1981 like I said in a earlier post was the year I discovered Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. The day I went to buy one record it came down to a new band choice. One record I had to decide on and well I went with Maiden that day and purchased Killers. Shortly after I left home and came back with Def Leppards High N Dry release!
I’m gonna focus on Leppard and man what a cooker of a album High N Dry was and still is! I remember reading Kerrang and Creem Metal magazine back than and they were into this New Wave Of Heavy Metal scene that was happening over in England so I guess I was somewhat part of that new metal scene over here in Canada. Leppard by album number two had enlisted Mutt Lange the one for twiddling the dials on the last three ACDC albums (Highway To Hell,Back In Black,For Those About To Rock) so here he is as producer only working with the young upstarts in Leppard. 33 years later and this record sounds like it could have came out last week. The sonics, songwriting and overall delivery of HIGH N DRY is a must have in any hard rock collection…..
Let me tell ya what all the fuss was about…..
LET IT GO- no punches pulled, here’s Leppard in 1981 ready to do battle and the guitars courtesy of Pete Willis and Steve Clark (RIP) set the tone. Joe Elliot’s vocals are almost like a clean version of Brian Johnson from ACDC. Actually this song could have been ACDC it’s a slick piece of well put together hard rock and man it’s only track one!
ANOTHER HIT AND RUN-just continues the pace set by Let It Go this song just flat out rocks and man Leppard is a band to contend with. Leppard will hit ya and they will run right over you! The two solos in this song are wickedly good and the Clark/Willis combo are right up there with Smith/Murray from Maiden at this point !
HIGH N DRY-the title track and Joes stumbling around being wasted all day! Dude pulls the vocals off convincingly on this whole album. This is hard rock 101 at its finest! Love the drum sound courtesy of Rick Allen.
BRINGING ON THE HEARTBREAK-I don’t think Leppard knew at the time they were composing the first big heavy rock power ballad in 1981 but they were. This is no sap from the tap! The drums move it along during the pre Chrous into the Chrous and the guitars take over! For me after all these years i can hear the Infleunce of Mutt Lange that would come after on there recorded works. But back than all that mattered to me was that this song wasn’t Journey like!
SWITCH 625-ends side one with Willis and Clark soloing and jamming out and Joe takes a breather during this musical diversion! Whew side one ends with a loud boot up the rear!
YOU GOT ME RUNNIN- this is my fav tune off High N Dry. I have no idea if they ever played it live but man what a great tune. Well written the guitar work just shines on this tune! If You Got Me Runnin does make you wanna rock out Nuthin will!
LADY STRANGE- just keeps the party going. I just really glad they never made a video for this back than cause it would have been beyond cheeseball! Why? I have no idea but I’m just glad they didn’t! This song is number 7 and it’s full out balls to the walls so far!
ON THROUGH THE NIGHT- wow the debut album was called this and now the followup has the title track to the debut! Cool all out rocker. The solo by Clark is deadly and you know what after his passing(1991) this band was never the same again. Even Willis leaving you could make a case for! Look at the cowrites on this album and Pyromania and Willis is a pretty big damn contributer that always gets left out of Leppard talk! Shame really!
MIRROR MIRROR(LOOK INTO MY EYES)- cool they brought this tune back last year to play live. It was a good rock track with some excellent musicianship in it as well!
NO NO NO – stomps the album to a close and makes you wanting more and more and well the answer for right now is No No No. This song just boot s the door wide open once more before slamming shut! Holy hell I love High N Dry! Of course the song ends and Elliot says No I think 48 times is it? Who knows I probably got confused and lost count ! Math and counting was never my forte in high school but ROCK was!
IN CONCLUSION- This is a all time classic which for me I would have to say next to Pyromania is there best work! They hit one out of the ball park here and made us believers until Pyromania kicked it universally everywhere for them! They were never the same after High N Dry and of course they gave Pete Willis the boot and out went a big clog of talent. Of course Mutt Lange really took the reins over after High N Dry but I kinda wish he would just chilled back a bit kinda like the role he had on this one and the ACDC albums. BUT I think Leppard 2014 would not agree with me.