Review Summary: This 14 minute E.P includes plenty of variety, but doesn't have the production values to bring out the true quality. With all 3 tracks being re-recorded for later LPs, this is nothing more than a very valuable collector’s piece.
Mr.Elliott is the man responsible. Not Joe, but his father. You see, if it was not for Mr. Elliott lending his son approximately 150 pounds, then Def Leppard may never have existed. Considering that the English quintet has been churning out music for 30 years (not to mention having two albums sell 10 million plus copies), that is quite the return on investment! What began as five teenagers playing rock music in local Sheffield pubs turned into a worldwide phenomenon. Oh and don't forget Mrs. Elliott, as she apparently helped Joe piece together the sleeve of what would become the band's debut recording, 'The Def Leppard E.P.'
The band, who had been performing for a little over a year, decided that it was all or nothing in mid 1978. If their dreams of becoming rock megastars was nothing but a fantasy, then they were at least going to have something on vinyl to show their grandchildren. So with the help of Mr. Elliott's 150 odd pounds, they set to work on recording and releasing a 3 track E.P. Officially released in January 1979, Elliott & Co. did everything possible to get the recording into as many hands as possible. His labour eventually paid off when BBC radio began playing it and sales (of especially middle track 'Getcha Rocks Off') followed.
Opening up with 'Ride Into The Sun', listeners are immediately drawn into a sound that is catchy, yet far from poppy. A distinctive and impressive bass-line propels the cut, which sees Elliott singing about riding off with his girl and leaving the troubles of the world behind. Absolutely flying by over its sub 3 minute duration, a faint semblance of heaviness is added by a half-decent guitar solo, which is more of a sign of things to come than anything else.
Conversely, 'Getcha Rocks Off' contains vocals that seem secondary and almost irrelevant to the piece as impressive guitar work is provided by Pete Willis and Steve Clark right from its very beginning. The practically dueling guitars hold all the way through to its final note, with a large proportion of the track being taken up by an instrumental breakdown that probably goes on for a little too long before reaching its impressive solo.
Elliott's original spelling for the band name was initially "Deaf Leopard". However, the band members eventually agreed to change it to "Def Leppard" and it is not too difficult to see why when considering the interesting scope and intricate sound of E.P closer 'The Overture'. With more than a nod towards the legendary Led Zeppelin, the piece begins with acoustic guitar and echo'ey vocals which almost foreshadows some of the bands future recordings. However, at approximately the 2 minute mark, the cut makes the first of several transformations as it turns into a more up-tempo electric piece. Constantly switching pace throughout its 7 minute plus duration, another attention-seeking guitar solo is included before the final minute returns to the acoustic sounds and echo'ey vocals of its beginning.
Considering this E.P was originally recorded cheaply and released almost 30 years ago, it should come as no surprise that the production values are rather threadbare. It is indeed a shame as all 3 songs contained on it include something interesting sonically. In a sense, variety is actually the E.Ps main strength with none of the tracks sounding too similar to any other and any determination of a highlight track depending upon the taste of individual listeners. However, with all 3 songs being re-recorded and included on later albums, then this debut which runs short of 14 minutes in length, is nothing more than one very valuable collectors piece.
Due to the circumstances, my rating of 2 may be a little harsh. Really, anything from 1.5 to 3.5 could be considered apt for this... But I just don't see myself going back and listening to this EP, especially since all songs were re-recorded for later releases.
I could see how this would be a huge find for a big Def Leppard fan, but not for even the average listener, like me. I like their older stuff, but I couldn't see this being worth the time. Nice review, I like the background and story behind the album.This Message Edited On 12.19.08
DaveyBoy - I'm not so sure I like it when you do track by track reviews, but I can't fault the detail really, and you couldn't really help it for an ep like this. pos'd
I've never really been bothered to listen to Def Leppard, I might give 'em a try now. All my friends seem to rave about them, which basically explains why I haven't checked them out :P
Thanks for the pos Spamue1. As the guy who has the user-name of one of the worst songs EVER said, a 3 track EP really has no option but to be a track by track. However, I do understand what you are saying man, as my reviews can tend to fall into being a little track by track'ish sometimes. It's usually for a reason mind you, although I should still steer away from it more than I actually do.
Alligator, I'm glad you liked that line in my review. From all of the interviews and stories that I had a read of concerning Def Leppard's formative years, that was really the feeling I got; It was all or nothing and they at least wanted something to show for it.
That is an interesting duo of albums to have from the band. I am unsure if you are aware, but they were made 21 years apart! If you like heavier music, check out the albums before 'Hysteria'... Especially 'Pyromania'.
I have that problem too sometimes with falling into track by tracks, especially when reviewing albums that I've only got recently. I always try and describe the first impression, though I don't always actually manage to, which causes a problem if I try to avoid a tbt style. I don't blame you for the formatting of the review, like I said, I just don't like it, even though it's good and detailed etc.
I had a listen to that song about heartbreak off of High 'n' Dry, it was pretty good., but I don't feel a need to listen to a whole album of that kind of thing.
the guy who has the user-name of one of the worst songs EVER
I KEEP DOUBTING MYSELF I KEEP DOUBTING MYSELF I'M NOT THE DESPERATE TYPE
Song is so good. Seriously, FOB is wayyyyyyy better than these wankers- just because they're old, doesn't make them classic rock. What sucked then sucks now.
I could drum better with one arm tied behind my back...hey, wait a minute...
The thing is Spamue1, while I hate reading genuine track by track reviews, I don't mind pseudo track by tracks as much. Why? Because that is actually the way most people will listen to an album; In order. So surely that is relevant to some extent.
The song you refer to is 'Bringin On The Heartbreak', which is their most well-known track off of their first 2 LPs. However, that song in no way reflects the album ('High n Dry')... It was more of a prelude to the type of ballads they would sing on later albums.
DavID, when FOB even get to half the album sales of Def Lep, then maybe you can talk. And I'll even make it slightly possible by making it only 2 of Def Lep's albums; Pyromania & Hysteria combined. Enjoy your wait!
And I must say, my money was on a one-armed drummer joke within the first 5 comments.
Ah, there we differ. I think tbts (even pseudo ones to a certain extent) don't do much to describe how an album works as a whole, which is something that you do feel when listening to an album in order. People always fault song descriptions for just doing a blow-by-blow account of what happens in the song, which is a danger of a tbt review for the album itself, if you see what I mean. That said, this review does describe the sound of the album as a whole and does everything generally well, I can't really fault it, it's a bit like my feelings for some of the bands that everyone on this site likes... I can see that it's good, I just don't really like it.
I'll probably get High 'n' Dry then, but if I don't like it, I blame you This Message Edited On 12.19.08
Well said Spamue1. I definitely understand that reviews should describe how an album sounds as a whole and attempt to achieve that every time with my reviews. Personally, I still prefer a few blow by blows though (probably of say 2 highlights and 2 lowlights), but that's just me... & it wouldn't surprise if I am in the minority with that opinion.
As for 'High n Dry', I never said if it was any good or not, I just stated that '... Heartbreak' wasn't necessarily how the whole album was. But yeah, give that or 'Pyromania' a listen.