Sheffield’s DEF LEPPARD are one of those classic bands that broke out as part of the NWOBHM movement back in the late ‘70’s and from then on have crafted notable hits such as Animal, Let’s Get Rocked and Pour Some Sugar On Me. Over the past few years, the band have been re-releasing their back catalogue as part of some limited-edition boxsets. They have now released Volume Three which consists of recordings that the band did in the 2000’s and previously unreleased content too. Included here are X, Yeah!, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, Yeah! 2 & Yeah! Live. The CD version of the boxset is spread out over 6 discs.
Disc 1 features the bulk of the X album which originally debuted back in 2002 and as part of this collection it has been released on vinyl for the very first time. The album veered away from the classic DEF LEPPARD hard rock sound towards more of a pop rock approach. It features the renowned ballad Long, Long Way to Go and the singles Now and Four Letter Word.
Disc 2 is a covers album Yeah! This originally came out in 2006 and features a selection of covers from bands such as T-REX (20th Century Boy), THE KINKS (Waterloo Sunset), THIN LIZZY (Don’t Believe A Word), ELO (10538 Overture) amongst others. This first collection of covers by the band showcases the adaptability of the band whilst putting their own spin on these classic tracks.
Disc 3 collects most of the songs from the 2008 album Songs From The Sparkle Lounge. I have fond memories of this album debuting as it was also the first time I got to see the band live whilst they toured in support of this album with WHITESNAKE and BLACK STONE CHERRY. I took my Dad along with my brother as his Father’s Day present, what better way to celebrate a band that was introduced to me by my Father in my youth. There are plenty of signature DEF LEPPARD tracks on this album in the form of the single C’mon, C’mon which is incredibly catchy from the offset and has plenty of sing along moments. Opening track Go is a banger of a track: “We look to our leaders with the lies they try to feed us. Like a knife they try to bleed us” shows Joe Elliot and Phil Collen at their best in lyrical and musical prowess.
Disc 4 Is a collection of B-Sides. Beginning with some radio edit versions of songs from X along with Kiss The Day from the aforementioned album and the track Nine Lives from Sparkle Lounge. The rest of this disc has a mix of demos, live and acoustic versions of tracks from these releases, along with B-Sides originally on singles from said albums too. It is always good to hear songs done in a different style and also from a live setting too.
Disc 5 gives us Yeah!2 the second collection of covers done by the band and features DEF LEPPARD’s take on ALICE COOPER (Under My Wheels), JIMI HENDRIX (Little Wing), DAVID BOWIE (a live version of Ziggy Stardust, and renditions of Space Oddity and Rebel Rebel) amongst others. It also features a Phil Collen demo version of THE POLICE’s Roxanne and a rendition of THE FACES track Stay With Me with Phil also doing lead vocals.
Disc 6 is the final disc in the collection and is Yeah! Live. This features live covers performed by the band throughout their career. Tracks included here is a 1987 cover of ALICE COOPER’s Elected which allows Joe Elliot to screech this one out with the raw attitude this song commands. A cover of the song Action by SWEET which I really enjoy as it is as good as the original but just heavier. There is also on offer the performance of classic QUEEN track Now I’m Here from the Freddie Mercury tribute concert with Brain May playing with the band too.
For the ultimate DEF LEPPARD fan there is plenty on offer here. That Joe Elliot hand-picked the tracks for YEAH! 2, B-Sides & Yeah! Live just shows how in tune this band is with their fanbase. This collection will certainly not feel you leaving High ‘N’ Dry but in a state of Euphoria!
Words: Martin White
Volume Three (X, Yeah!, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, B-Sides Yeah! & Yeah! Live) is out now.
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