In July of 1981, Def Leppard released their sophomore studio album titled, High ‘n’ Dry. It was released in the U.K. on July 6 and in the U.S. on July 11. That was 39 years ago, what the heck?!?!? This album not only helped the group establish their musical roots, but it also marked the first Def Leppard record to be produced by Mutt Lange. The first of three collaborations, the next two being Pyromania (1983) and Hysteria (1987); technically, Lange worked with them on Adrenalize (1992) too, but only as executive producer.
Back then, Def Leppard’s sound was still loud and proud, incorporating melodic choruses and heavy guitar riffs. It’s one of my favorite records of theirs, featuring classics such as “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night),” “Another Hit and Run,” “Lady Strange,” “You Got Me Runnin,'” and the well-known “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” that slowly turns to “Switch 625.”
Though a beloved album among many Def Leppard fans, it wasn’t a success upon release. The U.K. press sure didn’t help with the situation as they were upset that the band wanted to conquer the States. In general, 1981 was a weird year for Def Leppard; the tours weren’t that great, they had no budget, they were still a band record labels were betting on, and hardly anybody wanted to interview them because Def Leppard was still an unknown band at the time. Nobody promoted them, it wasn’t until Pyromania, that people were doing stuff to bring attention to them. Thankfully, “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” gained popularity after MTV started playing their video a year later.
I should also mention that High ‘n’ Dry is the last Def Leppard record to feature guitarist Pete Willis as a full-time member, he contributed parts on the following album. I got to give Willis credit for his work with the band because his solo on “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” is so polished and very tasteful, one of my favorite guitar riffs for sure!
You can hear the difference in High ‘n’ Dry compared to their later albums; there’s nothing quite like the head-banging, heavy metal, and hard-rocking style of this one. Thanks to Mutt Lange, Def Leppard gained their hard work and perseverance from High ‘n’ Dry, and it set them up for what was to come, as their career began to take off!
What is your favorite track from High ‘n’ Dry? Let me know in the comments below!
Take care and see ya real soon!