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Fun Cards: 1983 Topps Phil Collen & 1993 Topps Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard)

Phil Collen

Guitarist Pete Willis was fired by Def Leppard during the recording of Pyromania. He was replaced by Phil Collen, whose band Girl with Phil Lewis (who later joined L.A. Guns) never quite caught on in the United States.

Vivian Campbell

Following Steve Clark’s death in 1991, the band forged on with only Collen playing guitar on 1992’s Adrenalize. Vivian Campbell, formerly of Dio, was soon hired to fill the missing guitar seat. His recording debut with Def Leppard came on 1993’s RetroActive.

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Fun Cards: 1980 Topps Def Leppard (Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, Rick Allen, Rick Savage, Pete Willis)

Joe Elliott

Def Leppard‘s first full-length album, On Through The Night, was released in 1980, and featured one of my favorite Lep songs, “Rock Brigade.” The album reached No. 15 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 51 on the Billboard 200.

Pete Willis

Def Leppard was one of the first bands to break through the resistance against “hair metal” on classic rock radio stations. “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and “Foolin'” were just too good to ignore, despite the amount of Aqua Net used by the band.

Rick Allen

Def Leppard still tours frequently and will be hitting the road with arena rock legends Journey next week.

Rick Savage

Their catalog is deep, but I’m not much of a fan of their work past 1987’s Hysteria, the last album recorded with the late Steve Clark.

Steve Clark

Random Awesomeness (part 207)

Random Awesomeness

Purchase Hollywood Vampires – Hollywood Vampires (Deluxe with bonus tracks).

What do rockers really want?

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…

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Def Leppard edition

Def Leppard

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

The bonus tracks are culled from B-sides, foreign bonus tracks, solo and side projects.

Bonus Tracks

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.

YouTube Presents: Def Leppard

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”
  • “Foolin'”
  • “Animal”
  • “Hysteria”
  • “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.

Purchase Def Leppard – Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection.

Top 50 Hair Metal Songs: #3 – Def Leppard “Pour Some Sugar On Me”

Joe Elliott and comapny struck gold with the 1987 Hysteria record, scoring six Top 40 Billboard hits and six songs that reached top ten status on the Mainstream Rock charts. The song that defines the band to this day is “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” but if you stop listening to Def Leppard after that you are doing yourself a disservice. It may be their best, but it’s not their only great song.

Other songs considered: “Photograph,” “Rock Of Ages,” “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak,” “Armageddon It”

Purchase Def Leppard music.

Only two spots remain in the countdown…what will they be???

They keep dragging me back in

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

Lita Ford.

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.

I had the extreme pleasure of speaking with Lita on the telephone during my tenure as host of Hard Rock Nights, and I hope to add her to the list of musicians I have seen in concert his summer.

Greatest non- “greatest hits” albums

In Chuck Klosterman’s review of Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth, he made the following comment in a footnote:

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?

Top Ten Albums of 2008

I present to you the ten best hard rock albums of 2008.

10. Jørn Lande – Lonely Are The Brave – Don’t tell me, you’ve never heard of him. He has one of the best voices in music and a long list of albums released. Give him a chance and you will likely become a fan.

9. Motörhead – Motörizer – It sounds like Motörhead of old…and that’s a good thing.

8. Yngwie Malmsteen – Perpetual Flame – With Ripper Owens on vocals, Yngwie delivers his best album in years. The song “Red Devil” may be the best he has ever written.

7. Tesla – Forever More – These guys don’t get enough love from rock fans. Vastly underrated band, and this album is a strong effort from beginning to end.

6. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy – It was worth the wait. Now that the luster has worn off a bit, it slipped from the #3 spot on my list, but it’s still high quality.

5. AC/DC – Black Ice – It sounds like AC/DC of old…and that’s a good thing.

4. Lynam – Tragic City SymphonyThese boys from Birmingham have a strong record with some Def Leppard-like hooks and sing-along choruses.

3. M.O.B – The Greatest Enemy – How in the world are these guys unsigned? Take note Mr. Record Company Executive, this is awesome rock.

2. Mötley Crüe – Saints Of Los Angeles – A strong comeback for the kings of the Hollywood strip.

1. Alice Cooper – Along Came A SpiderThis album is already on my top ten list for the decade, and it is very close to the top.

A couple of “honorable mentions” go out to Extreme and Uriah Heep, who released very strong albums in 2008. On Extreme’s Saudades de Rock, Gary Cherone shows his spectacular vocal range and Nuno Bettencourt is on top of his game with the guitar. Meanwhile, Uriah Heep produced a great progressive hard rock album, Wake The Sleeper, that would have probably made my top ten list any other year.

Several other hard rockers released material in 2008 with varying results. Metallica returned to its thrash roots on Death Magnetic, but the fire is not as hot as it once was. Sammy Hagar had a few rockers on Cosmic Universal Fashion, but there was also a lot of Jimmy Buffett-inspired music. The supergroup Saints Of The Underground featuring Jani Lane, Bobby Blotzer, Robbie Crane, and Keri Kelli was good, but not quite super.

The dishonor of the worst album of 2008 goes to Def Leppard, who released Songs From The Sparkle Lounge in April. The hype-machine was in overdrive for this record, but the result was one of the worst albums ever made…regardless of genre. Yes, that’s right. The once mighty boys from Britain have made an album that is worse than anything (insert name of most hated “artist”) ever released.

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