Tag Archives: Def leppard

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!

* -Sap Comment 1

**- Sap Comment 2

SONIC WAVES…Def Leppard/Adrenalize

No word of a lie! Tbone had like three copies on cd of Adrenalize? One was still sealed In plastic 5 years after its release in 1992!

Have no idea why perhaps he will answer to us all about that one!

This album I thought may have  been close to 3/4’s Filler but it squeaks by. Now if we’re keeping score here I dig in the Leppard catalogue in no order On Through The Night,High N Dry,Pyromania,Hysteria and one of which flies under the radar which is Slang even that Sparkle Lounge record had some decent moments except for that fuckin awful Hee Haw McGraw track…..

Some others like Euphoria and X just don’t cut the mustard! Perhaps one day I will tackle them but I just can’t wrap my head sonically around them right now!

Mike Ladano at mikeladano.com posted on his blog all the singles on Adrenalize and I was kind of meandering on writing this as I had it sitting for a while in my unfinished posts sections. So reading Mikes writes kinda spurred me on to finish this so here we go….

1992 and the musical landscape has changed! I don’t need to explain in great detail but the usual musical suspects from the Pacific Northwest chucked a lot of Southern Cal Cheeserock Acts into the dumpster and fair enough so many Cheeseball acts were getting deals in the late 80s that the market was over saturated and trust me folks I got hosed on a few(won’t name names yet!).

So Leps are down to 4 as the great King Of Riffs Mr Steve Clark passed away in January of 1991! For me and some others so did the quality of tunes!

So if my memory serves me correct 5 songs on Adrenalize were co written by Clark(good songs)before he passed and 5 without(so so songs) and that kinda shoulda been the sign but here we are 23 years later and I finally figured it out just how important Clark to Leppard was and it isn’t until he dies that I figure it out……

Having said that give Joe Elliot,Rick Allen,Rick Savage and Phil Collen there due. They coulda take their bat and glove and just gone home! Oh wait! That ain’t happening it’s called $$$$$$$$$$$!

LETS GET ROCKED-ok ok i can admit it! When this was released as the opening single I lapped it up! I mean Joe’s asking me If I wanna get Rocked? Absolutley boss I do and here we go and its pretty clear that at the 1 minute mark this is a continuation of Hysteria and well many a band have done this and three  acts coming to mind right away ZZ Top with Eliminator followed by AfterBurner and Boston basically after the first Boston tried to duplicate it on the Don’t Look Back album(pretty good) and Third Stage(borderline Meh! except for Brad Delp(RIP) whose vocals save the day) and of course AC/DC with their whole back catalogue(there Gods and they know how to do it!)Leppard though in a way it’s good to be back with some rock and the drums courtesy of Allen have the big percussive sound and Phil Collen shreds into the shredders night with an Solo and man that’s were Steve Clark is missed whereas Clark  was the real guitar slinger, playing not nearly the same amount of FAST LOOK AT ME MAMA notes as Collen but more chill,more of an Impact you could say. A thinkers guitar player! Let’s Get Rocked after a while though gets tired but for a moment in 92      Ummm Lets Get Rocked!

HEAVEN IS-“a step in the right direction,kinda…” That’s my quote that I posted on Mikes review of Heaven Is. Leppard knows that it’s all about AirPlay and VideoPlay and that’s what Heaven Is! Keeping the pockets of Record Company Suits filled with dough and come to think of it,they sunk Tbone for three copies of this album! Ha! Heaven Is a straight ahead rock track and with Mutt Lange dialing along for the ride this could have fit perfectly on Bryan Adams Waking Up The Neighbours album which to no ones surprise Mutt Lange wore the producers hat for…..

MAKE LOVE LIKE A MAN-dig the music but man the lyrics are just brutal. So for that I hardly paid attention to it but was forced to when I caught the Adranalize 7 Day Weekend Tour in 1992! The vibe of the tune is good with the use of the percussive beats of Allen but man the lyrics are just (Hey)Stoopid! But can you blame Lep? It was 4 years earlier in 1988 when Pour Some Sugar On Me was huge so I guess Lep thought what the hell it worked once so it should work twice..Nope it didn’t!

TONIGHT-now this is a good track as well. Sure it’s typical Lepp fodder but it’s a well blended piece of melodic Rock using both acoustic and electric guitars and Lepp not overdoing it!

WHITE LIGHTENING-Steve Clark gets his due here man! (7 Minutes of Sonics here!) This is a big blast of tribute Rock to their fallen comrade! Epic building song stsrting off with a solo and if Joe and boys had done more tunes like this on Adrenalize I would have been all for it! They played this tune live as well and lasered the heck out of it ! It was a huge production piece and so be it as Clark was the deal!

STAND UP(Kick Love Into Motion)-Ok fasten up your  seat belt but 23 years later and I have to say this is the best well written piece of music on this album! Yeah I just did say that! Stand Up melds some real great rhythm here and the song is performed exceptionally and the chorus is gold! Even Elliot’s voice carries the tune as well and is fit tailor made to this style! Well Done and dare i say it? A Gem!

PERSONAL PROPERTY -a pretty decent rocker with same old same old lyrics but Leppard play this tune like they believe in it and it’s a 4 on the floor Leppy stomper! Well for Adrenalize purposes that is!

HAVE YOU EVER NEEDED SOMEONE SO BAD-ugh man oh man just so obvious. When Love Bites and such from Hysteria shot to thhe top of the charts I was ok with it. Reason being is Lepp was forging a new sound with that style of writing on Hysteria but here they try to duplicate it and Nope no go Hombre! Too obvious…..Blah!

I WANNA TOUCH-Geez I wish Lepp would have sold this tune to Bandana Micheals and Poison at the time this is right up there alley! I couldn’t even get thru this track after the first 30 seconds so in other words tracks 8&9 on Adrenalize= Skip! That’s being polite!

TEAR IT DOWN-Ok the Lepps dig back in the vaults and recharge the batteries and crank this one out! Kinda like AC/DC musically a bit meaning straight ahead music! No frills and sometimes that’s the best policy! Great chorus and this song boosts up the end of the album after I tossed up  my lunch after tracks 8&9!

IN CONCLUSION-Hmmm interesting record looking back on it! But what do you do? 1991 must have been the shits for these guys after Clark passed! Like how the hell do we record a record without the king of riffs! Well they did kinda. Half written with Clark and Half not! So props to that. I guess you just have to push forward!

Up til recently I have not listened to this album in a real  long time. It’s like when you bump into someone you haven’t seen in a long time  and you get caught up and then move on. That’s what Adrenalize is to me!

SONIC WAVES….Def Leppard/On Through The Night

Summer of 1981 and my pal Muc buys Leppards debut album On Through The Night and I counter at the same time with my very first Iron Maiden purchase with Killers!

I was totally blown away by Maiden and I’ll  have to review it at some point but man when I seen what Muc had purchased the music junkie in me said “holy shit Muc give me a hit of that vinyl there will you fella!”

Just like that I’m aboard the Lep Xpress and how could you not?! Leppard 1980 are young guys and there rocking out by the photo on the back of the album and with a bad ass rock guitar truck as a cover Yee haw!

Its crazy to think that this album is 35 years old!! I mean where does time fly? The great thing is this is Leppard sounding raw,going for the throat and Kickin mine and Mucs ass circa 1981! Job well done Steve Clark(RIP)/Pete Willis/Rick Savage/Rick Allan and Joe Elliot!

Don’t Be Pouring No Sugar On Me ….

ROCK BRIGADE- Willis and Clark open up with a real cool riff and before you hear AH here comes Ricky’s Drums Rollin all over and boom what a great ear catching opening! You know the deal here it’s Leppard 1980 there young,they got the looks,hooks and Yep they got the Rock Brigade with them so Ya better watch your Ass! The lyrics even though are kinda silly who cares this is fun Leppard and whoever throws down that solo(Willis I think) I salute you! It cooks man…love how the song just ends…the battle is over …whoosh this is only song 1 !

HELLO AMERICA- big poppy acapella Vocals welcome Leppard to America and I think back in time of its release it was not well received in England as the locals thought Leppard were selling there rock souls to the big American Market! Can Ya blame Lep? Na I don’t so that’s where the $$$ are, I like the tune during the chorus they have swirly Synthy sounds that enhance the song. Did I just say that? Ha but you know 2 songs in and me and Muc are aboard so Hello Thunder Bay!

SORROW IS A WOMAN- Tom Allom who produced a ton of Judas Priest albums in the 80s produced this one as well and man he makes the album sound raw in a  real cool way and then beginning of this song proves it! Drums,bass and guitars mash up at the beginning and when Joes vocal comes in everything goes chill with clean sounding guitars,chill drums and than it ramps back up at the chrous and the guitar solo in this track is awesome as its locked in tighter than Tbones Scotch Cabinet and than it keeps ramping up back in the chorus! Great track….

IT COULD BE YOU-this is a great rocker! It could be U….it could be anyonnnne! The verse is raw ruff Lep! No studio polish found anywhere near this record and that’s Allright! Clark and Willis make a great team guitar wise and its too bad that Willis unravelled but give the cat his credit he was a big clog in Lepps sound and in a kinda way they were never the same after they punted Willis and totally never the same after Clark died in 1991.

SATALLITE-Allen destroys his snare at the beginning of Satallite and were off toss in some ‘oh yeahs ‘ and some great guitaring by those young fellas and i was always intrigued by the sound that they may have have forged with songs like this one,Overture and When The Walls….before Mutt Lange showed up with his musical blender and squeezed eventually all the great Rock rawness out of Lep!

WHEN THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN- if memory serves me correct I think this was Mucs fav tune off of this album! It’s Leppy going proggy mixed with hard rock! Spoken word intro and chill vibe of Joes voice gives way to a walloping galloping surge into rocksphere with Willis and Clark and man I dig the the twin riffing and boom in to then solo and Rick Allen drives the cymbal and smashes thrashes his kit and whoah Muc you may be right (I may be crazy! Ha) but you might be onto SUMTHIN here!

WASTED- big power riffs start Wasted and boom lets snort some lines and get …Wasted! That’s Lep talking not me the only lines I was doing back in 1981 was writing ” I will do my homework” over an over on a chalkboard at school! Still though this song to this day rocks and what a great Clark solo! The dude was the king of Lep riffs! Gone but not forgotten!

ROCKS OFF-Willis and Clark peel rubber right off the hop at the start of the track and hey these boys may be Wasted but man there rocking tighter than the  spandex Olivia Newton John wore in the movie Grease! Elliot tells us all to get our Rocks Off and boom before you know it were into the real cool part where Allen smashes and thrashes on his drums  along with Willis and Clark and man this song is slick! Great riff,great song and what there’s a audience dubbed in at the end and  Elliot tosses a “Goodnight!!!” Those funny young Leppard chaps fuckin with me marbles! Well done!

IT DONT MATTER- easy said friends! I love this song and man insert cool cowbell smacking to keep the pace of the tune going and hey man It Don’t Matter!  Awesome verses,prechorus ,chlrus, great lead vocal by Elliot,great guitars,bass an drums it’s all here rolled into one gigantic Def Lep Fatty! This song is easily an end of the album Gem here at Arena Rock!

ANSWER TO THE MASTER- big power riffs,big power rock and Joe and the boys lay it down no Love Bites here at this train station ladies!

OVERTURE- you know listening to Overture would have Lepp kept this style of Rock going If good Ol Mutt Lange had not waltzed in to there sound? Who knows but I would think Yep! It’s Lep going a little proggy at the end of there debut and why not! They aced this debut and they can do what they want! Well in my book anyways!

IN CONCLUSION- We got a winner Muc! 35 years young is On Through The Night and 35 years older is Muc! Hahahaha! Seriously what a great start for Leppard and it always kinda pissed me that in interviews Lepp would ignore the debut? Like really? You Guys were like 20 years old here figuring it out don’t ignore it,accept it this thing slays a lot of stuff in there catalogue that came later(in my book!) Tom Allom who produced this kept it real and for that ..great job. Also of note Leppard 2015 ignore this album and it’s a shame at least I have seen on this tour they are playing a few, just a few from High N Dry (see review of High N Dry here)…..https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/sonic-waves-def-leppardhigh-n-dry/

Sonic Waves…Def Leppard/High N Dry

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.

DEF LEPPARD/Saturday Night High N Dry….Kinda!

Def Leppard/Nov 14 1992 / Duluth Arena

Cool that this vid was from the actual show that myself,my brother Todd, Al,Mr Tony ‘Anvil’ Gallo and Cementhead went too! Good ol You tube!…

So Leppard was still doing pretty big business in 92 considering more than a few bands from the Northwest region of the USA were making a ton of noise and selling a ton of records but here is Leppard in all there glory on a Saturday night in Duluth Minnesota playing on there In The Round Stage with no opening act in front of a sold out house 5,000 and not worrying about the massive shift in musical climate that is going on outside!

This is probably the last of the big arena shows put on by a band of Leppards size for quite a few years after! Who knew that there record sales would dwindle after Adrenalize  and there concert turnouts as well! Who knew ? I didn’t and neither did  the 5,000 others but wow Leppard was touring with new guitarist Viv Campbell he formerly of Dio and that MTV Glitzed version of Whitesnake! Campbell was a great addition to the lineup. He played all of Steve Clark’s parts for those keeping score at home. Anyways the curtain drops at the start of the show and Lep launches into Lets Get Rocked..here we go and now into Tear It Down (see vid) Women is up next love the outro solo at the end of the song. Too Late For Love,Hysteria, Make Love Like A Man and now were into the Phil Collen guitar solo! The dude is talented but he riffs like a looney tune on the fret board way to much overkill in my book man. Collen is great talent in the song structure but leave him to his own devices ie soloing I will pass thanks but hey I’m crammed down on the floor so I ain’t got no choice but too listen to him in Duluth!

The tribute to Steve Clark is next and that’s White Lightening. Foolin comes next,Animal and now Viv Campbell’s solo turn and he pulls a melodic yet effective solo and does not go down Collen Shredding Avenue! I mean listen to Campbell’s solo on Dios Rainbow In The Dark( great solo) for example.  Thanks Viv for not blowing out my eardrums on a shred fest fretboard workout that night at the Duluth Arena!

Campbell’s solo launches the band into God Of War and this folks is the big production number of the show. Four pods at each corner of the stage on a rail attached to the ceiling roll out over the crowd the pod opens and lights spin around I mean it’s the Gods Of Wars ,pretty cool effect from what I recall. Rocket fires up the crowd but is it just me or is Elliot’s voice a lot different live than on record,no it’s not me it’s fact man. Mutt Lange and his studio trickery. I wonder if when Lange was working for ACDC if he would have put Johnson throw the old vocal enhancer….not!

I guess  I’m being too critical here but seriously the backing vocals are good live  but compared to the studio polish,well I prefer the live better. And now cue the  acoustic song and that would be for Bringin On The Heartbreak which they electrify towards the end of the song segueing into Have You Needed Someone So Bad. Rock Of Ages with crowd interaction into mega hit 1988 Pour Some Sugar On Me! Leppard splits underneath to the cozy confines of there In The Round Stage!

There back and they finish up the show with back to back hits in Love Bites and Photograph!

If you wanted to attend a greatest hits show while plugging said current release well this was the show for you! Out of the 17 songs played 16 were from Pyromania, Hysteria and Adrenalize! Basically the first two studio outputs are ignored! So Leppard in 1992 are not playing for the fans from 1981( me!) but for the fans from 1983-1992. Don’t got me wrong it was a good show,but man to ditch a lot of good material from On Through The Night and High N Dry! What can you do! Leppard was a $$$$$ making machine back than. Give people want they want and I guess that’s what the Minnesotans wanted on that Saturday Night(High N Dry lite )November 1992!