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jonathan churchill

Breaking news for the iPod generation: the mighty Def Leppard are embracing digital. But in a peculiar twist, the band are not making their classic albums available. Instead they are taking the trouble to re-record brand new 2012 versions of their greatest hits.

This is very strange behaviour. I mean really? How much spare time do they have?

Now the Lepps are genuine national treasures – in fact I'm staggered that they weren't invited to pour some sugar on the Queen's Jubilee. But thanks to a long-standing dispute with their ex record label, a whole generation of teenagers have grown up without hearing the awesome power of 'Gods Of War' through tinny little white headphones.

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For the last few years, Spotify and iTunes have been a wasteland for Def Leppard fans with nothing digital available at all. While smug Foreigner and Toto fans swaggered around with shiny new iPods full of digital content, for the Def Leppard faithful it was either a battered 'Hysteria' cassette and an old Walkman, or nothing.

The band did come to digital for the first time last year with 'Mirror Ball – Live And More'. The 'more' part being three brand new tracks, which reminded us all just how great their classic-era was.

In an interview with, lead singer Joe Elliot explained the situation: "When you're at loggerheads with an ex-record label who... is not prepared to pay you a fair amount of money and we have the right to say, 'Well, you're not doing it,' that's the way it's going to be," Elliott tells

"Our contract is such that they can't do anything with our music without our permission, not a thing. So we just sent them a letter saying, 'No matter what you want, you are going to get "no" as an answer, so don't ask.' That's the way we've left it. We'll just replace our back catalog with brand new, exact same versions of what we did."

Sadly the band seems to have conveniently forgotten its own special history... and there are just a few minor points worth considering.

1. Steve Clark
2. Mutt Lange
3. Rick Allen

It's OK though because apparently Mutt has given them a big thumbs up!

According to The two new versions (of 'Rock Of Ages' and 'Pour Some Sugar On Me') meanwhile, got a "total thumbs-up" from one important quarter - original producer Mutt Lange, via guitarist Phil Collen. "Phil sees Mutt a lot," Elliott says, "and he played him the re-records and (Lange) couldn't believe how brilliant they were. He was like, 'Wow guys, incredible job!' Phil was just raving about how much Mutt was raving about them."

What a relief then! If Mutt's OK with it, I'm sure that mitigates the contentious and outrageous issue of erasing Steve Clark. And of course Rick Allen pioneered his drumming style on 'Hysteria' so it is only the earlier material which will have his new sound. I don't think 'Pyromania' sold many copies so people probably won't notice...

It's not all good news though. While the excitement builds for the Lady Gaga generation who can anticipate exciting 'forged' versions of many Def Leppard classics, unfortunately the band have been energised by the process and are hinting that they may record the dreaded 'new material'.

Elliott says Def Leppard might also consider "just releasing a song or two and then put an album out when we've got 10 or 11 songs we've been releasing over time. But we'll see; we come from that old school that follows in the paths of the Eltons and McCartneys and Beatles and Stones and etc. You have this built-in thing that you should be making another album, but the world's moving on and going, 'You don't really need to.'"

But quite frankly if the band has enough time on their hands to re-record their back catalogue, then how about just writing some new hard rock tracks we can all enjoy. I just hope they don't decide to re-record 'X'.

Def Leppard's brand new recordings of 'Rock Of Ages' and 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' are available now in all the usual places. The original CDs (and LPs/cassettes) will probably be available on E-bay or, for most of us, in a box somewhere covered in dust.

Let us know what you think of this situation. Are Def Leppard right to take a stand against their former record label? How come almost every other veteran rock band has found a way to get their music online without resorting to 'forgery'? And why do they never seem to play 'Gods Of War' live?


Jonathan Churchill.
Follow me on Twitter: MetalTalk_1976



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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