With the recent news that Def Leppard is indeed going on tour this summer, I not only bought tickets right away for their show in Noblesville, Indiana, but I also found it necessary to gather the essential collection of Def Leppard songs in my newfound giddiness and replay them, relishing in the fact that I will get to see them rock my world for the second year in a row. This 2-disc collection contains 35 of their greatest songs spanning 25 years of eclectic hits from past albums, with a few surprises added. This CD is a must-have for the ultimate Def Leppard fan.
I have very few criticisms regarding this 2-disc collection, which starts with the first album they ever released back in 1980, On Through the Night. Two songs, Wasted, and Rock Brigade are included in this Definitive Collection. These are without a doubt great songs, but for some reason the band failed to include Hello America in the mix, which puzzles me since this particular song was not only released as a single but was also featured in the Historia video.
To the delight of High and Dry fans, which was their second and in my opinion, their best album of all time released in 1981, a grand total of six songs from this past album are included on this collection. These songs include the powerfully energizing Let it Go, High and Dry, and the unforgettable Bringin’ on the Heartbreak. Moreover, Def Leppard chose to also include bonus tracks for the die-hard High and Dry fans such as myself which include Switch 625, Mirror Mirror, and Another Hit and Run. It’s quite impressive that they included a significant number of older songs to the mix.
Who could forget Pyromania, the breakout album from 1983 which put Def Leppard on the map? It would simply be a travesty not to include the most astounding song ever released by Def Leppard: Photograph. I would absolutely refuse to buy any Def Leppard greatest hits CD if it didn’t contain this electrifying song which sends chills up my spine every time I hear it! Of course this 2-disc collection contains the other two hot hits, Rock of Ages and Foolin.’ Def Leppard really delighted Pyromania fans when they also decided to include Too Late for Love, Rock Rock (Till You Drop), and the lesser known but fabulous B-side tracks Die Hard the Hunter and Billy’s Got a Gun.
Now comes the biggest selling and most popular Def Leppard album to date: Hysteria. The six main hit songs from this album are included, and anyone who is a long-time Def Leppard fan and who bought this album way back in 1987 knows which six songs I’m referring to. Just in case you are unsure, I’ll name them anyway: Women, Rocket, Animal, Love Bites, Pour Some Sugar on Me, and Armageddon It. Notably, Rocket and Pour Some Sugar on Me are the video edit versions nerather than the original radio and Hysteria album versions. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I actually like these video versions better since they give a more electrifying dance feel to the songs. Excellent choice songs to include on this definitive collection CD!
Although the 1992 release of Adrenalize wasn’t quite as successful as Hysteria, four songs are included from this album. Let’s Get Rocked was their first release from Adrenalize and is a great song worth adding. I’m ecstatic that Heaven Is is also included because I think it’s a powerfully captivating song but also underrated at the same time. The slow ballad Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad is also included from this album, although that’s a song I can honestly live without that I don’t like as much as some Def Leppard fans. Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion) is also an included ballad, but again this is a song that really doesn’t rock my world. My other criticism of this definitive collection is that Make Love Like a Man isn’t included. This was a hit song which hit the airwaves, so it’s exclusion has me scratching my head a bit. Tear it Down is another song which rocks but is quite underrated.
To be quite honest, I lost touch with Def Leppard’s releases in the 90’s after Adrenalize, so I’m not real familiar with the other two or three albums released between 1992 and 1999. Slang is a pretty good song with an alternative groove to it. The acoustic version of Two Steps Behind is a nice ballad, not earth shattering. Three other songs are also included from this time frame on the definitive collection but these songs don’t really rock my Def Leppard world the way the songs of the 80’s did. Euphoria was released in 1999, which contains Promises and Paper Sun on this collection. Promises sounds more like the “old” Def Leppard, and in my opinion is one of the best songs Def Leppard ever released, yet it’s highly underrated. Paper Sun is another slow song, which I don’t find all that captivating.
Lastly, No Matter What is a 2005 re-release of Badfinger’s rendition of it. Def Leppard does a great job with the remake and is worth listening to. This is perhaps a great song for karaoke parties. Overall, this is a terrific album with very few disappointments. If you are a truly devoted Def Leppard fan such as myself, this is a CD definitely worth purchasing, rather than going out and buying all the albums separately. Def Leppard did a superb job of putting the majority of their hottest songs together and for the most part, delivers a multitude of songs worth remembering for years to come.