Def Leppard will compile their studio catalog, rare B-sides and live cuts in a new career-spanning box set series. The first of four installments, the Eighties-centric Volume One, is out June 1st via Bludgeon Riffola/Mercury/UMe.
Volume One is dedicated to the British hard rock band’s first four studio albums – 1980’s On Through the Night, 1981’s High ‘n’ Dry, 1983’s Pyromania and 1987’s Hysteria – on both eight-LP and seven-CD sets. The bonus material includes early recordings, B-sides and the concert album Live at the LA Forum 1983, previously issued as a bonus disc in the deluxe CD edition of Pyromania.
Singer Joe Elliott curated the collection, which comes in a newly commissioned sleeve. The sets, housed with a hardback book containing rare photos, also include Def Leppard’s self-titled 1979 EP on a replica seven-inch single and three-inch CD, respectively. Elliott, bassist Rick Savage, drummer Rick Allen and guitarist Phil Collen each contributed a written introduction to Volume One. The full track list and pre-order information is available at Amazon.
This early period documents Def Leppard’s ascent from hard rock to radio-friendly hair metal – an evolution that culminated with their two most popular LPs, the diamond-selling, “Mutt” Lange-produced Pyromania and Hysteria.
In a statement about the project, Elliott reflected on the band’s unique blend of heaviness and hooks during their stadium-packing Eighties period. “The way we did our harmonies was based on the multi-tracking abilities of a band like Queen, but we took what they did to the next level,” he said. “Queen maybe tripled or quadrupled their backing vocals — but we did it like 20 times! We wanted it to sound like the quality of Queen but have the size of Slade. The way we did it gave us a unique sound. And that’s the whole point of an album, really — capturing a band’s unique dynamics.”
Def Leppard, which released a 30th anniversary box set of Hysteria last year, will kick off a massive joint tour with Journey on May 21st.