Certain songs you just sing along with. ‘Taking Care of Business’ is an obvious one that never gets old. ‘Dirty Deeds’ and ‘Panama’ are staples in bumper to bumper traffic after a long day at work. But you’d probably be lying if you said you hadn’t wailed along with some Def Leppard ballads like ‘Love Bites’ or ‘Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad’.
Def Leppard ballads are a kind of musical sneak attack. Most people heard the big sound of ‘Love Bites’ or ‘When Love And Hate Collide’ and didn’t even realize they were in the presence of world-class ballad-writing at its best. The fact is, some of the earliest recorded ballads came from the likes of Def Leppard (only to be completely overdone by other bands in the years that followed). Having mined some of the great rock and metal sounds of the early 80s, they were perfectly positioned to take advantage of having a whole lot of really great songs of their own to showcase. Having seen a lot of recorded material over the course of the decade, they certainly knew which sounds to draw upon for their own material.
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But if you’ve never had the pleasure of unwinding to some ballads from the early Def Leppard years, then the following list will very probably be a welcome treat. We’ve selected just two of their absolute best, but there are definitely ten incredible tunes that didn’t make the cut. Read on to find out where you should be spending your leisure time, and to find out more about the band that’s responsible for these incredible sounds…
- ‘Love Bites’ – from ‘Hysteria’, 1988
More of a mid-tempo power-sloller than a slow-burn love story, this opus on heartbreak delivers everything from gritty acoustic ballad to R&B groove.Still one of the band’s biggest selling records, over seven decades later.
- ‘Two Steps Behind’ – from ‘Euphoria’ 1989
Won over the Eurovision audience with a melodic balladoda on this one, carrying on the great tradition of melodic power ballads from the 60s through the 80s.
- ‘Gods of War’ – from ‘Sons and Ladies’ 74′, 1978
Like most of the band’s early work, you’ll find the guitar rocking underneath a big let off of straight-ahead riffing, before the huge power metal guitars crash in to create a driving, pulsing section.
- ‘Love’ – from ‘Euphoria’ 1989
Great guitar riff but a bit tricky with the vocal range, here. The beat rolls up ‘a gear’ when it drops down to the floor for the chorus, which is where the album really takes shape, despite the presence of a cease-and-orus towards the end.
- ‘Two Together’ – from ‘Blaze’ 1992
Like ‘When Love And Hate Collide’ this one rambles on for about half a dozen tracks, building off the rocking theme. It reaches a surprising (and brilliant) climax at the end, when the band reveal their resonance and passion, despite the track literally being over-written by the bassist.
- ‘Voices’ – from ‘Euphoria’ 1989
The opening track beckons you to take a seat, but don’t delay, this whirlwind track is a tour de force. Part One is a conventional blues survey, the second less so.
- ‘When Light Is Done’ – from ‘D’ya Think I’m Sexy?
The standard in ( Stanton snapshots ) “When Light Is Done” – complete with familiar vocal range and chord changes – is the first track on the album; a mischevous slab of garage rock that hits with agian flavour, before stomping back into high gear at the end.
- ‘Danger’ – from ‘Get Lucky’ 1994
Resenting the funkier edge of ( Oldells ) “The Strike Again” in favour of a equal attentiveness to the guitar, ( Black Sabbath ) “Danger” heightened theAlternatively proffered ‘zzy’ sound to an impressive, though thankfully non-album, level.
- ‘flea Circus’ – from ‘Get Lucky’ 1994
The afterlife journey of the title character in Flea’s excellent ( Black Sabbath ) “Like worms, elephants, fiddle, screw andHERO’ ( EXELude, Polyblina,Secondly, Van Halen, White Spirit, Power to the People, and, ironically,Lords of Karma), this trackRegister stands as a thoughtful ode to the band’s career, rehearsals and the vibrancy of ex director Holles throughout.