Posts Tagged ‘Rick Savage’

Def Leppard are digging deep into their archives for their latest release: it’s a comprehensive box set covering the group’s first three years together.

“The Early Years 79-81” covers this Sheffield group’s first studio recordings and unheard live performances. The band’s debut and sophomore studio albums, 1980’s On Through The Night and 1981’s High N’ Dry, have been newly remastered for this collection by the band’s longtime engineer Ronan McHugh, and will be paired with three bonus discs: a previously unreleased, newly mixed live show from a 1980 gig in Oxford, a collection of studio material and B-sides (including the group’s first EP from 1979 and two unreleased performances from a studio session with Thin Lizzy/Marillion producer Nick Tauber), and a disc of live recordings by the BBC (including a controversial set at the Reading Festival in 1980). (For the many fans coveting just the new remasters of the two albums, they will be available on CD and vinyl!)

Formed from a group called Atomic Mass that featured guitarist Pete Willis and bassist Rick Savage, Def Leppard (which also included lead singer Joe Elliott, guitarist Steve Clark and teenage drummer Rick Allen) earned early acclaim when “Getcha Rocks Off” from their independently-released debut EP (recorded with session drummer Frank Noon) was given heavy rotation on the BBC by John Peel. While On Through The Night reached the Top 15 in the U.K., some felt that the band was more concerned with breaking into the American market; Sounds asked “Have Def Leppard changed their spots?” in a headline. (This article may have led to the band’s rough reception at the Reading Festival, where the crowd threw beer cans at the band.

But one person who was not deterred by the band’s status in England was Robert John “Mutt” Lange, producer of AC/DC’s Back In Black. Def Leppard recruited him for the sessions to High N’ Dry, and a video for “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” garnered early airplay on MTV. This, of course, set the stage for the band’s increased success throughout the ’80s, culminating with the bestselling Hysteriain 1987.

The Early Years 79-81 features new notes from MOJOand Classic Rock writer Paul Elliott (not related to Joe) detailing the band’s first steps toward success alongside rare photos and scans of memorabilia. It’s a fine preview for the band’s summer stadium tour alongside a newly-reunited Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. The box set and remasters will be available March 20th.