Now that Pyromania, Hysteria and Adrenalize have been remastered and reissued with bonus tracks, it is High 'N' Dry that needs to be remastered next, for several reasons that I will discuss. It boggles my mind that the back catalogue of bands like Def Leppard and Alice Cooper have yet to be remastered, while Ozzy and Sabbath's has been redone at least twice each. It makes no sense.
High 'N' Dry was first issued on CD, the sound was rather tinny. That has yet to be dealt with on CD, although this CD does include two songs not on the original LP: Remixes of "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" and "Me and My Wine" (the versions that were used for the music videos). However, the track "No No No" has been edited for length, cutting short the outro. For that, you have to pick up an old vinyl copy (which I did). When will this, and the weak sound, be corrected?
It's especially a crime since High 'N' Dry may well be Def Leppard's best album to some. Personally I will always hold Hysteria up to that lofty spot just due to the sheer magnificence of sound and and songwriting. High 'N' Dry, which featured Pete Willis on guitar instead of Phil Collen, is a raw, rough, AC/DC sounding rock album. This is the heaviest album Leppard ever made. Joe Elliot's vocals cords shred the high pitched raunch on every song. Truly, this is the best album AC/DC has never made.
Not one weak song on the entire disc. Not one! My personal faves:
"Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)"
"High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)"
"You Got Me Runnin'"
"Another Hit And Run"
Unlike modern Def Leppard, this album was all about the riffs and the screaming! Hard to believe it's the same band. But, of course, they now have two new guitar players so the meat of this band is also not the same.
Really, every Leppard fan should own High 'N' Dry. I would recommend, until they get it properly reissued on CD, to pick this up for the two bonus tracks, and then track down an old vinyl copy at a cheap price. That way you'll also get it sounding the way it should, on warm black vinyl, and also the unedited "No No No".
5 stars, but come on, we need a reissue!
A year after releasing their debut, Def Leppard teams up with successful record producer Mutt Lange and "High `N' Dry" comes out in 1981. "High `N' Dry" will be much more enjoyable to those who are fans of metal and hard rock and are less into the more pop and polished "Pyromania" and "Hysteria" albums (even if I love both of these album). This was the first Def Leppard album producer Mutt Lange did with the band who would have a huge influence on the band, so much as to even be called "the sixth Def Leppard". Lange definitely has had a impact on the band and was a big part of their eventual success by helping define the sound they would become famous for. Joe Elliot's voice has changed since the first album, it's higher here and noticeably different. "High `N' Dry" is also the last album to feature guitarist Pete Willis who would be replaced by Phil Collen. This album shows improvement over the last album, I really like "On Through The Night" because it shows the earlier and raw Def Leppard that sounds like NWOBHM (that's New Wave Of British Heavy Metal for the uninitiated) and the band at its early stage and sounds almost nothing like their trademark sound. With "High `N' Dry" it was time for the band to change a little and make themselves different from the other NWOBHM bands and they did. Def Lepp sound more melodic on this one and they started to develop their trademark sound here. The best way to describe the album is that it still has a very hard-rock/metal feel and sound but with some prominent melodies and more gang (and pop like) choruses.
On "High 'N' Dry" the band still sounds somewhat raw, energetic and rocking. Granted the band's debut On Through The Night (a very underrated album in this reviewer's humble opinion) is heavier, rawer and to the point but I feel that "High `N' Dry" is overall a stronger and better album. The band sounds better for one, Joe's voice shows improvement from the debut and the musicianship is better as well. Lange did plant the seed for what the sound of the band would become which is evident from the very first song "Let It Rock" with the trademark back vocals the band would become famous for. I'm not going to go through every song but I'll give my comments on a few of them.
There is the powerful and amazing (yet still rocking) ballad "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" which was probably at this point the first power ballad and to me this is the best ballad Def Leppard has done, rivaled only by "Love Bites" and "Hysteria". It's really with their follow-up, "Pyromania" that the band went into a more commercial and pop direction, this one has teeth and edge to this and it's a lot more metal sounding. The title track "High `N' Dry" is a highlight, this one is very AC/DC sounding (what did you expect? Mutt Lange also produced AC/DC and besides the Aussies were a big influence on Def Leppard), pure classic rock. Those who think Def Leppard is a little too "clean" on latter albums might be pleasantly surprised with those lyrics, great song. "Switch 625" is an instrumental song, now I'll admit that I'm usually not a fan of instrumentals (with exceptions like Iron Maiden's "Transylvania" and Rush' "YYZ") but I love this one, the playing is so tight and it's just a killer rocking song. "Lady Strange" is an excellent song with a terrific riff and a catchy chorus, works for me I really like this one. "On Through The Night" sounds like it could have been on (you guessed it!) the band's debut, also called "On Through The Night". "Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My eyes)" is one of the more aggressive songs, the pop-ish chorus is back by a solid guitar riff, one of my favorite songs from "High `N' Dry".
Later releases of "High `N' Dry" featured two bonus songs: two remixes of "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" (This one has added keyboard which does make it sound slightly different, especially during the chorus) and a B-Side "Me And My Wine"(always cool to get unreleased stuff, solid rock `n' roll, not bad at all).
I would consider "High `N' Dry" one of Def Leppard's best albums. As mentioned earlier, here they still have a hard rock edge but it's blended nicely with more melody and pop-ish choruses which makes for an excellent Def Lepp album. Maybe I enjoy it more because the songs didn't receive nearly as much airplay as "Pyromania" or `Hysteria" did and the band sounds better than on their debut album. "High `N' Dry" is not one the band's most successful albums but it's certainly one of those I enjoy the most. If you're less into the glam/pop-metal sound the band is usually known for I think you would enjoy the band's first two albums a lot more. To me this is where Def Leppard really became Def Leppard, and I've got to give credit to Mutt Lange as he was very involved. "High `N' Dry" is an excellent album and one that should not be overlooked or ignored because of the band's more famous albums, I highly recommend this one 5/5.
on December 29, 2003
High 'N' Dry (1981.) Def Leppard's second album.
In 1980, a little band from Sheffield called Def Leppard began taking the world by storm. Following a tour of America headlined by ACDC, the world began to get a taste of what this little band might be capable of. For the band's sophomore effort, they recruited legendary record producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange (Foreigner, ACDC.) His production had a definite impact on the band's stylings. But was this a good thing? Read on for my review of High 'N' Dry.
The album is kicked off with two classic hard power rockers, Let It Go and Another Hit And Run. Although these two tracks never became big hits for the band, they are still excellent and worth listening to. The title track is also severely underrated. The opening guitar riffs are priceless, and the lyrics are unforgettable. It was this, the band's second album, that scored them their first big hit - Bringin' On The Heartbreak. It's one of their darker "gloom and doom" ballads, and probably the closest thing on the album to the stuff from their first album, On Through The Night. This track DESERVES its high status. And ONLY on this album, you get the FULL LENGTH version, which fades into the Steve Clark guitar instrumental Switch 625! Another underrated gem is You Got Me Runnin'. Although it's not the best song on the album, it's still excellent. What is the best song on here? A little number called Lady Strange. This is classic hard rock with a "harder edge" to it than their later rockers. Mirror Mirror has got to be one of the bands most underrated songs ever. Don't skip it! The band finishes off the album with No No No, a song which seems to get very mixed opinions here on Amazon. I think it's a good track, but you need to listen for yourself to formulate an opinion.
There is an import version of this album available which includes two bonus tracks - remix versions of Bringin' On The Heartbreak and Me And My Wine (a very popular but rare track.) Should you shell out the extra cash and get the import? Only if you're a die-hard fan of the band. The remixes on the import, while excellent, probably won't appeal to casual fans too much.
Overall, High 'N' Dry is a great, and highly underrated release from the young lads from Sheffield. If you're a fan of the band, casual or die-hard, GET THIS ALBUM. It's not quite as good as the follow-up, the immortal Pyromania, but it's still great and more than worthy of a score of 4.5. Don't pass it by!
on July 9, 2003
High and Dry captures the true essence and one of a kind sound of Def Leppard...just on the edge of superstardom !! The songs are a little less radio friendly (a good thing), a little longer, a little harder....the sound of a great band hungry to make it !! This album really showcases the raw power of Steve Clark's Les Paul...the lonesome, minor power chords that he made famous and nobody was really able to copy !! The songs on this one play like a great set in a large smokey bar venue...less glitz....more hard honest rock transitioning into what was to become Heavy Metal......not the stadium crapola that came later !! The songs on this album stand the test of time and while you won't hear many of them played today...or see them on a greatest hits album....these were the tunes that really make Def Leppard a great band !! Lady Strange (a glimpse of things to come...the muting of the guitar followed by clean, hard power chords), Hit and Run (a great showcase of the power of Joe Elliot), Bringing on the Heartbreak (feel that classic bending and sad sound created by the haunting master Steve Clark), and my favorite....Mirror, Mirror (you can hear shades of Pyromania in this song....the sound is strong, soulful and powerful...nobody does it like this !!!)
This is a great album and a must for Heavy Metal fans !! This one is the dark horse among Def Leppard's albums and was overshadowed by their later works...but this is the real deal....the real drums, the real stripped down guitars, the hungry vocals !! 5 stars all the way !!
on June 29, 2003
Before PYROMANIA, HYSTERIA, and EUPHORIA there was HIGH N DRY, their 2nd album from 1981. This is one of my all time favorite albums. This is the "heavy metal" Def Leppard before PYROMANIA and HYSTERIA. It is is 22 years later and I still consider this their best album. If you only know the band by their "hit" CDs, then this CD will not sound like the same band to you. I like the other albums but this one is without a doubt, their most rockin'. Songs like "Another Hit And Run", "You Got Me Runnin'" and "Let It Go" are up tempo guitar heavy tracks and "Switch 625" is a very cool short instrumental. The band tried another instrumental years later on the "Euphoria" CD but it wasn't that good to be honest. A must buy for any Def Lep fan old and new. A NWOBHM(new wave of british heavy metal) classic. Also check out "Screaming For Vengeance" by Judas Priest and "Killers" by Iron Maiden. These 3 bands, in my opinion, defined british rock in the early and mid-80's.
on May 26, 2003
Def Leppard's second album "High 'n dry" (1981) is quite good but not as good as the debut "On through the night" released the previous year. The production is rather raw even 'tho it was produced by Robert "Mutt" Lange, who later helped Def Leppard abandon anything good they had in the beginning. The first two songs on the album is nothing special at all, but when the captivating "High 'n' dry" comes along and is followed by the beautiful ballad "Bringin' on the heartbreak" the album begin to take off. "You got me running" is a good melodic tune and "Mirror, mirror" have a bit of hit potential. "No, no, no" is the fastest and most rocking number on the album, and it have a slight connection the Led Zeppelin's "Rock and roll". But the real highlight on this effort is the very attractive "Lady strange", in which the band manage to create a rock tune with a very catchy chorus - clearly one of Def Leppard's best songs ever!
The albums "High 'n' dry" and "On through the night" both show a raw and unpolished approach from a young and hungry band. These two albums stand together and represent the early Def Leppard era of their own. As we all know the third one: "Pyromania" was the real start for Def Leppard's journey towards what they are today, even if Def Leppard on "Pyromania" still could rock.
on May 23, 2003
I agree that high & dry did mark a transition period for def leppard, but the rawness of the guitar on this recording combined with the early production of mutt lange create one of British heavy metals finest works. From the opening riff of "let it go" this album will probably please listeners who enjoy 80's iron maiden, judas priest, ac/dc and early ozzy. I personaly find much in common with ac/dc's back in black - another fine mutt lange recording. The lead guitar work of Pete Willis is strongly blues based yet aggressive and quite appropriate for this record. Also, if you enjoy Joe Elliot's vocal timbre and melodies then you should have a degree of comfort with high & dry. A bit of caution. If you expect high & dry to sound like the richly crafted hysteria, it does not. The massive ooh-ahh vocals which became a def leppard trademark on later albums had not fully developed at the time of this recording. Nor do samples and lushly layered effects color high & dry's songs to the degree of later works. In conclusion, high & dry is a personal favorite; well recorded, good composition and unique vocal stylizations marking a period in def leppard's histoy just before they became hugely successful.
on January 14, 2003
This album is absolutely unique in Def Leppard's carrier. It's their only classic of heavy metal ranking in the new wave of british heavy metal. The previous one was softer and more friendly, the next is more pop-rock. The songs are not polished at all, on the contrary to "Pyromania".
For the "High and Dry" album, Def Leppard has taken advantage of services of AC/DC's producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, which is not nothing. This album is also marked by guitarist Pete Willis, who will be fired after this album for coming drunk to some record sessions. This will be the first big mistake of Def Leppard.
Personal ratings :
Let it go - A+
This was the other single of the album with "Bringin' on the heartbreak". It has some amazing guitar riffs, it's sometimes soft, sometimes hard. It has a good chorus, with Joe Elliott's screams as backing vocals.
Another hit and run - A+
This one has also some excellent guitar riffs and an excellent intro. Great guitar solos can be heard.
High 'n' dry - B-
I'm not too much into this song.
Drinking all day, drinking party, saturday night, that's not my style.
Bringin' on the heartbreak - A+
Def Leppard's best ballad. Typically my point of view. I agree with this song.
Switch 625 - A
This is an instrumental that follows directly "Bringin' on the heartbreak", on which you can hear the begining at the end of the song. Best of Vault wasn't well made for that !
Some screams can be heard on this instrumental.
You got me runnin' - A
I find this song sounds a lot like the Rolling Stones. It's really pure rock 'n' roll.
Lady strange - B+
Strange song. Sounds quite immature, but it's still a pleasure to hear this. It has a good chorus.
On through the night - C-
On my opinion, the weak point of the album. Although it's the title of the previous album, it's on this CD. Strange.
Nothing really catches me, the chorus is mediocre, it's annoying.
Mirror, Mirror - A+
One other high point. Sounds like a strong ballad, though the word 'ballad' isn't really appropriate. The chorus is catchy and powerful.
No no no - B-
I don't like this song very much, it's very immature. Just for fun, when you need something strong.
Finally, this is a great album of heavy metal, an album Def Leppard won't make again. There's almost no production, which some don't appreciate and therefore prefer "Pyromania" and "Hysteria". My opinion is that "high 'n' dry" and "Pyromania" are the best Def Leppard albums.
Rick Allen - Drums
Pete Willis - Guitar
Joe Elliott - Vocals
Steve Clark - Guitar
Rick Savage - Bass
on August 12, 2002
High and Dry is the album to hear passionate, raw vocals from Joe Eliott and excellent guitar work form Steve Clark and Pete Willis. They seemed to have captured a mystique on this record that would culminate later in Pyromania. The first time I heard "Another Hit and Run" I was hooked.. There's a spontaneity felt here that is really genuine and sadly missed in there most recent few albums. Pyromania is a metal masterpiece yes, but High and Dry is where they truly took musical risks and put there guts on the line. "Bringing on the Heartbreak" is just a classic ballad and by far there best...it's haunting yet very melodic and it's candidness is unmatched...even Joe's Sheffield accent when he sings, "Taking on the best of me"...his vocals never sounded so passionate! Another great thing is the pace of the record..the songs are in your face almost without a pause. Steve may not be in the Hall of Greats but his style of riffs and songwriting were unique..Pete Willis was great too..there styles meshed like no one else..High and Dry rocks hard and has pop harmonies which was unique considering how hard they rocked. That's what made them stand out as a band...how they cleverly mixed both of these qualities and pulled it off and still remaining heavy. I think Def Leppard knock Pete Willis too much..he was there for the writing of Pyromania too...Phil Collen replaced him and recorded a few solos but the songs were already there...
High and Dry is a great album with only one track that is weak "(No, no, no)"...One song that to this day still gets me going is "Mirror, Mirror"...just a brilliant song..very moody and one of there most memorable and interesting riffs. There have been lots of comparisons to AC/DC but what separates High and Dry is the brilliant harmonies and the ricochet of 2 separate guitars weaving in and out of Joe's vocals.
I highly recommend this cd...It's a must have in a quality hard rock collection. This will always be the album that Def Leppard truly rocked in a genuine way...no pretenses, no premeditations just honest Rock and Roll from 5 truly talented musicians... A very underated classic hard rock album. Who cares if the production paled next to Pyromania or Hysteria???...the songs are strong and the very rawness of the recording only adds to the greatness of it...
on July 22, 2002
I would never trash Pyromania or Hysteria, as they too are '80s hard rock classics that I will forever love. Nonetheless, it kills me how many people who claim to be Def Leppard fans overlook this album. My review of "Vault" (their greatest hits collection) gives that album of amazing all-time classic hits only 4 stars--mainly because all but the ballad "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" are ignored from this album. This to me is the defining Def Leppard album in many ways.
"Let It Go" is an aggressive hard rocker with a metal edge--a great lead off to the album. "Another Hit And Run" is also a fantastic hard rocker, and then comes the amazing title track. To this day, I can't help but bang my head to that classic song.
"Switch 625" is a hard rocking instrumental. Songs like "You Got Me Runnin'" and "On Through The Night" continue the metal edge with the over the top melodic vocals and crunching guitar riffs. "Lady Strange" is one kicking song as well--listen to that guitar solo! Man...all these tracks are rocking and amazing!!
As others have mentioned, this album is Def Leppard before their polished sound truly came to be. While that is true, these guys always had a melodic sensibility about them--even on this early, relatively non-mainstream album. All I can say is trust me--if you haven't heard this you have been missing out on one of the classic hard rock albums of the past 25 years. Def Leppard may have become a pop-based band later on (including on their soon-to-be released "X", as I have heard it). To me, there is nothing wrong with that as long as the quality musicianship is there, which it has been with these guys for the most part. They have a right to change with the times. However, it will never get better than the early efforts from this band. This album is a true highlight in this legendary band's amazing career. Don't miss it!