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Def Leppard: Yeah!

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 (and heavier than the band's last studio album, 2002's X). 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!.


Track Listing:
1) 20th Century Boy
2) Rock On
3) Hanging On the Telephone
4) Waterloo Sunset
5) Hell Raiser
6) 10538 Overture
7) Street Life
8) Drive-In Saturday
9) Little Bit of Love
10) The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll
11) No Matter What
12) He's Gonna Step On You Again
13) Don't Believe A Word
14) Stay With Me

Added: June 5th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Official Def Leppard Web Site
Hits: 3421
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Def Leppard: Yeah!
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-06-05 20:39:23
My Score:

Honestly, I didn't expect to like Yeah! as much as I did. Def Leppard have been putting out music over the last decade that hasn't really set the world on fire, and at first glance a new collection of cover songs didn't seem like something that would bring this once mega-band back into the public spotlight. However, the fact that the band chose to cover songs that were not big hits (well, maybe a few of them were) is a plus, as these are not all songs that most of the listening audience has heard to death. Songs like Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone", Badfinger's "No Matter What", and especially ELO's "10538 Overture", are all given royal treatment. Most folks have heard of Leppard's love of all things Thin Lizzy-check out a scorching rendition of "Don't Believe a Word", and the band gets down and dirty with The Faces "Stay With Me".

There's plenty of other fun songs here, as the band pays homage to The Kinks, Sweet, Mott the Hoople, and T-Rex among others. Def Leppard obviously had a good time putting this set together, and if you want to hear some cool tunes from the 70's, not necessarily monster hits, but solid songs, check this out and see who influenced these guys along the way.

Def Leppard: Yeah!
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-06-05 07:40:05
My Score:

I will be one of the first to admit that I enjoyed the music of Def Leppard back in the Hard Rock heyday of the 80's. Their powerful blend of melody and heavy music made albums like "Pyromania" and "High & Dry" instantly successful and propelled the band on to greatness for many years. In their early years the band never held back references to those that influenced them, and in interviews you would find regular mention of The Sweet, Mott The Hoople and David Bowie. Now, more than twenty years after they came upon the scene the band has decided to pay homage to these artists who helped form and inspire them by giving listeners their renditions of some of this music. Being honest to the originals would be an understatement for as you listen you will find very little Def Leppard present and almost spot on covers of these songs. The choice to make is on whether this is a good or bad thing, and in my opinion I think it is great. Too often we find the bands "interpretations" of classic tracks to be very far from the original or including elements that don't fit at all. Def Leppard's goal was to bring you into their world for these tracks and have you as the listener understand what made them special to them during their formative years. They could do no less than deliver above par performances. Of the fourteen tracks there are a few standout numbers such as "Hell Raiser" and "20th Century Boy" where the band sounds almost exactly like Sweet and T.Rex. Other tracks I enjoyed ended up with "No Matter What" (Badfinger), "Stay With Me" (Faces) and "Rock On" (David Essex). The guys cover a lot of interesting ground by also delivering numbers by Blondie, David Bowie, The Kinks and Mott The Hoople among several other interesting choices. It's up to you as a listener to vote on if you liked the closeness of the sound more than unique interpretations.

The packaging of this album impressed me very much as well, for it is loaded with the necessary photos but also information about each song in the liner notes. The members of the band include where their head was at during the time they heard this song and what it meant to them on a personal level. That increased the appeal of the booklet for me and made it a fun read as I listened to the songs presented. This new release follows their successful Anthology release of a year ago and it is my hope that the band plans to rock like never before on their next studio effort. After all this reminder of the glory of their past and their origins they can do no less for the fans.




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