Rock, rock, till they drop!

Def Leppard Covers Up, Hits The Road
Veteran pop/metal outfit Def Leppard is showing no signs of slowing down, as evidenced by its jam-packed summer/fall schedule. First up is a double-disc career overview, “Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection,” due May 17 via Island. A few months later, an all-covers album will follow, in addition to a U.S. tour of minor league baseball stadiums this summer with Bryan Adams.
While the group will stick to the hits on the Adams dates, Leppard will likely dig up a few forgotten gems for its headlining gigs.
“We’re actually going to do some other gigs as well — we’ll probably throw a few rarities in,” guitarist Phil Collen tells “I’ve been listening to some of the old sh*t, so you never know. ‘Mirror Mirror,’ maybe, or even ‘Ride into the Sun,’ from the first EP — it’ll be nice to throw things in like that. But we have a huge list of stuff to do.”
Leppard followed the same mindset while assembling “The Definitive Collection,” as several forgotten favorites, including “Die Hard the Hunter,” “Paper Sun” and “Wasted” are spotlighted. “It’s a double album,” Collen explains. “It’s like ‘favorite tracks,’ and that’s how we went about doing that one. We asked our fans what they wanted to hear really, and they got a list together.”
But fans seem most excited for the yet-to-be titled all-covers set. The song list has yet to be finalized, as the group decided to record more cuts than it originally planned. Collen admits that the idea for the project was first hatched years ago. “Joe [Elliott] has been wanting to do it for like 20 years,” he says. “He’s like, ‘Oh, it’ll be great, like [David Bowie’s] “Pin-Ups”!’ Someone mentioned it at the label and we just jumped on it. We kind of had a list for years anyway.”
Collen confirms that the album will include “A bunch of stuff — all ’70s stuff. Most of it is songs that we grew up with in England. ‘No Matter What’ by Badfinger is going to be the leadoff single. We’ve done ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by the Kinks, T. Rex, Mott The Hoople, Roxy Music and Thin Lizzy. And a lot of it is obscure; it’s not the standard stuff. It’s not like Stones or Beatles songs.”
As for the musical approach, Collen says, “They vary. Some of them are like we’ve kept almost karaoke versions, [while] other ones are completely different. It’s not any one thing; it’s however we felt for each song, really.” A preview of what’s to come can be sampled on the “Rock of Ages,” which will feature “No Matter What.”
Here are tracks that have been recorded for the all-covers album:
“10538 Overture” (ELO)
“20th Century Boy” (T. Rex)
“Don’t Believe a Word” (Thin Lizzy)
“Drive in Saturday” (David Bowie)
“Hanging on the Telephone” (Blondie)
“Hellraiser” (Sweet)
“He’s Gonna Step on You Again” (John Kongos)
“No Matter What” (Badfinger)
“Little Bit of Love” (Free)
“Rock On” (David Essex)
“Stay With Me” (The Faces)
“Street Life” (Roxy Music)
“The Golden Age of Rock & Roll” (Mott The Hoople)
“Waterloo Sunset” (The Kinks)
“American Girl” (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
“Heartbeat” (Jobriath)
“How Does It Feel” (Slade)
“Kick Out the Jams” (MC5)
“Roxanne” (The Police)
“Dear Friends” (Queen)
“When I’m Dead and Gone” (McGuinness Flint)
“Winter Song” (Lindisfarne)