Tag Archives: Def Leppard Mutt Lange

Def Leppard/Hysteria(1987)

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When I think of Hysteria I think of millions of copies of this album sold and sugar! Ha! So after a ton of turmoil (Drummer Rick Allen losing his arm no doubt being the worst) from 1983 til 1987 I would read about updates(Circus and Kerrang magazines) on the progress or lack there of the followup to the mega selling Pyromania. Leppard started recording with Jim Steinman (MeatLoafs songwriter/producer) but after a while they punted Steinman(with a huge buyout from what I read) and went back to Mutt Lange the super sonic layered plastered producer who helmed the previous Pyromania(1983) and the Deke approved High N Dry(1981).

So when Hysteria dropped in August of 1987 I was a  first day buyer(cassette) and upon first listen it was apparent that this thing in the guitar department was gonna be huge with the guitars sounding like a thousand guitars and of course the curiosity factor of Allen and his electronic drums(Bravo) was another factor like how the hell is he drumming with one friggin arm??

Joe Elliot,Rick Savage,Steve Clark(RIP),Rick Allen and Phil Collen hit a huge payday with this album and to this day it still carries them on rock radio….

Rock Rock Til Ya Drop…..Insert Cash Into Leppards Bank Vault!

WOMEN-Swirling guitars and a slam of Allen’s electronic drums cue up Women which is a good leadoff track and what is even better is when the tempo ramps up at the beginning of the solo. Phil Collen as per his shred  protocol of guitar hero slices and dices a pretty slick solo. It’s all here snazzy sing along chorus! Powerful bass sonics. Simple yet effective! Steve Clark blitzes the solo at the end of the tune and as his cool  protocol plays a simple yet effective solo to take the song out. Actually it’s one of my fav solos of his. Dude did not have to shred at a million times the speed limit of some(like his partner) Great player that Clark was! As I have said many a time at Mike’s site and here all the great Leppard guitar riffs went to Heaven when Clark passed away. They have never been the same….Anyhoo….

ROCKET-I dig this tune and even though MuchMusic played the tar out of the video I like the sound of this tune as its like we’re landing on the moon! The lyrics are Joe telling us all the influences that have come into the Leppard sound. Kinda corny but catchy as heck! The chorus though is the money shot! Rocket….Satellite Of Love! Huh? Whatever it’s a fun song as it keeps building and building into a aural sonic romp!

ANIMAL-A well written rock track that was a huge hit and it has all the trimmings of Lep single! Once the song hits the chorus it takes this tune to another level. Power chords galore with a snappy happy chorus.

LOVE BITES-Oh,Oh it’s 1987 but by the time Love Bites is released as a single it’s 1988 and Power Ballads are everywhere! This one included but it’s Def Lep so I give them a pass. The song is what I would think would be a Mutt Lange signature piece. Big time hook that draws you into the chorus and along with the twin guitars or is that 500 guitars just gives it enough gas for me not to push skip on the CD player circa 1988.

POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME-Ha! What the hell could I say about this tune other than the video being all about Leps live show and a ton of shots of the ladies in the crowd from  there 1988 Denver show! What I wish Lep would do is go back to Denver now(2016) and do a casting call and have all the ladies that were in the original video from 1988  show up and for Lep to recut the video! Hahaha…man that would be a hoot! The song is driven by Allen’s electronic drum kit and the song musically is pretty decent kinda plods along but this tune was another biggie from this album.

ARMAGEDDON IT-Back to some great rock! Are You Getting It? This tune starts with a great guitar hook and we’re off. Armageddon It is what I like about Leppard. It’s not rocket science just a great hard rocking track(well hard rocking for Leppard) love Clarks guitar solo after Joe chirps “come on Steve”. Awesome stuff and of course Collen has to have a crack of a solo at the end of the tune as well. Great song.

GODS OF WAR-Side 2 begins with a big Lep song! This is a great track. This has to be Steve Clarks deal this one! Big power chords thumping loud Drums  and Bass carry this song and consider that at times Leppard likes to write straight forward catchy songs(Animal,Armageddon It) they can roll the dice and put out big epic rock with a wicked sounding chorus as well! Gods Of War is one of them. They even sample Presidents and such.

DONT SHOOT SHOTGUN-This song and the next one (Run Riot)got buried under a ton of Sugar(get it?) as the singles are the ones everyone would talk about. Don’t kid yourself folks theirs some good rock here! Yeah sure everything is multilayered (guitars,vocals) but when you strip back the sonics It’s a bare bones rock track! The verses are real good even better than the chorus. Collen does his dippity do da  shred work as per protocol and yeah I can be a sucker for that kind of solo(in little doses mind you)

RUN RIOT-This is my fav track from Hysteria! Yeah it is! I shit you not! Dig Allen and his drums smashing down a ton of percussion along with a million layered guitars all over the musical map and say what you want Run Riot is a great track with a great solo and real ear catchy chorus. ‘Ruuuuuuuun Riiooooooot!” Big lead and cracking backing vocals deliver me a Lep Sonic Sandwhich! Loooove it!

HYSTERIA-Another biggie Lep single! Wow man for a slower groove like tune this is a masterpiece! Sweeping the landscape musically Clark  drives this song with his guitar work. Hysteria is a well written rock track that over time has become one of my sleeper tracks on this album. Great title for this record along with artwork for the cover. Lepp 1987 were the deal and by 1988 they were a Big Fackin Deal!

EXCITABLE-Are You Excitable some one asks and you hear a female panting in the background and this is a goofy tune! Just a cheap over night Lep romp at a 5 and Dime hotel! It’s like Mutt Lange wanted Lep to write a Cars Like song. In the element of this album this tune is the weak link amongst some pretty decent hard rock!

LOVE AND AFFECTION-End of the album closer! A pretty decent tune at a mid clip speed. Like many other tunes which are here singles this could have been one also. Nice tempo and Elliot tosses down a decent vocal and as the song ends, the Leps bid adieu! Good song.

FINAL YAMMER- So your asking ‘Wheres the video Deke?” Ummm well the whole first side (first 6 songs) was released as singles and we all know them right? We have seen the videos a million times over so let’s leave it at that! Seriously would you watch the video of  Pour Some Sugar On Me again? Ok, Rockin Roberts of course You would! Haha….

Read somewhere years ago that Lep went into huge debt with this album back in 1987 and when it was released it would have to sell 2 million to break even so when Women was released as the first single it tanked on the charts! There must have been a real freak out at Camp Lep! But no worries 5 other singles were released and I still recall Pour Some….that video on Muchmusic every 5 minutes during the summer of 1988! No looking back for Joe and the boys!

Hysteria is a top-notch album and the last one to feature the great Steve Clark! He was the King Of Lep Riffs. Lep never really recovered from his loss! See my Adrenalize review on how I spin wit and wisdom on that album! Allright a bit of wit no wisdom! Ha!

Folks this is my 300th Post! Holy CRAP! Thanks to everyone who has hooked up for the ride and have taken the time to read,comment,join and follow along!

Had no idea this was my 300 post until after I had finished this review! Kinda appropriate that one of the biggest selling Hard Rock Albums Of All Time would be number 300 don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

The Cars/Heartbeat City

I had no idea my first review of The Cars would be a hit here at Arena Rock and in the comments fellow blogger J asked for me to jot down some thoughts on one of J’s favourite Cars record and that would be 1984s Heartbeat City. This notes for you J!

HeartBeat City was the Cars 5th studio album since 1978s debut! That’s a pretty good run of material and well I’m sure some suits had something to do with Cars product being pushed out!

The big change for this record came in the producers chair! Roy Thomas Baker was replaced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange and we all know Mutt Langes credits up to that point! (Pre 1984/3 AC/DC albums,2 Def Leppard Albums,Foriegners 4 Album) Pretty good rock run for Mutt I would say and here Mutt dabbles in some New Wavey Gravy Sonics called The Cars…

More impressive is the fact that the same 5 guys on the debut album from 78 are all still intact in 84! Kudos to Ric Ocasek,David Robinson,Elliot Easton,Greg Hawkes and Benjamin Orr(RIP).

So……..Lets Gooooooooooo…..

HELLO AGAIN- the first 15 seconds of this tune with the vocals are right out of the Def Leppard Mutt Lange Songbook! This song has a quirky uptempo beat with Synthy piano,drums and Eastons guitar driving the chrous and at the halfway mark of the tune we got all the 80s bell and whistles and if you listen to Hello Again on the headphones  you will be transported to a kinder gentler time we called 1984!

LOOKING FOR LOVE-Robinson’s drums set the pace for track 2 with Ocasek saying “c’mon lover make a switch!” Wowzers what’s going on here? Ha! The song shifts gears and picks up the pace only to shift back during the chorus! This had single written all over it but than agian when Mutt Lange puts his mitts on songs they are geared for the radio! (Except for Given The Dog A Bone by ACDC! Ha!) For The Cars though the sonics on Heartbbeat City are Mutt Fueled and well oiled to drive The Cars!*

MAGIC-dare I say it this is my fav Cars track ever!! Yep the snap happy Kiss Christine 16 like piano suckers me in Everytime! This is no exception! Orrs bass punctuates the end of each verse! Love the rhythm of Orr and Robinson! They are locked in tight! The chorus is splendid!(Magic!) Man,the backing vocals are so damn hooky and Eastons guitar Is allowed to be cranked up and he delivers! “Oh oh It’s Magic!” Easton rips out a great solo and the song ramps up to the end….Magic ,Yep call it a Arena Rock Classic! A song that you don’t want to end! Summer Time  as Ocasek says in the opening sentence doesn’t matter if it’s summer 84 or 2015! This tune is Gold! Now watch the cool throwback video of Magic!

DRIVE-‘whose gonna drive the drunk girls home after the highschool dance?” This song was huge in 1984-85. Big slowly ballad but the drums kinda push it forward and Orr has the perfect vocal for this song! The sonics on this tune are huge 8 million things going on I the background during Hawkes key solo!

STRANGER EYES-Cars let it rip (kinda)on this tune! Big Easton power chords Rock the song at the beginning but he disappears during the verses! 80s bells and whistles take over and Easton joins the fray and i dig also  Orrs bass line carrying the tune during the chorus!

YOU MIGHT THINK-whooooah! Who hasn’t heard this tune or seen the vid! Ha it’s awesome track! The chorus is catchy as heck with that ZZ Toppy 84 synth! This tune keeps the party going as Easton throws down a real cool laid back style solo!

ITS NOT THE NIGHT-a mixture of Easton and Hawkes mashing up the guitar and keys together. Orr sings this song and it’s a 80s technos wet dream complete with Synth,poppy hoppy bass,electronic drums and what nots of the day!

WHY CANT I HAVE YOU-a pretty heavy synth driven tune. That was there deal heavy on the synth sound that was big at the time but it’s in the songs! Ocasek could write tunes but he could write lyrically from a dark spot I mean it can’t always be happy,happy,joy,joy tunes all the time! Why Can’t I Have You is this dark place…tread carefully!

I REFUSE-The Cars pick up the pace with this track! Easton and the fellas tap into the ZZ Top synth and with the rumble of the keys this song is layered up in a 80s Sleeping Bag(ZZ anyone?) and spit out of the Cars blender!

HEARTBEAT CITY- Ha! How cool is that the title track is the last song on the album! Nobody ever does that! But the Cars did! Take me down to the Heartbeat City where the grass is green and the girls are geeky! Ok I’m being a smart ass but The Cars punch the gas a little and speed off into the distance on what would be there last mega huge selling album!

IN CONCLUSION-hard to believe like I mentioned earlier that this would be the Cars last big mega hit album and that it’s from 31 years ago! Of course thanks to Greatest Hits Compliations and Classic Rock Radio and other formats The Cars engine is still running today! ** This album I had not  heard entirely until a few years ago when I picked it up at a Pawnshop along with Panorama and Shake It Up! ( will review those ones as well as Candy O at some point!)

Ocasek had a real flair for writing a memorable hook! Also what must be noted is that even Ocasek wrote all the songs on Heartbeat City he relinquished lead vocal duties to Orr on numerous songs throughout the Cars repitore!

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