Captain Ed's AOTM - September: Def Leppard - On Through the Night

Ed Seith

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Anyone who knows me knows that I've been a Def Leppard fan for DECADES, and I still jam on plenty of their classic tracks. I really don't care for their new stuff, and a lot of the radio single fluff (Pour Some Sugar on Me, for example) I really don't like much at all, but if you listen to most Def Leppard albums, even the recent ones, there are a handful of tunes that you'll never hear on the radio, and they'll never play live. They're not radio songs. No singles. No drippity dippity stupid lyrics. Deep tracks. Tracks that hint at the band they used to be. The band that just wrote what they liked and performed it full of piss and vinegar. The band that modern Def Leppard has all but disowned.

    Back in 1979/80, drummer Rick Allen still had both arms, bassist Rick Savage's face wasn't sagging on one side from a degenerative disease, singer Joe Elliot had a horrific perm on his dark brown hair, Steve Clark was alive, and wore his Les Paul below his fucking knees, while trying to keep pint-sized alcoholic firebrand Pete Willis sober enough to play a solid set. Phil Collen, long before he was cut up like aging beefcake, was off in lipstick and eye shadow playing for a glam band called Girl. Before they met Mutt Lange and refined their sound for American audiences.

    That's the band that made On Through the Night. The band that lived up to their genre - NWOBHM. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal. THAT band was spoken in the same sentences with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and others, and they weren't doing it ironically or with a wink.

    The production is pretty spartan, and it sounds like an album made for little money in 1979, but the brilliant songwriting and arranging was there. The performance was there. Def Leppard were FIRE in 1980. From the opening salvo of Rock Brigade, to the semi-balladry of Sorrow is a Woman, the first hints of epicness in When the Walls Came Tumbling Down - so much energy. So much FIRE. So much talent. Amazing lead guitar work from Willis and Clark.

    As we get into side 2, opening with more spitting venom with Wasted and Rocks Off, before wrapping with Answer to the Master and the truly epic closer Overture...

    Man, I just love this record.

    The first two "heavy" albums I ever had were Quiet Riot's Metal Health and Def Leppard's Pyromania in 1983. I quickly moved past QR, but Def Leppard had some older shit I wanted to mine. Lots of people say High N Dry is their best record - Mutt was in there helping, but he hadn't fully taken over yet. High N Dry is awesome, too, and I love it, but man, when I heard On Through the Night? THAT was my gateway into heavier, proggier stuff like Maiden and that opened a million doors that my ears couldn't get enough of.

    Give it a listen, and let me know what you think. Like all albums from that era, it's not long AT ALL by today's standards - probably 40 minutes, tops. It's a totally different Def Leppard than you're used to.

    BONUS TRACKS from other albums that rule: Die Hard the Hunter and Billy's got a Gun on Pyromania, Gods of War on Hysteria, White Lightning and Tear it Down on Adrenalize, From the Inside and Ring of Fire on Retro Active, and Paper Sun and Kings of Oblivion on Euphoria.
     

    Alicia Willis

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    😍 I’m so excited to see some Def Leppard ! One of moms favorite bands, though she never had this album ! I was beyond excited to give this a listen.

    The one thing I’ve always loved about Def Leppard is their catchy ass chorus’ ! This album was no exception. I shall be singing “Hello America” all week now haha.

    I love how each song on the album has a similar sound, you know what to expect next. Honestly it’s something I’ve always loved about older bands. You knew exactly what to expect just by listening to the first track. Not saying I dislike a diverse sound from bands, but sometimes it’s nice knowing exactly what you’re going to get.

    I can’t single out any particular tracks because I feel like they all equally deliver; each one seems to have incredible licks (that don’t overshadow the other instruments or go on for too long to the point you get bored), head bopping rhythms, and just good CONSISTENT energy through out.

    This may be my new “cleaning house” album 😁 🤘🏻
     
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    Ed Seith

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    😍 I’m so excited to see some Def Leppard ! One of moms favorite bands, though she never had this album ! I was beyond excited to give this a listen.

    The one thing I’ve always loved about Def Leppard is their catchy ass chorus’ ! This album was no exception. I shall be singing “Hello America” all week now haha.

    I love how each song on the album has a similar sound, you know what to expect next. Honestly it’s something I’ve always loved about older bands. You knew exactly what to expect just by listening to the first track. Not saying I dislike a diverse sound from bands, but sometimes it’s nice knowing exactly what you’re going to get.

    I can’t single out any particular tracks because I feel like they all equally deliver; each one seems to have incredible licks (that don’t overshadow the other instruments or go on for too long to the point you get bored), head bopping rhythms, and just good CONSISTENT energy through out.

    This may be my knew “cleaning house” album 😁 🤘🏻
    I LOVE THIS!!
     
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    Ed Seith

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    I got the Hysteria Album CD, it was my dads, I only have a few CD's, WTF and I'd have to check the other ones. I don't have a CD player and haven't heard it for awhile also don't remember any songs I just have it.
    Going to start listening today, thanks :D
    Hysteria and On Through the Night are so different, they may as well be by different bands. Seriously.

     
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    Edward John

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    I love this album, OTTN is in absolute rocker of an album. Its probably my favorite Leppard album after High N' Dry. I especially like the song Overture, its a very different kind of song from what Leppard usually does, its way more of a later Rush type song, very cool. This is definitely the most rocking Leppard album, this isn't a ballad album with the occasional rocker like their recent albums.
     
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    ari.mac

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    Don't mind @Anna.VG she's been living under a rock 😝 I def heard of them before, but knew only the famous songs and not that well 😂 I gave this album a listen and I must say I really enjoyed it, Overture and Sorrow Is a Woman are probably my favorite. Loved the guitar in all of the tracks! Thanks for the rec Ed!!!! 🤘🤘🎸
     

    Ed Seith

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    1987's Hysteria was their biggest album. It sold by the crateload, and they still use it as their template for trying to capture success again. But they won't. Hysteria was a decent album, but it was a product of its time, and it's severely dated. The whole album SCREAMS late 1980s. It was lightning in a bottle - Hysteria wasn't their biggest album because it was their best album - it was their biggest because it was a solid album at the EXACT right time.

    High 'N Dry and Pyromania are near-perfect and timeless British hard rock albums. If you want to explore the band a little more and hear their very best material, it's these two albums. On Through the Night is a personal favorite, but these two albums are Def Leppard at their very best.
     

    marc2000z

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    Apr 29, 2020
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    1987's Hysteria was their biggest album. It sold by the crateload, and they still use it as their template for trying to capture success again. But they won't. Hysteria was a decent album, but it was a product of its time, and it's severely dated. The whole album SCREAMS late 1980s. It was lightning in a bottle - Hysteria wasn't their biggest album because it was their best album - it was their biggest because it was a solid album at the EXACT right time.

    High 'N Dry and Pyromania are near-perfect and timeless British hard rock albums. If you want to explore the band a little more and hear their very best material, it's these two albums. On Through the Night is a personal favorite, but these two albums are Def Leppard at their very best.

    Retro Active is also a pretty good album, despite the fact that it's mainly b-sides, but I dig it. "Desert Song" is one of their most underrated songs and the ballad "Miss You in a Heartbeat", despite it being on the cheesy end of things, is a guilty pleasure. I love the guitar work in that song.
     
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    Ed Seith

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    Retro Active is also a pretty good album, despite the fact that it's mainly b-sides, but I dig it. "Desert Song" is one of their most underrated songs and the ballad "Miss You in a Heartbeat", despite it being on the cheesy end of things, is a guilty pleasure. I love the guitar work in that song.

    As far as ballads on RetroActive go, I'm partial to From the Inside, but I feel you.
     
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