Deep Album Cuts Vol. 102: Def Leppard

Last summer, I wrote an installment of my column The Unstreamables about Def Leppard's Hysteria in which I noted that it and Pyromania are two of the very few Diamond-certified albums in pop history that aren't readily available on Spotify and other streaming services. That finally changed in January, when Def Leppard finally made their early work available for streaming, and Hysteria actually charted in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 for the first time in almost 30 years.

Def Leppard deep album cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. Stagefright
2. Run Riot
3. High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night)
4. Love And Affection
5. Action! Not Words
6. I Wanna Touch U
7. Gods Of War
8. Comin' Under Fire
9. It Could Be You
10. Don't Shoot Shot Gun
11. You Got Me Runnin'
12. Sattelite
13. Excitable
14. Die Hard The Hunter
15. Gift Of Flesh
16. Kings Of Oblivion
17. Switch 625
18. White Lightning

Tracks 9 and 12 from On Through The Night (1980)
Tracks 3, 11 and 17 from High 'n' Dry (1981)
Tracks 1, 5, 8 and 14 from Pyromania (1983)
Tracks 2, 4, 7, 10 and 13 from Hysteria (1987)
Tracks 6 and 18 from Adrenalize (1992)
Track 15 from Slang (1996)
Track 16 from Euphoria (1999)

Def Leppard are one of those bands who have just 2 albums that loom over the rest of their catalog as by far the biggest sellers, so obviously Pyromania and Hysteria had to take up half of this playlist. Those albums had so many singles that I was able to include just about every song that wasn't a hit, and even there, there were some gray areas -- I included "Action! Not Words" and "Comin' Under Fire," non-singles from Pyromania that got enough rock radio play to chart. Some of these songs really sound like hits, though -- "Love And Affection" definitely could've been Hysteria's 8th single if they had managed to work that record even longer.

But of course, Def Leppard has a lot of other records, I didn't want to neglect them too much. On Through The Night established the band as having some pop instincts but not nearly as polished a sound as they'd end up with. It's easy to imagine them never meeting Mutt Lange and going through the '80s sounding more like Judas Priest. Even their first album with Mutt, High 'n' Dry, doesn't have quite the same sheen they'd establish later. But it was cool to highlight the band's harder side and the songs that featured the late Steve Clark, including his instrumental showcase "Switch 625."

They've made a few albums in the 21st century, but I decided to just keep up with their career up through the end of '90s, partly because Euphoria's "Promises" was the last Def Leppard song that got played a ton on U.S. rock radio. I was 10 in 1992 and started buying CDs that year, and Adrenalize was among the first dozen or so CDs I ever bought alongside Pearl Jam and Soul Asylum and so on, which should give you an idea of just how huge Def Leppard still loomed over MTV and pop culture well into the grunge era. As I mentioned in The Unstreamables piece, I was excited to see that the album was produced by Mike Shipley (no relation), who also mixed the band's '80s albums. The Adrenalize track "I Wanna Touch U" fascinates me because it seems like they took a line from the bridge of "Photograph" and built a whole new song around it, kind of the way Cash Money rappers would take a line from a verse and make it the hook for a new track.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
Vol. 80: Meat Loaf
Vol. 81: AC/DC
Vol. 82: Bruce Springsteen
Vol. 83: Pearl Jam
Vol. 84: Green Day
Vol. 85: George Michael and Wham!
Vol. 86: New Edition
Vol. 87: Chuck Berry
Vol. 88: Electric Light Orchestra
Vol. 89: Chic
Vol. 90: Journey
Vol. 91: Yes
Vol. 92: Soundgarden
Vol. 93: The Allman Brothers Band
Vol. 94: Mobb Deep
Vol. 95: Linkin Park
Vol. 96: Shania Twain
Vol. 97: Squeeze
Vol. 98: Taylor Swift
Vol. 99: INXS
Vol. 100: Stevie Wonder
Vol. 101: The Cranberries
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