[Artist Spotlight] Def Leppard At Jack’s Sixth Show (page 735743)
With more than 65 million albums sold worldwide and two prestigious Diamond Awards to their credit, Def Leppard–Joe Elliott (vocals), Phil Collen (guitar), Rick “Sav” Savage (bass), Vivian Campbell (guitar) and Rick Allen (drums)— continue to be one of the most important forces in rock music. Over the course of their career, the band has produced a series of classic groundbreaking albums that set the bar for generations of music fans and artists alike. The group’s spectacular live shows, filled with powerful melodic rock anthems, continue to sell out venues worldwide. Their epic live show and arsenal of hits have become synonymous with their name, leading Def Leppard to be heralded as an institution in both the music and touring industry. It makes perfect sense that the band would finally release a live album, MIRRORBALL, featuring all of the triumphant hits that continue to make Def Leppard one of the most admired rock bands in the world.
It has been thirty-one years since the release of Def Leppard’s debut, ON THROUGH THE NIGHT, the album that first caught every one’s attention, including super Producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange. Convinced that this band had “a gift,” he agreed to come on board for their second album, the influential HIGH N’ DRY, beginning a creative relationship that would completely change the sonic architecture of rock production. The single “Bringing On The Heartbreak” became their first hit, and a precursor for the kind of steely craftsmanship that would later mark the epic releases PYROMANIA, released in 1983, (named one of the “500 Greatest Albums” by Rolling Stone magazine) and HYSTERIA (1987), both produced by Lange. Due to the electrifying advent of “Photograph”, the former sold 100,000 copies a week for a better part of a year, the latter spawned 7 hit singles including their mega-smash hits “Pour Some Sugar On Me” & “Love Bites”. By the end of the 80’s, Def Leppard had sold more records in America than any other rock band which secured their legacy as one of the most in-demand touring bands in rock n’ roll history.
In 1984, Rick Allen lost his left arm in a tragic car accident. His continued perseverance and dedication to remain in Def Leppard has influenced millions of people making him a drumming icon. In 1991, another tragedy struck when the band lost influential guitarist Steve Clark. Again, the band marched on by enlisting Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake) to join them in the promotion of 1992’s multi-platinum release ADRENALIZE. RETRO ACTIVE, a b-side collection, came next in 1993, with Campbell making his studio debut with the band on 1996’s SLANG, a darker edged rock album. In-between, Def Leppard released one of the most popular Greatest Hits collections of all time VAULT, met with praise by both longtime fans and critics alike. This remarkable collection has remained in the Top 100 of The Billboard Top 200/Top Catalogue Albums chart since its release more than a decade ago. Their platinum certified second Greatest Hits Collection, ROCK OF AGES, was released in 2005 to equal acclaim. Their most recent releases are as diverse as they were unique; 2002’s X, a pop experimentation from the usual hard rockers, 2006’s YEAH, a covers album that spawned the hit “Rock On” and 2008’s SONGS FROM THE SPARKLE LOUNGE, which debuted at #5 on The Billboard 200, with first single “Nine Lives,” featuring country superstar Tim McGraw, staying at #1 on the Classic Rock chart for three weeks. Among their accolades: the distinction of playing on three continents in one day (Tangiers, Morocco, London, England and Vancouver, Canada), receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, having VH1 make a movie about their rise to fame, co-headlining a CMT Special with their #1 fan, Taylor Swift and being among an elite few (along with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Eagles) to have received two Diamond awards for sales in excess of a staggering ten million units.
Along the way, the band never stopped taking their amazing stable of hits on the road to play for the new and the faithful – The UK’s Kerrang! magazine chose Def Leppard’s show as one of their 100 Greatest Gigs of All Time. The dedication of their fan base runs deep, and the band has never lost sight of what their concerts mean to their always-enthusiastic and energetic audience. It’s almost shocking that the band has never released a live album before now. “It’s hard to believe after all the live shows we’ve played that we’ve never released a live album before, so we all thought it was time to put that right. We have always recorded a lot of the shows on tour so we had plenty of material to choose from. I think what we have is a great combination of classic songs along with some newer material which helps keep it fresh for both the band & our audience,” says Joe Elliott.
MIRRORBALL, which will be released early this summer, bottles the firepower of Def Leppard live and hand delivers it on this astounding 21 track set. With creative juices at full flow, the band have added three new studio tracks for their legions of fans. “Undefeated,” “It’s All About Believin'” and “Kings of the World,” are undeniably Leppard showcasing their signature sound. Joe Elliott says, “I’m really happy that we’ve been able to include three brand new songs on the album, all VERY different from each other & a teaser of what our next studio album will be like. We could have waited until next year, but to be quite honest, we’re so excited with the new songs we want people to hear them now!” Rick Savage adds, “The 3 new songs on this release are what Def Leppard is and has always has been about. These songs are not just thrown in to have something not heard before. Personally, I think it’s THE best work we have put together in years. From the “Sugar” quality of “Undefeated” to the Hysteria/Animal melodic rock of “It’s all about Believing,” to the ambitious and over the top epic,”Kings of the world.”The message is in the titles. If ever you needed reminding, the heartbeat of Leppard is as strong as ever.” Also included will be a bonus DVD that contains energetic live performances and intimate backstage footage of the band captured on the road.
Bringing live versions of classic Leppard hits such as “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Rock of Ages,” “Foolin,” “Hysteria,” “Photograph” and an incredible rendition of “Bringing on the Heartache,” Def Leppard continue to connect their massive arena rock sound with the full strength of the emotional spirit of their music.
From their humble beginnings in Sheffield, to becoming a world conquering musical force responsible for two of the best selling albums of all time, Def Leppard truly are Great Britain’s premiere arena rock band. One listen to MIRRORBALL and it will be clear why they remain one of the most highly touted live rock bands of all time.