Def Leppard- High’n’Dry 35th Anniversary- Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Phil Collen

This was the moment that I believed, July 1981. Up to that point when the new second album High’n’Dry by Def Leppard arrived, I knew them as a puppy dog-eager band of English teens from the tough industrial Northern city of Sheffield who had impressed with their debut single “Rock Brigade” a year earlier.

But the first time that I heard High’n’Dry‘s “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” with that huge soaring vocal chorus hook, it grabbed me in the same way that The Outlaws’ “You are the Show” had done, which should be no surprise since both were produced by South African “Mutt” Lange, suddenly the hottest producer extant because of blockbusters Highway to Hell and Back in Black for AC/DC, and Foreigner 4, all padding Lange’s resume.

def-leppard-81-hqdefaultIn this very personal conversation, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, and Phil Collen go into great detail to sort through why band co-founder Pete Willis had to leave after High’n’Dry ( replaced on guitar by Collen ), while lead guitarist/ songwriter Steve Clarke was allowed to remain another eight long years, despite the fact that both Willis and Clarke suffered from the same problem. –Redbeard