Inspired by Mike Ladano’s Highway to Lists: Live Streaming AC/DC Deep Cuts post, I thought it’d be fun to do a similar post about Def Leppard deep cuts. But I’ll also include rare hits that didn’t make their studio albums; yet are still worth mentioning. I’ve created some guidelines to make things easier for me. So the songs can’t have articles on Wikipedia, they can’t have the same title as the album, they can’t be singles, and they can’t be on more than one album. I’ve also excluded songs the band performed live and the entire Hysteria (1987) catalog. One of the songs has a video, but Def Leppard never performed it live, so it still counts in my eyes!
10. “She’s Too Tough” from Retro Active (1993)
I heard about this track from the same blogger on his post from one of his record store trips (I believe, or maybe it was another blogger?). Joe Elliott’s vocals were wow; I mean, his vocals still sound great now, but the power and energy to his voice back then were superb! Those high notes and screams are stuff most rock singers would dream of having. “She’s Too Tough” was recorded during the Adrenalize (1992) sessions and released on the “Heaven Is” single in the UK, “Tonight” single in the US (1993), and as a bonus track on the Japanese version of Adrenalize. All of the tracks on Retro Active (1993) got refined from the original recordings.
9. “Desert Song” from Retro Active (1993)
Technically, “Desert Song” has an article on Wikipedia, but it’s too good not worth mentioning! An outtake from the Hysteria (1987) sessions and recorded as an instrumental for the same album, “Desert Song,” was forgotten until Retro Active came along. It is the only Def Leppard track to feature both Steve Clark and Vivian Campbell (Clark on guitar and Campbell on backing vocals). The song has such a dark tone, it’s loud and aggressive, and I love it! I thought the small drum parts toward the last five seconds of it were unique. Poetically, “Desert Song,” tells the story of a man facing death alone. I was happy I could bang my head to it, so the lyrics were a bonus for me!
8. “Fractured Love” from Retro Active (1993)
Another outtake from the Hysteria sessions; I didn’t know about this song until recently. Maybe if I had known the Retro Active album had more than “Two Steps Behind” and “Miss You in a Heartbeat,” I would’ve given the album a chance long ago when I got into Def Leppard. The intro is so cool with just the drums and Elliott singing, and then, BAM!!! Elliot screams his lungs out, and the rest of the band comes in. I love Def Leppard’s backing vocals, and their backing vocals on “Fractured Love” are well-done, like a lot of their songs. Again, Elliott’s vocals back then were spot on! Also, Clark on guitar is something everyone should treasure!
7. “Worlds Collide” from the 2014 deluxe edition of Slang (1996)
My relationship with Slang (1996) is hard to explain because I love the album, but at the same time, it’s so weird hearing Def Leppard play grunge! I get all my music from Spotify, and they only had the deluxe edition of the Slang album, so I listened to that. I grew to like the album, despite the negative reviews the band received from it. But there was one particular track that got me banging my head like there’s no tomorrow; that track was “Worlds Collide.” It’s on the b-side to “Promises,” the UK single. The guitars are so cut-throat. I think this is the most aggressive song Def Leppard has ever done, at least one of the few they’ve ever done. I love that the Slang album had so much emotion overall. It was raw and real, and fans didn’t expect it at the time.
6. “Answer to the Master” from On Through the Night (1980)
I apologize for breaking some of the guidelines I created. The boys did play “Answer to the Master” live in concert, but that was back in 1979-1980. They haven’t played it since. A lot of fans cherish the early years with Pete Willis, and I now understand why. Def Leppard now and Def Leppard in the late 70s sound like two completely different bands. Rick Allen’s drumming with two arms was out-of-this-world, considering how young he was. Pete Willis and Steve Clark made a cool guitar duo, definitely harder and tougher playing-wise. That guitar solo at 1:45 is one of the most badass things I’ve ever heard! On the album, “Answer to the Master” is track #10 (out of 11 total).
5. “Guilty” from Euphoria (1999)
I don’t know why, but the main riff to “Guilty” reminds me of “Foolin,'” so that was a bonus for me. Oddly enough, I think of Clark every time I listen to this track, so that’s another reason why I love “Guilty.” It is a beautiful song, though. I’m not a big fan of Euphoria (1999), but there are some killer tracks on that album; some songs they never performed live. It was between “Day After Day” and “Guilty” for the Euphoria portion of the list, both great songs, but I connect more with the latter. On the album, it is track #11 (out of 13 total).
4. “Cry” from X (2002)
Though X is mostly a pop album, “Cry;” says otherwise! The guitars are too hardcore for a pop song. I forgot about this song; it wasn’t until the X album’s most recent anniversary (18th anniversary) that I dug into this track. When the boys sing “cry” in the chorus, it hits you like a ton of bricks, which I love! On the album, “Cry” is track #10 (out of 13 total).
3. “Comin’ Under Fire” from Pyromania (1983)
Last summer, when I first listened to Pyromania, I was waiting for “Rock of Ages” to come on because that and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” were the only Def Leppard songs I liked at the time. Once I got over that phase, I set out to listen carefully to every track on the album, and I ended up liking more songs than I thought I would. Sorry Hysteria fans, but I think Pyromania (1983) is a way better album because it kicks you in the face more, while the vocals are inexplicitly perfect. The chorus to “Comin’ Under Fire'” is catchy, and because they never performed it live, it made me appreciate the song more. On the album, “Comin’ Under Fire” is track #8 (out of 10 total).
2. “You Got Me Runnin'” from High ‘n’ Dry (1981)
Def Leppard performed this in concert too; I might as well get rid of my guideline of not picking songs they performed live, haha. They haven’t played it since the High ‘n’ Dry days, so I think it should be fine! Since the band hasn’t performed “You Got Me Runnin'” in years, I’d be curious to see how they’d play it now because the live recording I listened to while writing this post was a bit sloppy. Now that they’re older, they’d be able to polish the song up a bit. Also, High ‘n’ Dry (1981) is such a kickass album, so how could they not perform more tracks from it? On the album, “You Got Me Runnin'” is track #6 (out of 10 total).
1. “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)” from Adrenalize (1992)
It is a single, and there is a video for it, but Def Leppard never performed this song live, despite how awesome it is. Adrenalize is such a brilliant album, and I never get tired listening to it, except for “Make Love Like a Man.” But think about the times; when grunge was kicking into the early 90s, Def Leppard still kicked their a**es! Every time I listen to “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion),” I try to figure out why they never performed it live, and I still don’t have an answer for that. I remember watching this BBC documentary of Def Leppard from 1989, and in one scene, they showed Phil Collen working on his part for “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion).” Just knowing Clark was still alive during some of the Adrenalize sessions; makes it more heartbreaking yet so magical to take in.
I know I broke a few of my guidelines, but I think I picked some good songs for this list! Def Leppard has so many hits, yet they still play the same songs over and over again. I still love them, though! But let me know what your favorite Def Leppard deep cuts/rarities are in the comments below!
Take care and see ya real soon!