ARTIST: Def Leppard
TITLE: On Through the Night
YEAR RELEASED: 1980
CHART ACTION: #51 US, #15 UK
SINGLES: Wasted (#61 UK), Hello America (#45 UK), Rock Brigade
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Rocks Off
LINEUP: Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, Pete Willis, Rick Savage, Rick Allen
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: British hard rock / metal band comes out firing on its debut, and they hit more than they miss.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Early Def Leppard sounded more like a traditional UK hard rock / metal band than their later records, which does surprise some fans when they finally get around to putting this album in their ears. The sound is more traditional in many ways, close to the mid-70’s UK rock that they grew up on with the addition of some harmonies backing up Elliott.
The riffage on the album is pretty decent. Guitarists Clark and Willis work well together, and Allen and Savage already prove themselves to be a good rhythm section. Elliott’s voice is somewhat subdued from what we later know of him, but he still does well for himself.
What’s really missing are songs that stick in your gut. The radio cuts were decent (though I really don’t dig “Hello America”) and some cuts like “Satellite” show the way forward. (Though the intro to “When the Walls Came Down” is very much a Spinal Tap thing.) Not a bad debut, just different than their later stuff.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They had an EP released that had a different version of “Rocks Off” as a way to introduce the band (called “Getcha Rocks Off”).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. Are you kidding? Like all early Leppard, this isn’t streaming or digitally available. Bastards. Play this on You Tube.
GRADE: B: The songwriting isn’t top notch, but they showed they had potential and it’s a good record for fans.