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?
- The 5 Albums That Changed Viv Campbell’s Life [Classic Rock]
- SSPC (Super spectacular perfect cards) [Night Owl Cards]
- These Should Exist: The Robo Force Edition! [Branded in the 80s]
- An Amazing Ernie Banks Project [Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius]
- A ‘Saved by the Bell’ Themed-Bar and Restaurant Is Finally Opening [GQ]
- Are you kidding me?!?! Mejia BANNED 4 LIFE! [Mets Baseball Cards Like They Ought To Be!]
- Color Swatch Baseball: Pantone Chips of Every MLB Team [S. Preston Art + Designs]
We’ve all heard the story about Van Halen and the brown M&M’s. But have you ever heard David Lee Roth sing about it? Of course not. If you want to know what is in a rocker’s heart of hearts, you have to listen to what they sing. Here’s a rundown of ten of the deepest desires of rock legends…
- The Ramones, “I Just Want To Have Something To Do” — Doesn’t everybody? Especially kids when they’re not in school. I swear, three days into summer break, my kids start in with the “I’m bored” bit. Every year. (For the record, so did I.)
- Ratt, “I Want A Woman” — Any woman in particular, Stephen?
- KISS, “I Want You” — That’s a little more specific, I suppose, as long as “you” knows who she is.
- Cheap Trick, “I Want You To Want Me” — Not only want, though…need. Sounds a bit clingy if you ask me.
- JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, “Want More” — While Van Halen recognizes that “Everybody Wants Some,” this Chicago R&B group readily admits they “Want More.”
- Queen, “I Want It All” — Selfish much?
- Def Leppard, “All I Want Is Everything” — There is just no pleasing some people. Keep in mind that Mick Jagger and the boys said, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Sorry Joe.
- Weird Al Yankovic, “I Want a New Duck” — How is that for specific? Not a swan. Not an eagle. Not a goose. Weird Al just wants a new duck.
- Weezer, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” — Thanks for being proactive, Rivers.
- Twisted Sister, “I Wanna Rock” — This is the essence of every true rocker’s soul. And I’m happy to say, Dee Snider, that you do rock. You got what you wanted.
Since Def Leppard will be stopping in Cincinnati next week with KISS, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at the band’s recording history and create an “Ultimate Mixtape” for the British rockers. If you’re not familiar with the “Ultimate Mixtape,” here’s how it works:
- Every studio album must be represented by one and only one song. It doesn’t matter how good an album is, only one song each. Conversely, it doesn’t matter how bad an album is (Yeah!), just like the MLB All-Star game, it must be represented.
- That song does not have to be an official “single” released by the band to promote said album.
- Compilation albums can be included, but only songs that are new, previously unreleased, or remixes of songs from prior albums are eligible for the list.
- Live albums are a waste of time. That said, they can be used to sneak a song onto the “Ultimate Mixtape” that didn’t make it earlier.
Keep in mind that these are personal preferences; they are the songs that I like best from each album, not necessarly the “best” or most popular tracks. Got the rules? Let’s rock rock ’til we drop!
JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Def Leppard edition
- “Getcha Rocks Off” (The Def Leppard E.P., 1979)
- “Rock Brigade” (On Through the Night, 1980)
- “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” (High & Dry, 1981)
- “Too Late For Love” (Pyromania, 1983)
- “See the Lights” (First Strike, 1985)
- “Animal” (Hysteria, 1987)
- “Let’s Get Rocked” (Adrenalize, 1992)
- “Two Steps Behind (Acoustic Version)” (Retro Active, 1993)
- “Photograph” (Live: In The Clubs, In You Face, 1993)
- “When Love & Hate Collide” (Vault, 1995)
- “Slang” (Slang, 1996)
- “21st Century Sha La La La Girl” (Euphoria, 1999)
- “Now” (X, 2002)
- “Waterloo Sunset” (Best of Def Leppard, 2004)
- “Pour Some Sugar On Me (Historia Video Edit)” (Rock of Ages, 2005)
- “Rock On” (Yeah!, 2006)
- “C’mon C’mon” (Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, 2008)
- “Kings of the World” (Mirror Ball, 2011)
- “Gods of War” (Viva! Hysteria, 2013)
The bonus tracks are culled from B-sides, foreign bonus tracks, solo and side projects.
- “Good Morning Freedom” (“Hello America” B-side, 1980)
- Girl (with Phil Collen) “Take Me Dancing” (Sheer Greed, 1980)
- Gogmagog (with Pete Willis) “I Will Be There” (I Will Be There, 1985)
- “Release Me” (“Rocket” B-side, 1989)
- Roadhouse (with Willis and Frank Noon) “Tower of Love” (Roadhouse, 1991)
- “She’s Too Tough” (Adrenalize Japanese bonus track, 1992)
- Ronnie Wood (with Elliott) “Always Wanted More” (Slide on This, 1992)
- Mick Ronson (with Elliott) “Don’t Look Down” (Heaven & Hull, 1994)
- “Can’t Keep Away From the Flame” (Vault Japanese bonus track, 1995)
- “Move With Me Slowly” (“All I Want Is Everything” B-side, 1996)
- “Burnout” (“Goodbye” B-side, 1999)
- Cybernauts (with Elliott and Collen) “The Man Who Sold The World” (The Further Adventures of the Cybernauts, 2001)
- “10 X Bigger than Love” (“Long Long Way to Go” B-side, 2002)
- Vivian Campbell “Spoonful” (Two Sides of If, 2005)
- “American Girl” (Yeah! Wal Mart bonus track, 2006)
- Joe Elliott’s Down ‘n’ Outz “Overnight Angels” (My Regeneration, 2010)
- Manraze (with Collen) “Get Action” (PunkFunkRootsRock, 2011)
- Kings of Chaos (with Elliott) “Never Before” (Re-Machined: A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head, 2012)
Alright, sound off…what did I miss? I bet most of you disagree with my Hysteria pick, right? But do you agree with each other on which song to use instead?
Def Leppard will be playing at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati next Tuesday, July 15, with KISS. See the full Riverbend schedule and purchase tickets here.
Just posted today…a seven-song set Def Leppard recorded for YouTube.
The concert was performed last night at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, and features seven songs:
- “Rock of Ages”
- “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”
- “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
- “Let It Go”
The music is great, but Joe Elliott is not the same singer he was twenty years ago. It irks me that fans will bash David Lee Roth for his diminished ability, but give Elliott a pass. Roth sounds much better on the current tour than Elliott has in years. And that hair is awful, Joe. Either cut it or style it…it just looks terrible. The band was tight, and the guitar work by Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell was superb as always.
I was glad to see “Animal” in the setlist, since that is my favorite song from Hysteria. The performance of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was the best overall; everyone in the group looked like they were having fun during the song, and even Joe Elliott sounded good. All of the other songs, unfortunately, suffered from a poor vocal performance.
Def Leppard is headlining a tour this summer with Lita Ford and Poison providing support. Why exactly Def Leppard and Poison are touring together again is a mystery to me since they were just on a bill together a couple of years ago; a further mystery is why Def Leppard is again headlining over Bret Michaels and the boys. Maybe they haven’t put out anything new in years, but Poison is currently a much more entertaining band than Def Leppard.
If you are interested in seeing Lita Ford, Poison, and Def Leppard on tour this summer, click here for the tour itinerary.
I didn’t want to see Poison in concert this year. The setlist has been practically the same for the past decade (with a few covers from Poison’d sprinkled in here and there), and with no new material I don’t expect that to change in 2012. Combine that with the fact that they are touring with Def Leppard…again…and it’s an easy decision: I’m not going.
That changed today when the opening act was announced…
I’ve never seen Ms. Ford in concert. I was supposed to go to Iowa a couple of years ago for Rock Gone Wild, but that event was cancelled. Then she was going to play at a local club in Covington with Queensrÿche, and something happened. I don’t remember if the show was cancelled or if I had other plans that I couldn’t get out of, but I didn’t get to go then either.
The ’78 debut is almost like Are You Experienced? for two reasons: The first is that it now seems closer to a greatest hits collection; the second is that it’s retrospectively impossible to grasp how new and explosive the guitar sounds must have seemed when heard for the first time.
I agree with that assessment, and would like to further explore that first thought as it applies to other records. Let’s start by looking at Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced?, and then look at a few other records that might fall in the same category.
- Van Halen, Van Halen, 1978
The greatest of the greatest: “Eruption”/”You Really Got Me,” “Runnin’ With The Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” “Ice Cream Man” – a concert-goer might feel cheated if any of those classics were left out of a live performance.
The worst, which aren’t bad at all: “Little Dreamer” and “On Fire” – of the eleven songs on this disc, only these two are excluded from the band’s “Guitar Hero” game.
- Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced?, 1967
The greatest of the greatest (from the US edition): “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” “Foxey Lady,” “Fire” – I hate to stop there, but those are probably the cream of the crop. It is interesting to note, however, that neither “Purple Haze” nor “Hey Joe” was not on the British version of the record.
The worst, which aren’t bad at all: “Love or Confusion” and “Third Stone from the Sun” – unless you are a diehard music fan, you might have to look these up on YouTube to remind you what they sound like.
- AC/DC, Back In Black, 1980
The greatest of the greatest: “Hells Bells,” “Back In Black,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” – the band’s first album with singer Brian Johnson, even Bon Scott apologists can’t argue that as an album, this one can’t be beat.
The worst, which aren’t bad at all: “Given the Dog a Bone” and “Shake a Leg” – if these songs weren’t on this album, fans would probably have a higher opinion of them because they are better than most post-1980 songs recorded by the Aussie rockers.
- Led Zeppelin, II, 1969
The greatest of the greatest: “Whole Lotta Love,” “Heartbreaker,” “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman),” “Bring It On Home” – It was difficult to choose between II and IV, but ultimately II is just better on the whole.
The worst, which aren’t bad at all: Hmmm…I guess “Thank You.” I almost said “Moby Dick,” but then I remembered how awesome it is.
- Michael Jackson, Thriller, 1982
The greatest of the greatest: “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Thriller” – seven singles were released from this album beginning in October 1982, culminating with one of the most epic videos of all time with “Thriller” in January 1984. Throw in Eddie Van Halen and a Beatle for good measure, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
The worst, which aren’t bad at all: “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life” – the only two songs not released as singles, but probably could have been on his prior album.
- Def Leppard, Hysteria, 1987
The greatest of the greatest: “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Armageddon It,” “Women,” “Animal” – this album features Mutt Lange’s slick production skills, and still holds up today as a great listen from beginning to end. Seven singles were released from this 12-track record, which was at the time and is still today unheard of for hard rock releases.
The worst, which aren’t bad at all: “Run Riot” and “Excitable” – just think of how epic Hysteriacould have been without these filler tracks.
- Mötley Crüe, Dr. Feelgood, 1989
The greatest of the greatest: “Dr. Feelgood,” “Kickstart My Heart,” “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away),” “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)” – it’s hip to hate the Crüe’s best-selling album (6x Platinum in the US), but it truly is their best release.
The worst, which aren’t bad at all: “She Goes Down” – I started to type “Time For Change” in this section, decided to go listen to it again, and found that it is much better than I remembered. Several of the non-singles on the album feature some famous singers in the background, from Jack Blades to Steven Tyler to Sebastian Bach to Bryan Adams.
- Beastie Boys, Licensed To Ill, 1986
The greatest of the greatest: “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party),” “Girls,” “Brass Monkey,” “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” – I really apologize for getting those songs stuck in your head, but the Beasties have some of the most ear-wormy songs in the world.
The worst, which aren’t bad at all: “Posse In Effect” – Another album that made it really difficult to pick a “worst” song.
These are all just off the top of my head, and I’m sure there are many others that could be mentioned. What other regular studio albums come so close to “greatest hits” status?