The Story of DEF LEPPARD’s “Rock of Ages”

🔥Time to…. Rise up, gather round and rock this place to the ground!🔥

Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” – do I have to say more? It’s one of those groundbreaking hard rock albums which don’t really need an introduction or a bunch of fancy words, describing how awesome and influential it is. I will just say one thing, though – if I have to choose one album to be buried with, it’s going to be “Pyromania” (together with “Hysteria” most probably). Yes, it’s that special to me!

“Pyromania” defined Def Leppard’s career like no other album. Most importantly, it gave birth to a couple of smashing hit singles, including “Photograph”, “Too Late for Love”, “Foolin” and of course, the absolute fan-favorite, “Rock of Ages”. I could write books about each one of the songs on “Pyromania” because they are that valuable and worthy to me and to the history of hard rock in general. However, this time I would like to focus on “Rock of Ages”, mainly because of its significant presence in popular culture, which is a reason enough to know a little bit more about the background of the tune. Also, there are a couple of really interesting facts, surrounding the making of “Rock of Ages”,which some of you might not know. [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you the story of Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages”.


  •  “Rock of Ages” was released as the second single from Def Leppard’s multi-platinum 1983 album “Pyromania”, following the highly successful debut album single, “Photograph”. The song became an instant hit, peaking at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the Top Tracks rock chart.
  • “Rock of Ages” was written by Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, and producer Mutt Lange. The music was all set and done, however coming up with the lyrics turned out to be a challenge for the guys. Until of course, that faithful discovery of a bible, left behind in the studio by a bible study group. The book was open to the hymn “Rock of Ages”…the rest is history. Another example of how ideas and inspirations can come from all sides of the world, as long as we pay attention to the signs of the universe!

MV

  • The iconic music video of “Rock of Ages” was directed by David Mallet and shot at the end of 1982. Here’s what Joe Elliott had to say about it:

mtv“It was the ridiculousness of it, which is exactly what the video needed to be. (Director David Mallet) was like, ‘I want you to walk down this drawbridge holding this sword.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, f–k off. Don’t make me do that!’ Of course, like an idiot, I submitted to his blinked eyes, looking at me like some long-lost dog. David Mallet‘s got a great way of manipulating people like that. I was young and dumb and went ‘OK.’ I look at that now, and I think ‘What the hell was I thinking?'”

(MTV Ruled the World – The Early Years of Music Video)

  • The verses contain no guitars, focusing entirely on the strength of the vocals. However, that turned out to be a problem for the MV making. Here’s what Joe Elliott said about it:

“There’s a couple of shots where Phil  was clapping along on the verse – because there’s no guitars – and he’s standing directly behind me, so I look like I have these clapping antlers coming out of my head.”

“Pretty funny when you look back. The robe thing took about 30 seconds to film. You kind of forget about that,” said guitarist Phil Collen.

(MTV Ruled the World – The Early Years of Music Video)

  • An owl appears on the music video right when Joe says “all right”. Director David Mallet thought that it sounds like “owl right” so he decided to include the owl as a joke!

owlleppard

  • One of the most peculiar and heavily-discussed aspects of the song is the opening phrase. The German-sounding “Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen”, said by producer Mutt Lange doesn’t really mean anything in particular. It’s a rather funny way of simply saying “1…2…3…4…!” For those of you who are familiar with Mutt’s obsession with achieving that perfect recording, it won’t come as a surprise to find out that at one point, he got actually pretty tired of counting “1…2…3…4…!” Instead, he decided to make things more entertaining and used this gibberish. The combination of “Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen”, followed by the laughs of Joe Elliott and the famous line “All right, I’ve got something to say! It’s better to burn out, than to fade away”, has to be one of the most memorable openings of all time!

  • The instantly-recognizable slogan was re-used in 1989 for The Offspring’s Pretty Fly (For a White Guy).

  • bettertoAnother curious (lyrical) “Rock of Ages” moment is of course that empowering saying “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” at the beginning. The lines are a reference to Neil Young‘s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”. According to some sources, however, Joe Elliott saw those lines on someone’s T-shirt and took them for the song, without actually knowing who they belong to.
  • The lines “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” became even more important for the history of rock music when they appeared on Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994.

  • Def Leppard’s four-line version was used in the movie Highlander (1986) by the villain, the Kurgan.
  • “Rock of Ages” also appears on the Season 5 finale of the TV show Supernatural .

  • “Rock of Ages” is one of Def Leppard‘s most beloved live staples. It has been an inseparable part of their live shows, ever since its release.

1988 Live (Hysteria Tour)

2013 Live (Viva! Hysteria, The Hard Rock Hotel, Las, Vegas NV)


  • Similarly to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll”, “Rock of Ages” is a powerful anthem, written to inspire and spread that fiery rock & roll spirit. Here is what Joe Elliot said about the connection between “Rock of Ages” and “I Love Rock & Roll” in an interview with Kaos 2000 magazine.

“We’d have never written ‘Rock Of Ages’ if we hadn’t have heard ‘I Love Rock And Roll’ by Joan Jett. But we didn’t steal her entire sound. We took that one song and thought, ‘This is very anthemic. We could get away with writing songs of this standard and style.’ And that’s what we did. It doesn’t particularly sound that much like her, the chorus a bit. The actual structure of the song is nothing alike.”
(Quote, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/)

  • A high-praised musical, titled “Rock of Ages” opened on Broadway in 2009. The show featured some of the biggest music hits of the ‘80s; however despite named after Def Leppard’s song, “Rock of Ages” doesn’t appear on it.

  • In 2012, the musical was turned into a movie, in which Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was performed by Tom Cruise.

  • In 2012, Def Leppard re-recorded the song with the title “Rock of Ages 2012”. It was released in the summer of 2012, along with a newly-recorded version of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

rock-of-ages-2012

  • “Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection” was released in 2005 and it featured some of the band’s most definitive classics.

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“Rock of Ages” Lyrics

Gunter glieben glauchen globen

All right
I got something to say
Yeah, it’s better to burn out
Yeah, than fade away
All right
Ow Gonna start a fire
C’mon!
Rise up! gather round
Rock this place to the ground
Burn it up let’s go for broke
Watch the night go up in smoke

Rock on! Rock on!

Drive me crazier, no serenade
No fire brigade, just Pyromania

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, yes I do
Long live rock’n’roll

Oh let’s go, let’s strike a light
We’re gonna blow like dynamite
I don’t care if it takes all night
Gonna set this town alight

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, Allright!
Long live rock’n’roll

Rock of ages, rock of ages
Still rollin’, keep a-rollin’
Rock of ages, rock of ages
Still rollin’, rock’n’rollin’

We got the power, got the glory
Just say you need it and if you need it
Say yeah!

Heh heh heh heh
Now listen to me
I’m Burnin’, Burnin’, I got the fever
I know for sure, there ain’t no cure
So feel it, don’t fight it, go with the flow
Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme one more for the road

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, You betcha
Long live rock’n’roll

[Repeat Chorus]

We’re gonna burn this damn place down
Down to the ground

Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh


References:
“Rock of Ages” lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/defleppard/rockofages.html
“Rock of Ages” on SongFacts: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1151

“Rock of Ages” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Ages_(Def_Leppard_song)

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

Cheers~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] AC/DC – For Those About To Rock We Salute You

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When we think of AC/DC’s long music career and their enormous catalogue, probably the first record that comes to our minds is “Back in Black”. This ultimate blockbuster not only changed the game for the band by turning them into international rockstars, but became the second best-selling album of all time with around 50 million copies sold worldwide! Can you imagine the strength of impact this pure hard rock wave had on the world? I wasn’t born at that time but I can still feel it today. How can you top the success of rock anthems such as “Back in Black”, “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”? It’s indeed quite the task… The bar was set too high and everyone was curious to see how can AC/DC come up with something even better than that…

In 1981, AC/DC went on a new journey as it was time to look ahead and make some new music. “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” is the album that followed up to their highly successful “Back in Black”. The record couldn’t match the numbers of “Back in Black”, however their winning streak most definitely continued.  With phenomenal tracks such as the quintessential rock anthem “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” and the massive hit single “Let’s Get It Up”, AC/DC won the #1 spot on the USA charts. The effect of the album was quite evident, despite always been compared to their previous one. The record has its strong and weak points, however one thing is for sure – it’s indeed one of their greatest albums of all time and I often say that it can easily match “Back in Black”.

The mastermind behind the record is Mutt Lange – a producer with extraordinary abilities, I admire with all my heart and soul. It’s his third and final collaboration with AC/DC, unfortunately.

Brian Johnson was already well accustomed to the new band and things were working out quite naturally for them, as we can hear on the album.

Let’s talk music…


 

For Those About to Rock We Salute You

vinyl ~Released: November 23, 1981
Recorded: May – September 1981 in Paris
Genre: Hard Rock, Rock, Blues Rock
Length: 40:10
Label: Albert / Atlantic Records
Producer(s): Robert John “Mutt” Lange
Singles: “Let’s Get It Up”, “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”
Personnel: Brian Johnson – lead vocals; Angus Young – lead guitar; Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, co-lead guitar; Cliff Williams – bass guitar, backing vocals; Phil Rudd – drums, percussion


TRACKLIST:

1. For Those About To Rock ( We Salute You )
2. Put The Finger On You
3. Let’s Get It Up
4. Inject The Venom
5. Snowballed
6. Evil Walks
7. C.O.D.
8. Breaking The Rules
9. Night Of The Long Knives
10. Spellbound

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buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW:

In comparison with “Back in Black”, “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” grabs the ear with its laid back, carefree and a much friendlier vibe which was probably a direct reflection of the state of the band at that time. After the phenomenal success they just had, it was quite obvious that they were not as hungry or pushy as before. For them, this album was a celebration of their triumph.

On “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”, AC/DC effortlessly achieve a perfect balance between their typical fierce sound and a more relaxing, radio-friendly feel. It’s must less commercial and heavier which directly ensured their place on the airwaves. The band moved a little bit further away from their punk infused grounds into a more mid-tempo AOR album. However, they did manage to keep that original, “AC/DC-typical” addictive sound we fans love and are so accustomed to.

AC/DC is not exactly the first band that comes to your mind when you think of thought-provoking lyrics. This album doesn’t quite impress us with stunning words, however one think it does is showing us how hard they can hit hard and how easily they can blow the roof off the place. With “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”, I feel like the band presented a more refined technical skills and Brian Johnson was definitely at his top game.

The finest moments of the record would have to be the title track – “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” and the rhythmical and extremely catchy “Let’s Get It Up”, “Inject the Venom” and “I Put The Finger On You”. Plenty of cool verses, crazy guitar riffs and memorable shouts on all of those tunes, however I feel like except the title track, no other song could stand out from one another. Unfortunately, the finest moments of the album end with those four songs. The following tunes doesn’t really inspire with exceptional musicianship or outstanding delivery. The flaws could be easily spotted as we go from one song to the next one. Surprisingly, however, I believe this album possesses a very important characteristic – the more you play the tracks, the more you enjoy them.  

ac dc 1981


 

AC/DC hit as hard as they can right from the beginning. The title track is the ultimate rock anthem that changed the world. The monstrous “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” is an absolute concert staple and the band’s greatest trademark! The song is simply one of AC/DC’s finest accomplishments and a song that can’t but put you in an instant terrific mood! I’m quite fond of the intro that slowly but steadily builds up your excitement. Not to mention Brian’s high growls and impeccable vocal delivery…Just listen…

Stand up and be counted for what you are about to receive
We are the dealers
We’ll give you everything you need
Hail hail to the good times
Cos rock has got the right of way
We ain’t no legends ain’t no cause
We’re just livin’ for today
For those about to rock, we salute you
For those about to rock, we salute you…


 

The following three tracks didn’t perform quite as well as the title track. They all have similar characteristics and impress with a very lively, catchy and enjoyable formula. I am especially fond of “Inject the Venom” which really gives me quite the chills…

No mercy for the bad if they want it
No mercy for the bad if they plead
No mercy for the bad if they need it
No mercy from me
Tell no truth an’ tell no lies
Cross your heart and hope to die
Never give what you can’t take back
Scratch like a cat
If you inject your venom
It’ll be your last attack…

Loose lips sink ships
So come aboard for a pleasure trip
It’s high tide so let’s ride
The moon is risin’ and so am I
I’m gonna get it up
Never gonna let it up
Cruisin’ on the seven seas
A pirate of my lovin’ needs
I’ll never go down
Never go down

I put the finger on you, yeah
My hands all outta control
I can’t stop it gettin’ down on you
It’s movin’ of its own accord
I got fire in my finger tips
Radiate it all to you
I can’t control it
Can’t even hold it…

~

Overall, “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” is a very fine album which unfortunately is quite underrated and will always be compared to “Back in Black”. I enjoy the friendlier vibe and the more refined and natural sounds, however I do wish they put a little bit more effort and try to not play it so safe. I feel like the album sold so many copies due to the huge title track. What happens after it, however, is just a bit unsettling. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the album, however the songs just progressively become less and less interesting. Regardless, I do love those four tracks and listen to them quite often…
Cheers!


 

Credits:
AC/DC Lyrics, retrieved from www.azlyrics.com
For Those About to Rock We Salute You Album Review, retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com
AC/DC official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC/DC
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Foreigner – 4

Foreigner 4

You won’t believe how excited I am to talk about this album. If you follow my publications, you would know that Foreigner and I go way back and my relationship with their music is very personal and very strong – I cannot think of any other band which defines me so much (except Def Leppard, of course). Since we have already established my unconditional love for Foreigner, I think it’s time to move on to their smashing hit record “4” which also happens to be one of my favorite Foreigner albums of all time! I would like to take a moment of your time to talk a little bit more about the album and the brilliant songs you can find on it. Also, I would like to emphasize that there is absolutely no possible excuse for not having this record in your personal collection – it’s a MUST and I urge you to go and get it if you don’t have it yet! If you love classic rock, you should know that “4” is one of the albums that defined the 80s and gave the music industry something to talk about for decades ahead!  


 

Foreigner 4Released: July 2, 1981
Recorded: 1981 at Electric Lady Studios, New York City
Genre: Hard Rock, Rock
Length: 42:10
Label: Atlantic Records
Producer(s): Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Mick Jones
Singles: “Urgent”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, “Juke Box Hero”, “Break It Up”, “Luanne”
Personnel: Lou Gramm – lead vocals, percussion; Mick Jones – guitar, backing vocals, keyboards; Rick Wills – bass guitar, backing vocals; Dennis Elliott – drums, backing vocals;


TRACKLIST:

1. “Night Life”
2. “Juke Box Hero”
3. “Break It Up”
4. “Waiting for a Girl Like You”
5. “Luanne”
6. “Urgent”
7. “I’m Gonna Win”
8. “Woman In Black”
9. “Girl On The Moon”
10. “Don’t Let Go”

+Bonus Tracks On 2002 Reissue, Recorded In 1999

– “Juke Box Hero” (Nearly Unplugged Version)
– “Waiting for a Girl Like You” (Nearly Unplugged Version)


Foreigner CD.png


Overview:

Before we move on to the specific songs, I would like to say a few words about the overall sound and influence of “4”.
Foreigner’s “4” hold the #1 position on the Billboard album chart for exactly 10 weeks – this is a phenomenal success and speaks volumes! The album sold over 7 million copies in the US alone and naturally, it was certified as Platinum by the RIAA. Not only that, but “4” achieved some unbelievable success in Europe, as well – for that I can also guarantee personally because in Bulgaria, Foreigner and especially this album are quite loved and deeply appreciated! Tracks such as “Urgent” and “Waiting for a Girl like You” topped the mainstream rock charts and completely changed the course of rock music!
Furthermore, all the songs from the album are written and composed by Mick Jones and/or Lou Gramm. This right here is what I’m talking about – artists writing their own music and lyrics and producing something authentic and truly valuable. That’s definitely what I miss nowadays…

Also, we should not forget about the lengendary Mr Mutt Lange! I’ve said it before and I will say it again – when it comes to producers, Mutt Lange is the absolute genius. With his impeccable attention to detail and ability to just come up with the perfect strategies, Mutt Lange just once again proved that he is a brilliant mastermind when it comes to crafting music and helping an artist reach the top! Interesting fact, he actually contributed with some backing vocals as well – a producer does so many things for a project!

muttlangeproducer
Producer Mutt Lange
Foreigner - 4 1981
Foreigner in 1981

 

In terms of sound, “4” marked Foreigner’s full shift to hard rock. Their previous albums, “Head Games” and “Double Vision” established them as one of the most notable AOR bands of the era; however “4” was actually the album that gave them the ultimate ticket to stardom. With the help of Mutt Lange, who had just finished working on AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, Foreigner were able to craft a very rare and unique combination of mainstream rock sound and one-of-a-kind sounding.
In this album, you can also find some of the most brilliant lyrics ever to be written in the history of rock music. Every song tells us a very alluring and colorful story and your imagination can’t but start working the moment you hear Lou’s voice. I’ve always appreciated the way some bands make your imagination go wild with their lyrics – it’s a very pleasant experience as you just dive yourself into the story and imagine being “the woman in black” or the “juke box hero”.
There are countless songs that explore the topic of achieving the dream of “becoming the ultimate rockstar”; however no other song is as exceptional as “Juke Box Hero”. The rhythm, the chorused vocals, the captivating sudden melody changes and of course the superb lyrics can provide you with the much needed power boost and you can indeed feel the energy running through your veins. Maybe it’s just me, but every time I play “Juke Box Hero” (which by the way is at least 2-3 times per day), I get chills down my spine – this song is better than any energy drink!

…That one guitar, felt good in his hands
Didn’t take long, to understand
Just one guitar, slung way down low
Was one way ticket, only one way to go

So he started rockin’
Ain’t never gonna stop
Gotta keep on rockin’
Someday he’s gonna make it to the top…


 

Another song I’d like to focus your attention on is titled “Waiting for a Girl like You” which in my book, happens to the ultimate example of a flawless classic rock ballad. Since its release, the track has become a must-play for any rock radio and one of the main reasons why the album turned out to be so successful. When we talk about Foreigner and tearjerker songs, naturally “I Want to Know What Love Is” (which comes a few years later in their “Agent Provocateur” album) is the first that comes to our minds. However, if you ask me which Foreigner’s most defining ballad is, I would say “Waiting for a Girl Like you”. To me, this song has everything – touching lyrics, beautiful vocals and most importantly, the feeling of hope…

…It feels so right, so warm and true
I need to know if you feel it too

Maybe I’m wrong
Won’t you tell me if I’m coming on too strong
This heart of mine has been hurt before
This time I want be be sure…


 

At last, I would like to move on to the funky, upbeat and probably Foreigner’s most memorable and career-defining songs – “Urgent”. There’s one thing I love more than piano in rock songs and that’s sax in rock songs! Junior Walker‘s signature saxophone solo is the absolute point of delight for me – I can just listen to this song for days!

…Got fire in your veins
Burnin’ hot but you don’t feel the pain
Your desire is insane
You can’t stop until you do it again

But sometimes I wonder as I look in your eyes
Maybe you’re thinking of some other guy
But I know, yes I know, how to treat you right
That’s why you call me in the middle of the night…


 

Some other energetic, catchy, impeccably written melodic rock tunes from “4”, include “Don’t Let Go”, “Luanne” and my personal favourite “Woman in Black”. Just listen to this awesome guitar intro…

…I saw a dark silhouette, at the table
I tried to talk, but I was unable
She drew me in right under her spell
I was hypnotized by the sudden temptation

Of that woman in black, she’s a mystery
She’s everything a woman should be
Woman in black, she’s got a hold on me
She’s in control, she won’t set me free…


 

I will wrap up things by saying that through it all, vocalist Lou Gramm does his role in the most exceptional way one could imagine. I’ve said it before – he is without doubt one of the finest voices of his generation. “4” is probably the album which completely assured his throne in the category of the greatest male rock vocalists. Song such as “Urgent”, “Waiting for a Girl like You” and “I’m Gonna Win” perfectly illustrate his vocal capacity and I am beyond delighted with the way those tracks match his voice! Nothing more to say – his voice is everything!
The following years were quite turbulent for Foreigner, as Lou Gramm and guitarist Mick Jones would often clash and engage in countless ego wars. Eventually, those tensions would lead to the band’s collapse. Nevertheless, “4” remains their ultimate career pick and one of the greatest rock albums ever!

Mick and Lou
Mick and Lou Together on Stage
Songwriters Hall Of Fame 44th Annual Induction And Awards - Backstage
Mick Jones and Lou Gramm attend the Songwriters Hall of Fame 44th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis on June 13, 2013 in New York City.

 

Credits:
Foreigner Official Wikipedia Page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreigner_%28band%29
Foreigner, 4 (album) Official Wikipedia Page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4_%28Foreigner_album%29
“4” Album Review, retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/album/4-mw0000189922
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual materials used in this publication. All the credits and rights go to the owners and/publishers.

5 Great Rock Records Produced by Mutt Lange

The fact is – not many people are familiar with the roles and responsibilities of a music producer. People enjoy listening to produced albums, get involved with the artists, buy the CDs, etc. However, how many of those people actually and truly understand the crucial role of the producer who stood behind the album? –I don’t think they are that many… Recently, I’ve been having these conversations and discussions about the significant part a producer plays in a music project, as well as his/her numerous duties and obligations as one. Every producer does different things and participates or specializes in different areas of production. Most importantly, however, a producer is the one, who gathers ideas, help artists establish find their sound and looks for creative ways to present this sound to the general public. In addition, a producer is the one who decides which song would go on a record and would fit perfectly into the concept of the project. Once the selection has been made, he/she starts working with the artist/s to build up the sound together and bring to life the vision of a perfect album. Not only that, but the producer is “the coach of the studio” – in combination with managing the mixing board, a producer also supervises, gives advices and suggestions on how to better record a song…He/she may even encourage or help the artists with their confidence in order for them to give the best performance – a true studio “persuasive diplomat”. In some cases, a producer may also help an artist with the lyrics of the song or may add some new ideas about the ways to sing it or play it. A producer also brings all the audio elements together, deals with all the technical aspects, and adds effects, quality…a spirit to a song. The producer simply puts all the ideas and visions together with the primary goal to achieve the best results possible.

Back to what I was saying….as expected, during those discussions the name of Mr. Mutt Lange kept on coming out. No reason to wonder – Mutt Lange is a huge name in the industry. He is the mastermind behind albums such as AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” and “Hysteria”, The Cars’ “Heartbeat City”, Nickelback’s “Dark Horse”, etc. Except (classic) rock records, he worked with artists such as Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, The Corrs, Muse, Michael Bolton, Shania Twain and many more. One might find it quite difficult to image that a rock ‘n’ roll and metal producer like him worked with country and pop musicians, however his talents are versatile and it’s quite obvious…He was and still is one of the most in-demand producers in the world. I’ve listened to pretty much each and every album he produced, regardless of the genre, and all I can say is that this person is a music genius. As cliché as it may sound, he truly is one – his creativity is beyond words; his vision and ideas are beyond excellent… He started his career as a music producer in the ‘70s and within just a few years he became responsible for one of the greatest records of all time… In the following publication, I decided to gather up 5 of his most important and influential records so that we can truly understand the brilliance of his mind…Those 5 albums made such a big difference and were so successful that we still cannot stop listening or talking about them! It’s a rather informative publication, through which I hope we can better understand what a huge difference a great producer can have on a record! Here we go…

AC/DC – “Back in Black” (1980)

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The second-best selling album of all time with more than 25 million copies sold, this album will forever remain as one of the greatest records of all time and a standard measure for any hard-rock band out there. Following up the tragic death of frontman Bon Scott, AC/DC were facing numerous difficulties and even thought about quitting. Brian Johnson was also dealing with many obstacles as the new vocalist. However, Lange’s influence once again stepped in and with brand new approaches he managed to give birth to “Back in Black” – an album that perfectly captured the electrifying energy, astonishing technical and lyrical arrangements and a new and reborn AC/DC, ready to take over the world. The album was released in 1980 and it quickly became their most critically respected album. It spawned 4 huge singles – “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Hells Bells”, “Back in Black” and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, all of which redefined hard rock music and left a mark that can never be erased! Bravo, Mr. Lange!

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Def Leppard – Pyromania (1983)

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Where do I even begin with Pyromania? I already made an appreciation post about this masterpiece which you guys can check here – [The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] DEF LEPPARD – PYROMANIA (1983)
We owe this album to Lange – the genius who took Def Leppard under his wing and encouraged them to dig deeper till they find their real talents and true meaning of their music. In addition, he also co-wrote all the songs of “Pyromania”. It seems like his lyrical approaches and touches were exactly what the band needed. With this album, Lange managed to create the perfect balance between hard rock and mainstream rock. Not to mention that after its release, the career of Def Leppard reached its peak! Pyromania is also an extremely important landmark album because it revealed the possibilities of an album – it produced 4 hit singles (“Photograph”, “Foolin”, “Rock of Ages”, “Too Late For Love”) – something no other rock record did before. I will be forever thankful to Lange for producing one of my most beloved albums.

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Def Leppard – Hysteria (1987)

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“Hysteria” – the album that took three-years to record; the album that perfectly showcased the strength of human will and ability to overcome any difficulty; the album that became the most distinctive hard rock record of the era…and of course, probably my favourite album of all time! Mutt Lange once again took matters into his hands and helped Def Leppard make history. “Hysteria” produced 7 hit singles – an accomplishment so rare that we cannot but respect him for making it possible. Lange co-wrote all the songs of the album, including the smashing hit “Pour Some Sugar on me”. The album ended up selling more than 15 million copies worldwide and once again proved how important the vision of the producer is. What can I say, each and every song from this album is impeccably written and it combines catchy and captivating lyrics with flawless technical arrangement. Thank you, Mr Lange!

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Foreigner – “4” (1981)

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Before releasing this album, Foreigner were already a well-known and established name in the rock music scene. However, their 2nd and 3rd albums were not as successful as their debut album, so they turned to Mutt Lange for help to find a new approach…a “raw edge” – great strategy and perfect timing. The result was immediate – “4” hold the number one position on Billboard for 10 weeks, sold over 7 million copies and it spawned 4 outstanding hit singles that blew away people’s minds back then (and still are, at least to me). I mean, who doesn’t know or haven’t listened to “Urgent” or “Juke Box Hero” at least once in their lives? This album made the band famous internationally and broke all the records. In terms of style, “4” marked the beginning of Foreigner’s shift to more radio-friendly, hard rock sound, especially with songs such as “Head Games” and “Urgent”…and we love all of them. Interesting fact, Mutt Lange actually contributed with the background vocals as well! That’s what I was telling you about – the producer is responsible for and can engage in so many activities!

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Bryan Adams – “Waking Up the Neighbors” (1991)

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After helping so many artists and producing so many albums in the 80s, Mutt Lange triumphantly stepped into the new decade (90s) by producing Bryan Adam’s glorious hit album “Waking up the Neighbors”. The album sold more than 16 million copies worldwide and was number one on the British charts for 16 weeks. Those numbers should tell you that this album was indeed one of the best accomplishments of Mutt Lange as a producer. With few nice commercial touches and beautifully crafted melodic rock ballads, Lange did it once again. “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” is probably the first song that comes to our minds when we talk about Bryan Adams (well, maybe it’s just me). The song we all remember him by features in non-other than this album – it was also included on the soundtrack of the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991 (yes, the movie with Kevin Costner). In addition to such unforgettable ballads, the album produced a number of nice and catchy rock tunes. Overall, brilliant work, Mr Lange!

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Well, this is it for now. Those were 5 great albums, produced by Mr Mutt Lange – one of the most notable, versatile and respected producers of all time.I gave you five, however we should know that throughout his career he has produced more than 40 albums and worked with artists from all possible genres.
I hope this publication gave you some insight about the important role a producer plays in a musical project. He/She can either be responsible for turning an artist/s into a global phenomenon or the other way around. In the cases I’ve shown you, Mutt Lange did the first thing – he helped those artists and bands establish a distinctive sound and name in the industry. For that, we will be forever thankful!


References:
Robert John “Mutt” Lange Facebook Fan Page – https://www.facebook.com/Robert-John-Mutt-Lange-
Top 10 Mutt Lange Records by Eduardo Rivadavia, retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~