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DEF LEPPARD - On Through The Night cover
3.76 | 34 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1980

Filed under NWoBHM


1. Rock Brigade (3:09)
2. Hello America (3:28)
3. Sorrow Is A Woman (3:55)
4. It Could Be You (2:33)
5. Satellite (4:28)
6. When The Walls Came Tumbling Down (4:44)
7. Wasted (3:45)
8. Rocks Off (3:44)
9. It Don't Matter (3:21)
10. Answer To The Master (3:13)
11. Overture (7:44)

Total Time: 44:08


- Steve Clark / guitar
- Rick Savage / bass
- Pete Willis / guitar
- Rick Allen / drums
- Joe Elliott / vocals

About this release

14 March 1980
Mercury, Vertigo.

Thanks to Time Signature, Lynx33, Pekka for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
DEF LEPPARD was of course one of the original 70s hard rock bands that stepped things up and joined the first British heavy metal invasion now tagged the NWOBHM ( New Wave of British Heavy Metal). The band originated in Sheffield, England as far back as 1977 with its roots in the prior band Atomic Mass formed by bassist Rick Savage, guitarist Pete Willis and drummer Tony Kenning. After lead vocalist Joe Elliot joined shortly after, he proposed a name change to Deaf Leppard which the other members agreed upon and soon after recruited Rick Allen to replace Kenning and then guitarist Steve Clark.

The band spent 1979 touring and gaining an audience which propelled the band into the nascent NWOBHM rather quick. This got the band noticed by the Phonogram / Vertigo label (which is Mercury Records in the US) and before long the band was on the road touring with AC/DC. The five members cranked out a bunch of tunes that were recorded and released on the debut release ON THROUGH THE NIGHT which was released on 14 March 1980 and raced to the top 15 on the album chart in the UK but despite touring the US and supporting acts like Pat Travers, AC/DC and Ted Nugent failed to make a dent at this stage.

If you ask me why the band failed to make the big time at this point, it has to do with the mediocre material presented on ON THE THE NIGHT. At this stage the band sounds like a rather ho hum garage band that was just getting acquainted to the heavier sounds of metal and the entire songwriting process. In many ways this debut album sounds like a demo to my ears. The production is shoddy, Joe Elliot’s vocals haven’t reached their full potential and the tunes themselves are fairly forgettable. Anyone coming to this after experiencing the much better following album such as “High ’n’ Dry,” “Pyromania” or even “Hysteria” will be let down by the amateurish performances here. This sounds like any old bluesy hard rock band from the 70s. Generic AF.

There were three singles released: “Wasted,” “Hello America” and “Rock Brigade” but none made a dent as the band was getting its foot in the door as an album oriented hard rock band through touring. This debut was produced by Tom Allom who seems to have failed both in scoring a decent production job but also failed to harness the band’s potential and create a signature sound. That duty would go to John “Mutt” Lange who took the ship by the helm and crafted DEF LEPPARD’s sound into a heavier arena with stronger material that suited the band’s strengths. The material on ON THROUGH THE NIGHT is decent but as many times as i’ve tried to get into this one, i’m always left cold and underwhelmed by the rather average sounding tunes with the exception of “Rock Brigade.”

While the band would step things up for their sophomore release, at this point they were trying to sound like Thin Lizzy, UFO or even Mott The Hoople but didn’t quite have the magic mojo to craft interesting stand alone tracks yet. There is nothing outright bad about this album but in the company of much better material that followed, this one just doesn’t match the quality of the album’s that followed. Despite the band’s phenomenal success as a hard rock band starting with “Pyromania,” ON THROUGH THE NIGHT along with the following “High ’n’ Dry” are the only two examples of the band generating a heavier NWOBHM sound and had they continued down this road, it’s hard to tell how their career would’ve developed. For my listening pleasure i find this debut by DEF LEPPARD a bit tedious and even boring but the material is decent enough and for those who don’t mind a crappy production and straight forward heavy rock tunes then you might like this more than me.

Members reviews

1967/ 1976
There are many ways to describe an album. Some of the definitions that are used to describe an album may even be contradictory. Yet not mean they are not all true. If I had to describe "On Through The Night" would I be to describe it as Hard Rock mixed with raw power, technique, feeling, Rolling Stones mixed with Judas Priest and Kiss. I do not know, though, maybe... I could be off the road. I read that Def Leppard were the most American of the NWOBHM movement... But, OK, Jimi Hendrix and Suzi Quatro were Americans and their ultimate success came in the UK!

As for the style of "On Through The Night" ... Pure Rock'n'Roll, similar to Kiss but wilder, less exciting ... I would say more a Judas Priest copy that anything else. I find that listening more carefully "On Through The Night" is a mix of Judas Priest for melodies, Suzi Quatro for vocals and Kiss for arrangements! All in all, not heresy to say, a perfect group of the province that combining two things already feel can emerge with something new. Listen to the guitars, pissed and wild, the drum work damn powerful and explosive, listen to bass lines, fucking powerful and listen to the vocal lines, copied from billions of singers, not just Metal.

"On Through The Night" is an album that can not grow old. And that can not be heard if not all in one breath. And, in that way, tasted and understood.

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