out there. There are also a lot of off-beat covers. Emm Gryner’s is hands-down the most hauntingly beautiful version of this song ever. Her voice is powerfully soulful. Before I heard her take, I also considered Bristol Love‘s saccharine version and Ely Jaffe‘s toned-down acoustic rendition.
- “Hysteria” by Daniel Flores from British Metal Invasion: The Greatest Hits Vol. 2
- “Two Steps Behind” by No Strings Attached from Even Closer. A cappella hair metal, folks. Except not metal at all. I wonder how much Aqua Net they go through in a week.
- “When Love and Hate Collide” by Patrick Dilley from Southern Sessions Live
- “Long Long Way To Go” by Lionel Richie from Just For You. The Def Leppard version, released in 2003, was their last song to appear on the UK Top 40 charts. Lionel Richie took his rendition to 20th on the US AC charts in 2004.
Of course, there are a ton of Def Leppard tribute albums available. I am not familiar with any of these personally, but I present them here in a handy-dandy list if you want to give them a spin:
- Love Me Like A Bomb: A Millennium Tribute To Def Leppard
- A Tribute To Def Leppard
- Leppardmania: A Tribute To Def Leppard
- Pickin On Def Leppard: A Bluegrass Tribute
- Def Leppard Mania – A Tribute to Def Leppard
- An Acoustic Tribute To Def Leppard
- Tributized: Tribute To Def Leppard
- Gatophobia: Tribute to Def Leppard
Can’t get enough of the cover songs? The Writer’s Journey has you covered (pun fully intended). Click on these links to check out some strangely familiar songs…
What band should we tackle next?
This has been a pretty good year for music fans, whether you’re into rock, pop, or country. Below are ten of my personal favorites (in alphabetical order) that have hit the store shelves in the past twelve months…
Best albums, best song on the album
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls, “Hold On”
Flo Rida – Wild Ones, “Good Feeling”
Jim Avett – Second Chance, “Pictures in the Attic”
KISS – Monster, “Back to the Stone Age”
Lynch Mob – Sound Mountan Sessions, “Slow Drag”
Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back, “Ain’t It Enough”
Shooter Jennings – Family Man, “The Deed & The Dollar”
The Steel Wheels – Lay Down, Lay Low, “Rain in the Valley”
Two Gallants – The Bloom and the Blight, “My Love Won’t Wait”
Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth, “Blood and Fire”
I didn’t have time to check out the full releases of every artist from this past year, and there were other records that didn’t measure up to that “hit play and forget the skip button” status. Here are a few songs from those categories. Download the MP3s for these tracks…
Best songs on other albums
Allen Stone – “Sleep”
Alberta Cross – “Money for the Weekend (Pocket Full of Shame)”
Bang Tango – “Our Way”
Hank Williams Jr. – “We Don’t Apologize For America”
Psy – “Gangnam Style”
I also caught up on a few 2011 releases during the past year. Here are five titles I missed when they were first released; check them out, if you are so inclined…
2011 albums, songs
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound – Want More, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”
Primus – Green Naugahyde, “Lee Van Cleef”
Umphrey’s McGee – Death By Stereo, “Booth Love”
Various Artists – This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, “All He Wants is You” by Shawn Colvin
Wood Brothers – Smoke Ring Halo, “When I Was Young”
Finally, Awolnation‘s “Kill Your Heroes” has been in heavy rotation on a new Cincinnati radio station for a while, and it’s a very catchy tune…
Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt
78 Productions, 2011
Joe Lesté has gathered together a new group of musicians under the moniker Bang Tango and delivers what might be the best album under that name to date. Scott LaFlamme (guitars) and Trent Anderson (drums) make their first appearance on a Bang Tango release, while Lance Eric previously played bass on 2006’s From The Hip.
The music on Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt is every bit as sleazy as Bang Tango’s first two albums, but with more than twenty years experience Lesté displays more maturity on vocals than ever before. The band has not abandoned the traditional themes of rock’n’roll, singing about adult entertainers and prom queens and the rebellious nature of doing everything “Our Way.” Neither has the band given up on the swagger of the late 1980s, still bringing it and laying it all out on the table.
No hard rock record would be complete without a ballad, and “Have You Seen Her?” fulfills that requirement on Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt. It is, in fact, one of the best songs on the album, along with “Our Way,” “Boom Box Seance,” and the title track. While there is nothing groundbreaking on the album, it is solid throughout and every song on the album has more strengths than weaknesses. The spoken word intro to “Live Life” could have been omitted with no harm to the final product, but the rest of the CD flows smoothly.
Watch the video for “I Like It” below:
1. D*** in the System
2. Suck It Up
3. Our Way
4. Bring On the World
5. Have You Seen Her?
6. Live Life
7. I Like It
8. Boom Box Seance
10. Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt
Everyone knows that Van Halen is back, debuting at #2 on the Billboard charts last week with A Different Kind of Truth. Here are a few other hard rockers from back in the day that are still out there recording and touring…
- Tracii Guns of L.A. Guns fame has a new project called League of Gentlemen. There is a short sample of the song “Feathers in a Hurricane” posted on Tracii’s Tumblr. So short there’s really no way to form an opinion one way or the other.
- Bang Tango is back, and their new album, Pistol Whipped in the Bible Belt (review coming eventually), sounds nothing like the pop metal they were putting out in the 1980s. It’s heavy, dark, and all sorts of good. As great as “Someone Like You” was, I’m glad they went another direction this time.
- Donnie Vie, a vastly underrated songwriter from the vastly underrated band Enuff Z’nuff, has a new album called Wrapped Around Your Middle Finger (cover image to the right). I haven’t heard it yet, but my expectations are pretty high.
Are there any releases (hard rock or otherwise) that you are looking forward to this year?