Def Leppard’s Debut Album Released 38 Years Ago

Text by Phil Ashdown.

On Through the Night is the debut studio album by the English rock band Def Leppard. It was released on 14 March 1980 and produced by Tom Allom and peaked at No. 15 on the UK album charts and No. 51 in America. The album features re-recorded versions of “Rocks Off” and “Overture” which could originally be found on the band’s independently released EP, originals of which are now a real collector’s items. Some other tracks are re-recorded versions of early demos.

The album was certified gold by the RIA on 18 November 1983 and Platinum on 9 May 1989.

The singles that were released from the album, “Wasted” and “Hello America” only achieved moderate success at home reaching number 61 and 45 respectively in the UK singles chart.

The album received mostly positive reviews on its release and established the band as one of the leading lights of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) along with Iron Maiden and Saxon. Canadian journalist Martin Popoff praised the album for being “one of the most polished and savvy of the NWOBHM”. It brought to mind the sound of successful rock acts like Thin Lizzy, UFO, and even Queen, certainly in terms of production values and song structures. It had a less raw sound than some of their contemporaries and takes its cues from the burgeoning metal scene with some more mainstream sensibilities. The band displayed a wisdom beyond their years, especially for a debut album, mixing melody and heaviness, with some incredibly tight musicianship and vocal performances.

They soon became the darlings of the British music press but this was proved to be short-lived as the band spent time and effort trying to “break America”. The press and fans accused the band of “selling out” as they toured across the Atlantic and neglected their roots in the UK seeking a more clean and commercial sound than their NWOBHM peers.

Line Up
Joe Elliott – Vocals
Rick Allen – Drums
Rick Savage – Bass
Pete Willis – Guitar
Steve Clark – Guitar

Tracklisting
01. Rock Brigade
02. Hello America
03. Sorrow Is A Woman
04. It Could Be You
05. Satellite
06. When the Walls Come Tumblin’ Down
07. Wasted
08. Rocks Off
09. It Don’t Matter
10. Answer To The Master
11. Overture

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