Best Of The Batch: Def Leppard
Artist: Def Leppard
Label: Universal Music
How many bands do you know can make a comeback with a cover album? I cannot think of that many. Def Leppard is one such band with the experience, the chops, and charisma to pull it off in a big way. When yet another ‘cover’ album press release comes through, I cringe because rarely do they fulfill the promise of the advertising and media prior to the release. This time my feelings were way off base. Yeah! is an incredible album, a full-fledged classic rock masterpiece.
I always liked Def Leppard and once I heard them cover some of their most beloved songs (and mine); I came to know them in a different way. All at once, they were a long lost friend that I knew when I was a teenager. I was there when all of this music first came out and I loved it all, and I still do.
This is not your typical cover album because of the track choices. You would expect a more generic group of songs that everyone would immediately identify with; this is not so, and that is exactly what makes cover albums so predictable and ultimately boring. They way this album kicks off, man its just killer, with a rockin’ “20th Century Boy.” I was speechless and immediately knew that I was in for a special treat. I am huge T. Rex Fan and “20TH Century Boy” is truly an amazing cover; it rocks with force and power and oozes with the spirit of Marc Bolan’s glam rock.
One of my all time favorite albums is Mott The Hoople The Hoople and the track “The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll.” I think its one of the very best rock songs every recorded, a true classic from top to bottom. Def Leppard really give it its due, they do a terrific job. Two other tracks grabbed hold of me and would not let go, Thin Lizzy’s “Don't Believe a Word” and Bowie’s “Drive-In Saturday.” I have to believe that Phil Lynot, god rest his weary soul, is smiling from ear to ear right now as he listens to the fantastic cover of one of his best. And surely, Mr. Bowie would approve of the Aladdin Sane classic cover. Just like Joe Elliot said in the liner notes…they felt as if they were re-recording one of their own songs because it was so deeply ingrained into their DNA. Honestly, every track is very good, the band should be proud of the job they did with all of these songs.
The booklet that comes with the CD is cool, too. Each track has a write up and it gives some explanation as to why they chose it and other interesting facts, and what it all meant to them. A picture of each band member emulates classic album covers-Rick Savage (Queen II), Vivian Campell (Electric Warrior-T. Rex), Joe Elliot (Ziggy Stardust-Bowie), Rick Allen (Transformer-Lou Reed), and Phil Collen (Raw Power-Iggy and The Stooges), all good choices indeed.
There comes a time in a career when you lay all of your cards on the table and give credit where it is due. Def Leppard has done that and it comes up all spades. This band still has what it takes, they are special, and there never has been any doubt about that.
01. 20th Century Boy (3:40)
02. Rock On (2:53)
03. Hanging on the Telephone (2:22)
04. Waterloo Sunset (3:38)
05. Hell Raiser (3:19)
06. 10538 Overture (4:30)
07. Street Life (3:26)
08. Drive-In Saturday (4:07)
09. Little Bit of Love (2:33)
10. The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll (3:28)
11. No Matter What (2:51)
12. He's Gonna Step on You Again (4:04)
13. Don't Believe a Word (2:19)
14. Stay with Me (4:30)
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