Every casual Def Leppard fan has heard of “When Love & Hate Collide;” it was featured on the band’s Vault: Def Leppard Greatest Hits (1980 – 1995) album. The studio version is cool as it’s very stripped down and similar towards the alternative style that Def Leppard was aiming for with Slang (1996). “When Love & Hate Collide” is a beautiful song and for a while, I thought that it was already perfect. Then, I heard the demo version of the song in early 2020.
I became obsessed with the demo version of “When Love & Hate Collide.” It’s so different from the studio version in terms of production. Joe Elliott’s vocals are buried in the mix and the lyrics are altered slightly. The demo version feels more heartfelt and deep; that’s probably because it contains Steve Clark’s final recorded guitar solo. And let me tell you, for his final recorded guitar solo, Clark went out with a bang!
Clark was one of the co-lead guitarists for Def Leppard from 1978 until his death in January 1991. At 30 years old, he died from a mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs. Clark played a crucial part in the band’s earlier sound. He came up with unbelievable riffs that can be heard on “Gods of War,” “Photograph,” “Wasted,” “Let it Go,” “Mirror, Mirror (Look into My Eyes),” and “Tear it Down.”
The demo version of “When Love & Hate Collide” contains one of Clark’s best guitar solos, so I don’t get why the band never released that version as the final product. Maybe it would’ve been painful for Def Leppard to release that demo knowing that Clark isn’t with them anymore. Or maybe Clark’s solo was so amazing that it would’ve been impossible to play it live.
Because the boys demoed “When Love & Hate Collide” for Adrenalize (1992), the song was originally recorded in the style of Hysteria (1987) and Adrenalize. I personally think it sounds nothing like that, but that’s what Wikipedia says. Call me crazy, but the demo version doesn’t sound too far off from the Slang material, therefore, the re-recording wasn’t necessary.
There are pros and cons to both versions of “When Love & Hate Collide.” The studio version has acoustic drums, it’s more melodic, and Elliott’s vocals are amazing. The demo version has weaker vocals, but it’s more laid-back, electric, powerful, and again, it contains Clark’s final recorded guitar solo. Both versions have emotional depth as the lyrics are fantastic, but they both hit the heart in different ways. Plus, the demo version is extra emotional because we’re still grieving the loss of Clark.
I’d also like to point out that I love Vivian Campbell too and I think he’s doing a great job in Clark’s place. But, it would’ve been nice if the band released the demo version as the final product because it would’ve been another great tribute to White Lightning. Besides, I think Campbell could pull off Clark’s solo, if he tried.
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Let me know whether you prefer the demo version of “When Love & Hate Collide” or the studio version!
Take care and see ya real soon!