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  • Yeah? This disc should have been titled: “Hell, Yes!!!” Put this in your CD player and return to the glitter days of the early 70s. Although there are blatant hints on previous albums and videos, this collection affirms the sound that eventually would become Def Leppard. I always knew there was a reason why I had to get the latest album and stand in line to get tickets for the next tour. Luckily, I grew up on the shores of the north coast – I have caught Lep shows in four cities [Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, and Toledo] at six different venues!

    Since the liner notes explain the band’s exposure to these artists, I would be amiss if I didn’t share Glam Rock’s availability in the Midwest. “The Buzzard – Cleveland’s 101 FM WMMS” exposed north central Ohio to The Spiders from Mars, T-Rex, and Mott. At the time we had to drive toward the lake to get reception on our FM converters, but until we were in range the 8track blared Aladdin Sane, The Slider, or All the Young Dudes. Late night broadcasts of In Concert, The Midnight Special, or Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert gave us the stunning visuals. Many a night was spent in front of the television with the sound turned down low for just a glimpse of Thin Lizzy or Queen or The Faces. David Essex and David Bowie appeared on the various variety hours, such as Sonny & Cher. I am definitely old enough to remember and have the fisticuffs scars to prove it. Across the pond, we didn’t have a Glam Rock movement, so to speak. Our Glammers had a raw edge and very quickly morphed into Punk or New Wave.

    Now, this album rocks from the opening chords and handclaps of “20th Century Boy” to the final drum roll and waning riff of “Stay With Me.” The folksy harmonies on the aforementioned T-Rex track, “20th Century Boy,” sharpen images of Marc Bolan, gliding on the stage. David Essex’s “Rock On” – finally does. Phil and Viv shred, enough said. Technically, the next cut isn’t really a Blondie song, but I’ve only heard Debbie Harry’s version of the Nerves’ “Hanging on the Telephone.” If Blondie ripped it up in 1978, then Leppard mauls the tune in 2006. “Waterloo Sunset,” from the Brothers Davies, a.k.a. The Kinks, never sounded sweeter. Speaking of Sweet, what would any respectable cover album from Sheffield be without at least one choice Sweet track? Personally, I still like Retroactive’s “Action” better, but the band sufficiently rails out “Hell Raiser.” ELO’s “10538 Overture” eerily grabs onto the listener – not unlike “Desert Song.” Again, the guitars scorch! Joe Elliot turns in one fine vocal performance on Roxy Music’s “Street Life.” Then he out does himself. The band’s faithful cover of David Bowie’s “Drive-In Saturday” drips with the soul that would become the Thin White Duke from the transition period between “Diamond Dogs” and “Young Americans.” Just when you think, “No way, can Joe top those vocals,” he does. His bluesy pop chops are thoroughly satisfying on Free’s “Little Bit of Love.” Def Leppard oozes Mott the Hoople from the chunky guitars to the layered harmonies. “Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” is raucously fun – like it should be. A personal thanks to the band for including a remixed “No Matter What.” I didn’t plunk down my cash for this Badfinger song on Rock of Ages. Although it is a little too paint-by-numbers, it’s cool. I never heard John Kongos’ “He’s Gonna Step on You Again,” so now it’s Leppardized. Thankfully, the next song also, falls into the paint-by-numbers category. For pure vibe, it is spooky how close the boys play Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word” – Joe channels Phil Lynott, while the band pays homage. As I said before the album closes with Phil Collen wailing The Faces’ “Stay with Me,” but Vivian Campbell’s slide guitar really brings this fine collection of cover tunes to a close.

    Is Def Leppard’s latest album worth your money? Simply: YEAH!

    The only thing wrong with Def Leppard’s cover album is that it wasn’t a double album. Sure, some of their song choices wouldn’t have been mine. I may have chosen “Telegram Sam” or “All the Way from Memphis” or “Starman” or “Fox on the Run,” but the band will need some B-sides… And then there might be a Retroactive-Revisted. Also, there should have been a Led Zeppelin song, perhaps, “D’yer Mak’er,” and I would have thoroughly enjoyed The Hollies’ “Long Cool Woman.”

    For those who are too young to remember the album jackets depicted in the liner notes – Here we go: Rick Savage: Freddy Mercury on Queen II; Vivian Campbell: Marc Bolan on Electric Warrior; Joe Elliott: David Bowie on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; Rick Allen: Lou Reed on Transformer; and Phil Collen: Iggy Pop on Raw Power. The album wear on Joe’s photo is a nice touch.

    One final comment: I got the Wal-Mart bonus disc, so Joe, how about a video for “Space Oddity.” I envision you, as Major Tom… And wouldn’t it be a kick, if David Bowie reprised the role of Ground Control. I believe the world needs to hear you sing with one of your greatest influences. It would be an instant classic, like Bing and Bowie!

    Posted on January 31, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I was originally skeptical about this album. I really did not know what to expect especially after Def Leppard’s last album X. The band seemed to forget they were a rock band. However, after buying this album my skepticism was put to rest. Leppard has not rocked out this hard since Pyromania. They have gone back to their roots, literally, recording an album of some of their favorite songs from the 60’s and 70’s. It also sounds like they tuned their guitars lower like they do when they play live. This gives the album a concert-like feel. You can tell they put a lot of time into recording these songs and they played each one with enthusiasm. This is quite different from X in which they seemed like they were trying too hard to be something they are not.

    The band invited various people to play on YEAH! including family members, Ian Hunter, Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) and others. Here is a run down of the album:

    1. 20th Century Boy: T-Rex
    Great opening song! After listening to this one I could tell immediately this album was going to be good.

    2. Rock On: David Essex
    I love the hard rocking ending they added to this one something the original did not have.

    3. Hanging on the Telephone: made famous by Blondie
    Interesting chose, still a decent song.

    4. Waterloo Sunset: The Kinks
    I remember listening to a clip of this a long time ago, however I don’t remember it being this good.

    5. Hell Raiser: Sweet
    Never knew Motley Crue ripped this song off (Kickstart My Heart). Kind of sad but I still like both songs still. Justin Hawkins helps Leppard out on this one.

    6. 10538 Overture: ELO
    Sounds like nothing Def Leppard has recorded before. Very classical sounding.

    7. Street Life: Roxy Music
    Rocks pretty hard. Puddle of Mud ripped some of the parts of this song off when they made She Hates Me.

    8. Drive-In Saturday: David Bowie
    One of the slower ones on the album. Leppard tried to record it closely to the original.

    9. Little Bit of Love: Free
    An upbeat song.

    10. The Golden Age of Rock `N’ Roll: Mott the Hoople
    My favorite song on the album. The band just lets it rip on this one.

    11. No Matter What: Bad Finger
    The band seems to love this one. It was previously released on Rock of Ages greatest hits. I think its ok but not near the best on this album.

    12. He’s Gonna Step on You Again: John Kongos
    I love the rhythm on this song. Some of Rick Allen’s best drum work ever.

    13. Don’t Believe a Word: Thin Lizzy
    The band recorded this one with a classical rock style.

    14. Stay With Me: Rod Stewart
    Phil Collen sings on this one. He sounds very similar to Rod. It was originally released as a B-Side for X.

    The album art is also very good. It contains pictures of the band dressed as Glam Rockers. They all look like David Bowie. In the booklet Phil and Joe explain why each track was chosen and what each song means to them.

    I highly recommend this album.

    Posted on January 31, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I picked up this latest Def Leppard CD as a birthday present for my good friend. I am so glad we got to listen to it together that afternoon at work, because this album is great.
    Since the radio stations these days play nothing worth even mentioning many times new releases slip through the cracks, and I might have missed this one.
    This is a fine tribute to some true masterpieces of British rock.
    Every original version looms large in my collection and the Def’s cover them in such a way as to actually make them their own. This is a fine example of how a great band has been influenced by other outstanding writers and musicians.
    Give this a real listen.

    Posted on January 31, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve never completely understood why classic-rock artists with catalogs as deep as Styx and Toto feel compelled to record an album of covers. But among the latest bands to pay tribute to their musical influences is Def Leppard, and Yeah! actually makes far more sense than either Styx’s Big Bang Theory or Toto’s Through the Looking Glass. In fact, it’s easy to hear Def Leppard’s roots in these 14 British pop-rock songs from the early and mid-1970s – including fully Leppard-ized versions of the Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset,” T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy,” David Essex’s “Rock On,” the Faces’ “Stay With Me,” Free’s “Little Bit of Love” and Sweet’s “Hell Raiser.” The members of Def Leppard have always proclaimed their debt to that glam-slammed era, and not a single one of their choices sounds out of place here. It’s just too bad they didn’t do even more with ELO’s “10538 Overture” and Badfinger’s “No Matter What.” Notably absent is anything by Queen.

    Despite the limitations of recording a covers album – the band has to remain at least somewhat true to the originals to make its point – these songs are a natural fit, and Yeah! comes off sounding almost like a traditional Def Leppard album which evey they were having trouble producing. Of course, by the time this thing played out, I was ready to slap on High ‘N’ Dry, Pyromania or Hysteria. Don’t get me wrong: This is a fitting tribute to the artists who inspired Def Leppard to become Def Leppard. But the band’s own distinct brand of music speaks for itself — and, in turn, has influenced countless other artists so much that a Def Leppard cover will one day belong on some other band’s own version of Yeah!.

    Posted on January 31, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Yeah! is what a cover album should be. Not simply songs that were once popular and then redone note for note by a new band. Def Leppard reconstructs to what American ears might be obscure songs. These are songs that were instrumental (pun intended) in forming the band’s taste in music in the 1970’s. Either listeners will buy into the concept that these are song Def Leppard liked and wanted to do or they will complain that they didn’t cover obvious songs or just retread one fo their old albums.

    The end result is a solid album, frankly one of the best they have done for a long while. Perhaps it is because they could “be someone else” rather than the particularly contrived X album which was more of an unintended self-parody.

    Yeah! is a great album for not only Def Leppard fans, but fans of the 1970’s UK rock scene.

    Posted on January 31, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now