REVIEW: Def Leppard – “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” (1981 single)

Part 3 of a 4-part series on early Def Leppard singles!

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DEF LEPPARD – “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” (1981 Phonogram/Vertigo single)

High ‘n’ Dry is my favourite Def Leppard album, and I can’t wait to review it (particularly the vinyl version).  “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” was probably the biggest single from the album…I mean, freakin’ Mariah Carey even covered it!  This is a cover version I have never heard and am not even curious to hear, but good on Def Lep for the success anyway.

The original 1981 version is the best known version of the song, although the 1984 remix (keyboards added) was the most pervasive in the late 80’s.  The 1984 remix was done to capitalize on the success of Pyromania, and it was re-released as a single, and as a bonus track on the High ‘n’ Dry album itself.  Also remixed and re-released was the B-side to “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” called “Me And My Wine”.  They even made new videos for both remixes!

For many years, I had never heard the original “Me And My Wine”, as only the 1984 remix was made available on the new High ‘n’ Dry.  I finally hunted down a copy of an original “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” single with picture sleeve, completing this phase of my Def Leppard collection!

“Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” of course is Def Leppard’s first ballad, and one they still play in concert, a rarity for these early years.  It’s always been a favourite of mine.  Back then, you had to have a power ballad, but it had to remain tough.  For example, “Still Loving You” by Scorpions was very soft, you could try to use it to woo a ladyfriend, but it had that awesome guitar solo.  As if to say, “I’m sensitive, but tough.”  This single is Def Leppard’s crack at the format.  I think it’s very successful, the song has proven to have longevity.  It has all the right elements:  a killer chorus, dark and plaintive verses, a dramatic lead solo break, and the word “heartbreak” in the title!

“Me And My Wine” was the main reason I have been hunting this single.  It’s one of Def Leppard’s fastest tunes, while they were still a metal band, and a bit of a cult favourite.  The 1984 remix version is great, and many Def Leppard fans agree that it’s also the best music video they ever made.  Hearing the original 1981 version for the first time, the differences are subtle.

The intro on the remix version is longer, with a count-in, the original mix does not have this.  The drums on the original are a lot more raw.  The remix sounds like the drum tracks are completely replaced by new electronic drums.  The original features more prominent bass guitar as well.  I have to say that after only a couple listens, I already believe the original version is superior to the remix.  It’s groovier with the amplified bass, and I think the remixed drums really take the edge off.  The original version just has more balls!

5/5 stars

11 comments

    1. Lovely isn’t it? I’m really happy with this one. In a way I’m sad, because (after Monday’s blog) I have no new Leppard purchases to talk about! I know they still have a few things I need, but the cost can get pretty high for stuff that isn’t the “golden years”. I need some Europia and X era singles.

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  1. For sure Mike,Me and My Wine is a great rock track one of those Lep rock songs that falls through the cracks but still holds well even to this day!
    High N Dry is a all round great rock record,it was the first Leppard album I bought back in 81,than the following week it was off to purchase the debut album so I guess u could say I became a instant fan!
    HND is just a great solid no frills hard rock record from start to finish even by inserting Bringing on the Heartbreak doesn’t slow down any momentum whatsoever. How many albums at the time can you say that about?
    I remember at the time my friends older sisters boyfriend was going to college in Boston and when returned home he was wearing a HND tour tee,I asked him about it and he said they played near his college opening for Blackfoot and by accounts stole the show….
    I was jealous,man I wanted that tee….
    As always great review…..!

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    1. Does not slow down the momentum at all, you’re right! Thanks for adding that! And they even faded it into a high-octane instrumental. Mind blowing.

      This is a reminder of the kind of band Def Leppard can be. But it is also a reminder of a time that had two totally different guitar players…a key part of any band’s identity.

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  2. For sure Mike about the guitar players,I mean when you listen to the Pyromania live disc that was included with the reissue you can hear Collen shredding on some of the solos like there was no tomorrow ,I’m not sure Willis was that kind of guitar player…..maybe some day if they were to reissue HND they could toss us sumthin recorded live just to hear that era and that lineup…

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  3. Bringing On The Hearbreak is one of my favourite Def Leppard songs too. It was the guitar solo that made it for me. I haven’t heard Me and My Wine for donkey’s years, but I did really love the video for it.

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    1. I believe the next and final DL single might be today! But I’ve already picked up a (hopefully) rare long sought Kiss song…should have it within two weeks. Watch this space!

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