On March 31, 1992, Def Leppard’s Adrenalize album was released to the public, 28 years ago! After Hysteria (1987) came out, the band wanted to release the next album as soon as possible, or at least after the Hysteria tour ended. However, those plans got scrapped after guitarist Steve Clark’s death on January 8th, 1991. Clark died due to complications of alcohol and prescription pills. He was on a six-month leave at the time; he couldn’t even play because he was drinking too much.
Steve Clark’s presence is all over Adrenalize. From the songs to the guitar riffs to the vocals, everything! Phil Collen recalled the recording process as if he were “playing along to a ghost.” Rather than getting a fifth member, Def Leppard decided to work on the album as a four-piece.
Mutt Lange, Def Leppard’s producer for the previous three albums, came back as producer, but only as executive producer. The band decided to co-produce the album along with their engineer, Mike Shipley. The music scene was also different as grunge was starting to hit the charts. The 90s was an odd time for music, and it was uncertain if the fans would accept the new album. Adrenalize ended up being Def Leppard’s last album categorized as “glam metal” to reach mainstream success. It was also the last Def Leppard album that Mutt Lange produced. Mentally and physically, the band was exhausted after making Adrenalize; Rick Savage mentioned that it wasn’t his favorite album in the band’s catalog.
Though Savage wasn’t a fan of Adrenalize, I loved this album! It saved me from my sufferings of love with “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad,” and it gave my neighbors another reason to hate me with “Let’s Get Rocked”! Then, there’s “White Lightning,” a song dedicated to the Clark. Collen and Clark started it, but after Clark’s passing, the band turned it into a tribute to him, and it depicted his addiction struggles. “White Lightning” and “Let’s Get Rocked” were the last two songs recorded for the album, the latter being the last one finished.
Here’s another one of those “when I first got into Def Leppard” stories: when I first got into Def Leppard, the music video for “Heaven Is,” another track on the album, kept popping on my feed. I thought the title was lame, so I brushed it off, but I eventually gave in, and it turned out to be a great song! It’s a shame they never performed it live.
I miss Steve Clark every day, especially when listening to any track off this album. But I’m thankful for the recordings and contributions he made to Adrenalize, and I’m glad Def Leppard decided to carry on with the album despite the hardships that came with it. Now the band can look back on it and know that many people, like myself, still appreciate how fantastic it is and love the album to this day, 28 years later!
What is your favorite track off of Adrenalize? Let me know in the comments below!
Take care and see ya real soon!