This is album number three for the mighty Lep. As far as where this comes in their back catalogue, it’s the album before the band blew up big time with Hysteria four long years later in 1987. It’s also a much more interesting listen than the singles-fest of that later album. It’s the last album they recorded with their original line-up – guitarist Pete Willis would be replaced by Phil Collen on Pyromania, but both appear on the record. It’s also the last album recorded with drummer Rick Allen having both arms.
Of all of Def Leppard’s hit singles, it is Photograph, the second track on this album that I still have a lot of love for. The singles on Hysteria are excellent, but overplayed far too much on radio. Photograph doesn’t get the same level of exposure (pun not intended, but I’ll take it), and so it’s always a treat to hear these days.
The album cover is interesting – as cartoony as all of their album covers throughout the ‘80s, it looks a little less innocent than the others with its depiction of a skyscraper exploding, caught in the crosshairs of a weapon. Perhaps Bin Laden was a big Leppard fan in the ‘80s. Who knows…
The credits note that the album was ‘recorded between bouts of World Cup soccer’. That would have been Spain ‘82, when England won all their games in the first group stage, but failed to score in the second group stage and exited as a result. The only thing that irks me about the credit is that they refer to the beautiful game as ‘soccer’, not ‘football’ – perhaps an early indicator of how Americanised the band was to become.
Hidden Gem: Stagefright