Favorites can be finicky things. As a kid I had this idea that “favorite” meant exclusive. There could be only one favorite friend, or TV show, or band. With age and wisdom I learned that favorite is a grouping. There can be more than one. All the better if there is more than one. Still, I never satisfies my kids when they ask me for my favorite food and I tell them that, like my favorite music, it depends on my mood.
Recently, I discovered that SiriusXM had a limited-time Def Leppard channel. Unusual for me, I feel like I have been listening to it constantly all week. I can usually spend 4-5 hours a day listening to audiobooks. This past week, however, all my listening has been on the Def Leppard channel. I think it is fair to say they are among my favorites.
Sometime in the first half of 1983 my brother and I got a copy of the Pyromania album. I suspect that I had heard of Def Leppard before that album, but that was our first real rock album and we played it over and over again. There isn’t a bad song on that album, the first of 3 albums that have fantastic energy. I remember seeing the video for “Photograph” when it came out on MTV. “Photograph” is one song I love to play really loud.
In the summer of 1987, Hysteria was released and that is probably my favroite Def Leppard album, and one of my all-time favorite albums, period. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was all over the radio that summer. The summer of 1987 was my last “free” summer. I was 15 years old, and half a year later, I got a work permit and began working in a stationary store after school a few days a week, and on weekends. Beginning in the summer of 1988, I was working, and I’ve been working at one job or another ever since. So the album reminds me of those last carefree days before I started working.
My favorite song from that album is “Hysteria.” That songs reminds me of the good times I had with my high school friends–still among my best friends–on Friday and Saturday evenings. After I began working, and had some cash of my own, some of my first purchases were the cassettes of Def Leppard’s first two full-length albums: On Through the Night (1980) and Hgh ‘n’ Dry (1981). I remember listeing to the latter over and over again on the bus ride to school. The former, On Through the NIght, has my favorite Def Leppard song. More on that shortly.
I seem to recall that “Tear It Down” from the Adrenalize album was released long before the album came out. There was a five-year gap between Hysteria and Adrenalize thanks to some bad luck the band had: the death of Steve Clark partway through making the album. I was a sophemore in college when the album finally came out. This is a completely fun album, it seems to me, not nearly as serious as either Pyromania or Hysteria.
I’ve never been quite as fond of the albums after, say, Retro Active as I have the earlier ones. That said, there are some great gems among them. And one side-effect of listening to the Def Leppard channel on Sirius XM, I have had a chance to listen to their new album, Diamond Star Halos, and I liked it more than I expected to.
For me, Def Leppard’s music is good for just about anything. I frequently listen to it when I work out–it has great energy for cardio. It also makes good writing music. I don’t listen to music when writing first drafts, but will occasionally listen to music on subsequent drafts. Def Leppard is a go-to.
Oh, and my all-time favorite Def Leppard song? It is a deep cut that I have never once heard played on the radio, not even on the Def Leppard channel on SiriusXM. The song is “Overture,” the final track on On Through the Night.
Written on June 23, 2022.
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