Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Def Leppard
Album : High ‘n’ Dry
Released : July 11, 1981
M.M. Album Rating : 4.5/5 (The Def Leppard Record That Continues To Age The Best.)
A couple of years ago Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott made a statement that his band was not a Heavy Metal group (like it took a Rocket Scientist to figure that out). It was his response on a summer tour that included the band Styx, and how some fans felt that was an odd choice. That being said though should it really be a surprise ? After all, Def Leppard has even been borderline “Hard Rock” since the late 1980s when they released their mega comeback album “Hysteria”, that sounded more like a “power pop” record. And even before that their third album “Pyromania”gave hints that they were heading in that direction. Needless to say, both of those albums even though they sold millions and millions of copies haven’t aged very well. As of 2017 most of Pyromania has been worn out by radio, and Hysteria sounds way too dated as a product of the 1980s. The one Def Leppard album that has aged the best, especially to Metal fans is their second album “High ‘n’ Dry”.
It’s ironic that the band seems to want to distance themselves from this great record, because it showcases who they were at their best. Being one of the most promising bands of the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal”, and getting the musical genius Robert “Mutt” Lange right after he finished producing both legendary AC/DC albums Highway To Hell, and Back In Black, this album has that type of sound. A hard two guitar driven record by a band still with the hunger and the fire. Also as the years have passed it’s become evident that original guitar player Pete Willis was much more important to the band than they seem to think. This album is the perfect example of how great of a guitar duo Steve Clark, and Pete Willis were, and breaking that up by adding Phil Collen changed that style completely. Plus hearing Rick Allen play a real drum set (he started playing electronic drums even before he lost his arm) gives the album a much more raw sound than much of the “over-produced” work they are known for.
The whole album rocks so hard that when you go back and listen, you think you’re hearing a completely different band. Except for one song that is. “Bringing On The Heartbreak” may be the most well known song, but really the weakest moment of the album. It was an example of where the band was headed, not a good place for Metal/Hard Rock fans. They even made it worse by adding more keyboards to it in a remix a few years later. For my money this is not only the best, but really the only Def Leppard album I can personally listen to anymore. And now by adding the excellent 1981 B-Side song “Me And My Wine” to the original album, it’s essential. Just like Master Of Puppets is Metallica’s saving grace for all of the bad music they’ve made, High ‘N’ Dry is the same thing for Def Leppard. Where oh where did this band go ????
1. Let It Go
2. Another Hit and Run
3. High ‘N’ Dry (Saturday Night)
4. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
5. Switch 625
6. You Got Me Runnin’
7. Lady Strange
8. On Through the Night
9. Mirror. Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
10. No No No
11. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
12. . Me & My Wine