Dear Def Leppard

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Dear Def Leppard,

I’m not usually in the habit of exulting rock stars in the blogosphere, but I’m making a rare exception in your case. I want you to know how much you mean to me.

When I listen to your music I’m all sighs and sounds and undulating angles. I am joyful. I feel life in the simplest way imaginable. I am pulsing with harmonies, riffs and life-affirming lyrics. I don’t care about the quest for perfection in an imperfect world that often leaves me alienated. I hear your clarion call to rock and I’m a believer once again.

If I am having a bad day, if the fell clutch of circumstance conspires to bring me down, I have only to hear the opening chord of “Animal” and the clouds clear away, revealing virgin blue skies. If I’m having a good day, the warmth and humour in “Rock of Ages” catapult me to the highest strata of bliss. Music has that kind of power; it holds sway over every fibre of humanity and all that makes us fragile, damned and beautiful. It is in music that souls are saved and lives resurrected from the gapping void of infinity. There is no stronger medicine. But of course, you know that. This is what you do for a living. You provide a perpetual burst of serotonin to millions of people. 

Your story is, of course, part of why I love and respect you so much. It is difficult to reflect on your contribution to music without feeling inspired by the hardships and tragedies you have surmounted against all odds, chances and common sense. I can’t think of any other rock band that has sprung up from the ashes, like a phoenix from the flame, to triumph over the bloodiest of bludgeonings in quite the way you have.

Rick Allen, you have heard this a million times, but let me tell you that you are a mountain of inspiration. I have no idea where you found the strength to not only come back from what happened to you, but to become an even better musician and sock it to the fates with an almighty snarl. Your awesomeness defies Newton’s laws of physics.

Joe Elliott, the key to any real greatness soars beyond the muted greys of talent and tenacity, even attitude. You have all that in goliath spades. But you also have a rare generosity of spirit, and that lifts you far above anyone else.

Rick Savage, Phil Collen, Vivian Campbell, you rock my socks off. You are beyond premier league – you are über-league. How does it feel to bring so much happiness to the world?

Steve Clark, RIP you golden Apollo. You will never be forgotten. It is interesting how one so vulnerable had the clout and intensity to powerhouse a space station.

Music is my religion and I have always kept the faith, and this faith is restored and reignited like a bright spark amidst the darkest clefts of the abyss whenever I hear your music. 

Thank you for the love and the joy that you bring to my life ❤

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26 comments

  1. Brett

    I have felt the same way about Def Leppard and recently had a resurgence in my heart for their music. Seeing the video for “Pour Some Sugar On Me” (which, for many, many weeks dominated MTV) made me want to play guitar. It literally displayed the power of music: it reproduced! I got to see them in Vegas perform Viva Hysteria and it was transcendent. They were outrageously good and amazingly so, it being 25 years after I first heard the album. I am an atheist, but that was church. They inspired me to pick my guitar up again after a few years of neglect.

    I’ve come to appreciate every era of Leppard’s music and just how amazing professional they are as a band. Maybe the most professional band of all time. This adjective may leave some cold, but it shouldn’t. I’m talking about the whole package here: songwriting, recording, performing, fan appreciation and all while remaining seemingly down-to-earth! Thank goodness I was here on the planet at a time they were making music. And thank you for holding them up in exultation for all to be seen.

    • D’arcy

      Brett, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I’m delighted that my tribute has struck a chord with you (no pun intended!).

      I totally agree about the church thing; listening to Lep is a transcendent experience for me too. Not in a heavy magic and miracles kind of way, but I feel CONNECTED. It’s an instant channel to all that is good and cheering and life-affirming. I totally agree about the professional part, btw. What can I say, Brett, except that I’m listening to “Stand Up” right now and have a giant smile on my face. I feel good. That’s what it’s all about.

      • Brett

        Cheers. “Stand Up” is one of those songs that’s been hitting me in the feels lately. I highly, highly recommend listening to that with headphones. One of the things Leppard are brilliant at is layering lots of pieces so that they kind of wash over you. Phil did a beautiful job with the guitars on that album, the vocal harmonies are heartbreakingly good (as is the rest of Joe’s performance, as usual), I love the lyrics, and Rick and Sav are just laying down the rhythm. I’m just glad I’m not the only one who feels this attached to their music.

        By the way, I’ve pre-ordered the Viva Hysteria DVD/CD deluxe set and cannot wait until it’s released here tomorrow!

        • D’arcy

          Hitting you in the feels! I love that. Duly assimilated into my own lexicon now. And I’m totally with you on the layering of sound; I probably listen to Lep mostly on my iPod anyway. You could say the same about 90% of “Hysteria” – I mean listening to ‘Gods’ with earphones is a trip. A dark one, towards the end… But hey. Oh man, I’m listening to “Love Bites” as I type. We should have a transatlantic Lep party. Enjoy the DVD!

          • Brett

            I’m down. The time difference would make the party suck for one of us though.

            I recently had to drive from Southern California to Northern (about 9 hours) and I tried something new: having loaded a few hundred Leppard songs on my phone, I hit Shuffle and took off. You almost forget how many songs you love! I must have killed 4 hours that way (Hey, don’t judge…the middle of Cali is boring as hell).

  2. God I love what you do with words. Seriously, this is the best love letter I have ever read. No greasy blah, just beautifully to-the-point. And for sure, now I need to listen to Def Lep, but I have to wait until tomorrow because it’s half past ten and the little trolls are asleep. Narf!

  3. occultbohemian

    Cock rock will live forever, nothing is more needed in this dreary world than a thrusting pelvis, screeching passions and throbbing guitar refrains.

  4. In their original incarnation they were not only musical inspirations, but I lay at their feet inspiring one of the worst haircuts I ever had, but possibly the one I was most proud of… Oh my 😉 the unabashed shag, and here in the States that’s a hairdo.
    Love!
    the other V

  5. A lovely tribute, well deserved too. This is key: “It is in music that souls are saved and lives resurrected from the gapping void of infinity.” Indeed. I think we could write the stories of our lives, based on song titles of our times. My two older children, unbeknownst to me, were attributing their mother with their early, and deep, love of music. Classic Rock. The youngest has tastes more akin to Bach. Which thrills me as much. xox

    • D'arcy

      Thanks Vic! My musical roots will always be 60s-70s rock and I’m also a great lover of classical music (currently writing a book about Mozart) but I’m completely won by the soulful joy and lack of sophistry in Leppard’s music. Just listening to the chorus of “Animal” (“I’ve got to feel it in my blood – whoa!”) makes me smile and happy to be alive. I foresee great things for your youngest! Bach huh? Fabulous!

  6. David

    Amen! A thoroughly uplifting celebration of the mighty ones. I am listening to Gods Of War at this very moment, it’s good to be alive isn’t it?

    • D'arcy

      Glimmery! It sho is! Gods of War is actually my favourite DL song at the moment; before that it was Armageddon It and before that it was Rocket, before that Mirror Mirror and before that Switch and, oh man, we could be here a while!

  7. Die Todesrune

    It is so great seeing this lighter side of you!

    Hurrah to the mighty Lep – now I feel the urge to listen to “Hysteria”. I actually saw them back in 1995 (?) and I definitely wanted to be Joe! 😉 Such good vibes. Keep it coming!

    • D'arcy

      There are many lighter sides to me but it is true that writing brings out the darker crevices of my mind. Or maybe it’s my way of chasing the shadows? 🙂

      Enjoy Hysteria – possibly my favourite album of theirs.

  8. Vippy

    Music is the fastest way to connect us back to our ‘core’; the easiest way to grow wings; the bypass that skips over tamed consciousnesses straight to the guts, and thus to both primal and transcendent sensations at once. Enjoy every bit of your musical infatuation!

  9. This album was such an important piece of my youth. I am no longer a Def Leppard fan, but this album will always have a place in my heart for being there as I discovered my own musical tastes back in the early 80s.

    • D'arcy

      Pyromania huh? 🙂 Great album.

      I was a child in their heyday which makes a refreshing change from not being alive for all my other favourite bands, haha!

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