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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Def Leppard - 1981 High N Dry
Def Leppard - 1981 High N Dry

ARTIST: Def Leppard
ALBUM: High And Dry
LABEL: Polygram/Vertigo
SERIAL: 6359 045
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1984, Mercury, 818 836-2 Y-1 * 1992, Mercury, 314 512 356-2 * 2008, Universal (Japan), UICY-93451


LINEUP: Joe Elliot - vocals * Steve Clark - guitars * Pete Willis - guitars * Rick Savage - bass * Rick Allen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Let It Go * 02 Another Hit And Run * 03 High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night) * 04 Bringin' On The Heartbreak * 05 Switch 625 * 06 You Got Me Runnin' * 07 Lady Strange * 08 On Through The Night * 09 Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes) * 10 No No No * 11 Bringin' On The Heartbreak (remix) * 12 Me And My Wine (remix)


At the time of writing this review (2002), we have the imminent arrival of their latest studio album 'X' (actually their 8th album proper), amidst reports of a 'Slang' and 'Hysteria' mix, it's amazing what a hard rock beast Leppard once were at the onset of their career. With zero chance of a return to this gritty sound, Leppard could have been successors to AC/DC if they had carried on this way. Produced by 'Mutt' Lange, 'High 'n' Dry' was a fairly successful follow up to the heavy but crude NWOBHM inspired debut. Lange brought a polished studio sound, but toughened up the guitars. Typically it was the ballad 'Bringin On The Heartbreak' that fuelled sales, rather than the staunch attitude and heavy delivery of 'Let It Go' etc

The Songs
On close inspection many of the riffs have an AC/DC 'Highway To Hell' and 'Back In Black' feel, something Lange bought with him having produced that colossal pairing. Lange also helped lose the homegrown English aspect, achieving a substantial American arena rock atmosphere. 'Let It Go' and 'High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)' rely on big, bold riffs to maximum effect. Elliot's vocals were far more assured, giving it some of the old Bon Scott shouting among the drinking and hard living lyrics. Smooth AOR choruses are added to the heavy rhythms, noticeably on 'Another Hit And Run', 'You Got Me Runnin', 'Lady Strange' and 'Mirror, Mirror', forerunners of things to come. Leppard's metal roots are hardly betrayed- the galloping riff in the mid-section of 'Lady Strange' has more in common with Iron Maiden than anything. 'No, No, No' is the albums closer and still Leppard's fastest and heaviest moment to date. Elliot screams his balls off among a flurry of spitfire riffs and drumming. Quite devastating and almost deceptive in lieu of what followed.

In Summary
Quite how Leppard turned into a perfect hard rock band with pop sensibilities is mind boggling considering the ferocity they demonstrate through much of 'High 'N' Dry'. True there was an abundance of perfect melodies and even a ballad, but the music was still genuine metal and hard rock. It had yet to become watered down with keyboards and all manner of studio gimmickry that became Leppard's stumbling block. As classic as 'Pyromania' and to a lesser extent 'Hysteria' are, this was Leppard's last hard rock classic, a whole two albums in. What might have been then?

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#1 | Jokerdean on March 22 2006 18:22:41
The cover says it all (for the releases after Pyromania.) This an absolute Classic IMO. The Playin', the songs, the production, man this has it ALL. Too bad they went down hill shortly after. Now they (the Band) say they weren't a Metal Band, that they were more along the likes of Duran Duran... sure fooled me... I guess the greenbacks call too strong for 'em. Shock What we have from them now is a Ballad crap BandSad ..oh well we still have this to listen to. Maybe it could be re-mastered with bonus tracks.... that would ROCK!
#2 | jeffduran on May 12 2008 03:13:48
Agree Leppard's finest hour. Every song is a classic. Lep only will play 'Bringing On The heartbreak' live and scoffs at this period of the band for some reason. Very sad considering the material they've released in the past 20 years....
#3 | reyno-roxx on May 12 2008 07:26:56
Still remains the best Leppard album with me too.
#4 | jeffrey343 on March 03 2014 16:57:21
I got this album sometime in high school - not sure whether it was before or after I got "Pyromania". I played it a lot back then. It is definitely a heavier and rawer sound than where they went starting with "Pyromania", but the melody is there in droves. Still a great album to crank. There are some absolutely killer guitar riffs on this album. The riffs from "Let It Go" and "Lady Strange" have stuck in my head for years. And I've always loved the low bass in "Mirror Mirror".
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