Def Leppard: The Story so Far review – Rock-framed pop gold

The best of three albums, it's a collection of classic pop-cum-hard-rock anthems

The Story so Far – the Best Of
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Artist: Def Leppard
Genre: Rock
Label: USM

There is a lesson to be learned by Def Leppard’s longevity at the coalface of rock music: at the core, they’re pop tarts.

Initially, the Sheffield band sided with AC/DC’s assault and battery approach and then – studiously avoiding their home town’s post-punk output of Human League, ABC, Clock DVA, and the like – grabbed onto the coat tails of what was called the New Wave of British heavy metal.

The band, however, had grown up with David Bowie and glam rock, and before they disappeared down the same hole as one-time comrades Tygers of Pang Tang, they teamed up with pop producer Mutt Lange and delivered three textbook examples of how to make rock music whistle-friendly.

Between three albums (1983's Pyromania, 1987's Hysteria, 1992's Adrenalize) Def Leppard rewrote the rulebook by consciously writing pop songs and then reframing them as hard rock nuggets. There are too many instances on this latest Best Of (the band's third), but if you're looking for exemplars of the form you'd be hard pressed to hear better than Pour Some Sugar On Me, Love Bites, Animal, and the utterly ridiculous Let's Get Rocked.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture