Part Forty-One of the Def Leppard Review Series
DEF LEPPARD – iTunes re-recordings (2012-2013)
It began in 2010. After a long absence from the digital platform, Rick Savage of Def Leppard announced that their music would soon be available to buy on iTunes. Due to a long dispute over dollars and cents with the record label, Leppard’s albums were not yet available on the platform. Then, due to “some twat at the label” (according to Joe!), somebody reneged and the deal never came to be. As a short-term solution, Def Leppard decided to record new versions of old hits exclusively for iTunes.
The first of these new versions, affectionately called “forgeries” by Joe, came in 2012. It was a double-A sided single (to use ancient terminology) for “Pour Some Sugar On Me (2012)” and “Rock of Ages (2012)”.
Beginning with “Sugar”, the opening guitar figure is virtually indistinguishable from the 1987 original. Only the “Hey!” vocals really hint this is not your old “Sugar”. Joe Elliott sounds a teeny bit rougher around the edges, but just a smidge. This is the same version used on the Family Guy / Simpsons crossover episode, for Peter and Homer’s “sexy car wash”. Only serious fans will know immediately this is a forgery. Everyone else should be happy thinking they’re listening to the same recording they had on their Walkmans in highschool.
From the “Gunta Gleeben Glooten Globen”, it’s clear “Rock of Ages” is also pretty close. Being more reliant on the vocals, it becomes more evident early on this is a re-recording, but it is an admirable job. The backing music and even the mix is eerily similar. It’s just impossible for anyone to scream as if it’s 1983.
The next re-recording released in 2012 was a single track, but a medley of acoustic hits. This is less a forgery and more a re-imagining and re-framing of some big and lesser known songs. The abbreviated tracks performed in order are:
- 0:00 to 1:01: “Where Does Love Go When It Dies”
- 1:02 to 2:06: “Now”
- 2:07 to 3:22: “When Love and Hate Collide”
- 3:23 to 4:36: “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”
- 4:37 to 7:32: “Two Steps Behind”
Joe’s in fantastic form on this medley and even though it’s an acoustic performance, there’s care and production value, not just acoustic guitars. They obviously spent time arranging this medley, because it flows incredibly well from song to song, focusing on the best parts. It also includes the complete “Two Steps Behind” as the closer.
The final iTunes re-recording came early in 2013. One more ballad, but not acoustic: this was “Hysteria”, which coincided with their Viva! Hysteria shows in Las Vegas. This one might be the closest of all the forgeries. Joe worked hard to get his voice in vintage shape again for those shows, and “Hysteria” shows it. Easily the most satisfying of all the tracks. The backing vocals are so bang-on, you’d think Mutt Lange himself stepped into the room to record them all, a note at a time.
Today, only the 2012 acoustic medley is still available to buy on iTunes. The other three tracks have disappeared. One of those cases of “you snooze you lose” in the digital world!
- The Early Years Disc One – On Through the Night
- The Early Years Disc Two – High N’ Dry
- The Early Years Disc Three – When The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Live at the New Theater Oxford – 1980
- The Early Years Disc Four – Too Many Jitterbugs – EP, singles & unreleased
- The Early Years Disc 5 – Raw – Early BBC Recordings
- The Early Years 79-81 (Summary)
- Pyromania Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
- Soundtrack From the Video Historia – Record Store Tales
- In The Round In Your Face DVD
- “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize – Record Store Tales
- Live at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
- Vault: Def Leppard’s Greatest Hits / Limited Edition Live CD
- Video Archive
- “Slang” CD single
- I Got A Bad Feeling About This: Euphoria – Record Store Tales
- Rarities 2
- Rarities 3
- Rarities 4
- Cybernauts – Live
- Cybernauts – The Further Adventures of the Cybernauts (bonus disc)
- Best Of (UK)
- Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection
- Yeah! Bonus CD With Backstage Interviews
- Yeah…Nah! (Record Store Tales)
- Songs From the Sparkle Lounge
- “C’Mon C’Mon” (picture disc)
- Taylor Swift & Def Leppard – CMT Crossroads (DVD)
- Yeah! II
- Yeah! Live
- Mirror Ball: Live & More (Japan bonus track)
42. Viva! Hysteria