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Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection

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★★★★½
(118 Reviews)

Def Leppard Biography - Def Leppard Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

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While many of their peers were abandoning ’70s metal and arena rock to hop the punk/new wave bandwagon, Def Leppard smartly stripped the earlier era’s music of its excesses, bolstered it with energetic, pop-savvy hooks and quickly found itself the vanguard of the UK’s new metal revival and one of the ’80s most spectacularly successful rock acts. The first disc of this 35-track, two-and-a-half hour double-disc retrospective focuses on the familiar hits of their early MTV, platinum-selling prime, though the inclusion of the video edit/remixes of ”Pour Some Sugar On Me” and ”Rocket” attempts to cast them in a more club-friendly contemporary groove. But the grittier second disc showcases some of the early, overlooked roots of On Through the Night and High ’N’ Dry, as well as underappreciated later gems like ’99’s ”Promises” and a power-pop-perfect take on Badfinger’s ”No Matter What” from an upcoming covers project. –Jerry McCulley

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  • This is a useful compilation for old-time Def Leppard fans (let’s face it, such fans are by far the most numerous) who wish to relive the classic years and sample some of what the band has cranked out since then. Despite the generally haphazard sequencing of the tracks, here we can hear Leppard evolving from anthemic metal to pop metal to power pop. There are just two tracks from the On Through the Night debut way back in 1980, the so-so “Rock Brigade” and the awesome “Wasted.” That album could’ve been better represented, but otherwise the most well-covered albums in this compilation are the three most important ones – High n’ Dry, Pyromania, and Hysteria, and we have an overwhelming selection of classics from those discs. However, one problem is the inclusion of dated and uninspiring remixes of “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Rocket” (in fact, this version of “Rocket” is missing the killer middle section that was the most interesting part of the original).

    There are fewer tracks from the post-Hysteria albums, and deservedly so, because here we find the band getting much less interesting overall, despite a few late-period surprises like “Paper Sun” and “Promises.” Note that the new track here is a cover of the early-70s power pop chestnut “No Matter What” by Badfinger, and the liner notes tell us that the next Def Leppard release will be a covers album. That really shows you where they’ve been headed for the past decade and a half. This band has had an unlikely evolution from young Zeppelin wannabes to the one and only top-of-world Def Leppard to aging Cheap Trick wannabes. But they’re still worth loving because they sure made the 80s more interesting. [~doomsdayer520~]

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Like many long time Leppard fans, I was thrilled when they were scheduled to release ‘Vault’ as their greatest hits album many years ago (gee, has it been almost a decade already??), but when I finally saw it, I was profoundly disappointed. It was more like a ‘Hysteria’ tribute than anything else. Nothing against that particular album…it WAS enormously popular, and I believe was the 2nd best selling record of the 80’s (behind ‘Thriller’) but c’MON! The absolute stupidity of ignoring their entire first album??!! What the heck…? I am happy to know I was not the only person who felt this way.

    Jump ahead a few years, when the recording trend seems to be centered around How many versions of Greatest Hits by bands can we come up with? After several different incarnations of Def Leppard’s Best Of stuff, we finally see a TWO record set that seems to (for the most part) give a decent, well-rounded view of this monumentally successful and horribly underrated band. First off they finally focused some attention to their first record, ‘On Through The Night’ by including ‘Wasted’ and ‘Rock Brigade’ but even though I enjoy both of these songs, it probably would have been a better choice to add ‘Hello America’ rather than Wasted. Either way, a pretty decent addition, and nice to see their first album recognized.

    High & Dry has always been my personal favorite record by this band. Ignored by so many (so called) fans and once again, under-appreciated, this is Leppard at their creative and rocking best. I don’t believe any of their records matches this one for it’s sheer rocking dominance and incredibly catchy hooks and driving songs. Finally adding ‘Switch 625′ to the end of ‘Bringing On the Heartbreak’ was a natural which SHOULD have been done on ALL previous editions of their so-called Best Of releases. I could squabble over the addition of some songs over others, but without including almost every single track, nobody would ever be truly satisfied, so I felt they did right with this selection.

    Pyromania certainly was the record that put Def Leppard on the map (at least in America). I was surprised to read in the liner notes how it wasn’t until Hysteria that they finally made it big in their own country. A surprise to be sure. I was familiar with the band since before Pyromania hit the shelves in the States, so I wasn’t surprised at ALL when this record went through the roof after the release of ‘Photograph’ (one of my least favorite of their bigger hits). But overall I felt they gave a great rendition of what this record had to offer.

    Hysteria is really the record which re-defined Pop/Metal in America, and also put Leppard on the map in England. I still recall hearing ‘Animal’ for the first time in San Diego and without even being told who sang it, I just KNEW who it was. That perfect Leppard sound is quite unique in the world of music. Once again, nobody will be 100% satisfied with every selection from this album because somebody will ALWAYS believe they sacrificed one song for the addition of another, but after thinking about it, they DID include all the major popular hits. I would have been thrilled if they dropped ‘Rocket’ (their most popular ‘bad’ song) and added ‘Excitable’ instead, but lets not complain.

    Adrenalize was another under-appreciated record which I found to be almost as good as Pyromania, and definitely gave us some great rockin’ songs. The notable absence of ‘Make Love Like A Man’ is probably the biggest omission on this entire compilation. But again, only a minor complaint.

    Almost everything after Adrenalize has been an odd mixture of experimentation and sometimes it paid off (Euphoria was pretty good overall) and sometimes the fans reacted with an almost snubbing of ‘Slang’ and ‘Retro Active’. Both records were not appreciated for what the band were trying to accomplish (at least this is MY opinion) and the dismal record sales sent a pretty clear message to the band: STOP EXPERIMENTING AND GET BACK TO YOUR ROCKIN’ ROOTS. Unfortunately they continued the trend and gave us ‘X’ which was a full record of nothing but semi-lame Power Ballads, none of which were radio-friendly (I should know since I’ve been in radio 15+ years). I was SO looking forward to this album, and I was SO disappointed when they added absolutely NO hard-driving songs at all. I am still mystified by this odd decision. Again, the fans (which are quite diverse and many) for the most part virtually ignored this record because sales-wise, it was quite a disappointment to the Record Execs, and rightly so. Us fans have come to expect a few things from this band, and songs with heavy guitars and BIG sound is what we want and usually get, but with ‘X’ we were let down in a BIG way. I understand there are many who feel strongly that this record was and IS great and entirely upset at how the so-called Core Leppard Fans snubbed it. Oh well. I’m not going to like an album just because somebody ELSE liked it. I consider myself an honest-to-goodness hard-core LONG TIME Def Leppard fan (since 1981, PRE Pyromania) and I felt the record stunk to high heaven. I don’t like to say that about my favorite band, but like it or not, that is MY opinion. But I am happy to say that by and large, if I were to choose my personal own Best Of album of Leppard tunes, it would be pretty dang close to what Rock Of Ages ended up being. All things considered, as I said earlier, Finally, somebody got it right. Leppard Fans world-wide REJOICE!

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Well, I’d just like to say that reviewing a 2-disc album with 35 totaled tracks is going to be a little hard for me seeing that this is only my sixth review online so far, but here it goes:
    I read about Def Leppard in a Guinness World Record Book a few years ago, then in late May or early June I saw a commercial for this album and thought, ”Wow, Def Leppard sounds good!”. The day school let out, I went to the store and bought this. A good word to describe it is, ”Wow!”, or ”Awesome!”.
    Pros: 35 tracks, gives you a perfect way to start off with Def Leppard. It also shows their pop side and their raw metal side. And because they know how to do it, it sounds great! Plus, the artwork on the front and back covers is tremendously cool!
    Cons: Now I’m not saying that a lot of stuff from Hysteria, Pyromania and High ‘n’ Dry is bad, but they mix it up between the two discs! They also skip out on a few tracks I heard were pretty good, so that suggests to me that maybe this should have been a box set instead, while I don’t know for sure, that’s just my opinion. For instance, I heard about the electric version of ”Two Steps Behind” and ”Gods of War” from Hysteria.
    Favorite Tracks: Hard to say when you have three dozen, but just a few of my favorite songs would be: ”Pour Some Sugar On Me”, ”Rocket”, ”Armageddon It”, ”Wasted”, ”Die Hard The Hunter” and ”Promises”.
    Overall: A great compilation mostly from between ‘80-’92, with some latter stuff. It’s just great, fun-loving pop-metal from one of the ultimate ’80s bands. I’d strongly suggest this to anybody who wants to get into Def Leppard, plus check out ”On Through The Night”, their debut album.

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • 1) It’s the best compilation that offers 35 of the band’s tracks.
    2) It gives you an excellent look at their most successful years (1980-1992.)
    3) Having “Rock of Ages” will save you the trouble of getting three of their albums “High ‘n’ Dry” “Pyromania” and “Hysteria” due to the fact that most of the tracks from those albums are here.
    4) This compilation is less expensive and better than the two, separate greatest-hits packages from the band.
    5) While it consists a very good deal of the albums I mentioned above, it also gives you a good sample of songs from their other albums such as “On Through The Night”, “Retro Active” and “Euphoria”.
    6) It’s less expensive than getting both of the other greatest-hits packages.
    7) The inside booklet features comments from the band members on each song, plus cool photos and a brief overview of their career. 8) Because this covers their career (though mostly 80-92 like I mentioned) it shows how the band can change their sound but still sound great.
    9) The two CDs are packaged in the same case so you don’t have to spend extra money as if it was a box set.
    10) Def Leppard Rocks!
    Overall:
    This is a very well put-together compilation of a great rock band. I strongly recommend getting it, it’ll be hard to stop listening to it and you’ll instantly love it.

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I used to have one of Def Leppard’s older Greatest Hits Packages (Vault). This is one of those bands that as a child of the 80’s, I knew very well. Def Leppard in the 80’s were a band that you simply could not ignore. I knew all their hits, I had a few of their tapes back in the day, but as time went on, they felt like a band I had “outgrown”. They tried to change their style in 1996 (Slang), but then changed back to their more traditional sound after that, but I wasn’t terribly interested anymore (although I did like a track here and there).

    When they came out with this 2 CD Greatest Hits package, I ditched all my existing Def Leppard CD’s and went with this, as I felt it comprised all the songs of theirs I really liked. There’s no point in listing them here, I’d just be copying the tracklisting. But it’s almost all enjoyable. It has a bunch of songs from their earliest days before they got their mega success, which is when a lot of people thought the band lost it’s soul. This covers everything up until their most recent studio album as of now, that being “X”.

    If you ever liked Def Leppard in the past, and don’t have any of their albums, get this. It’s a great career covering retrospective that hits just about all the corners of their albums.

    Posted on December 31, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now