Def Leppard‘s studio catalog, along with the requisite rare B-sides, live tunes and other nuggets, will be released in a career-spanning box set series; Volume One, the 80s-oriented first of four installments, will drop Friday June 01. It’s centered on the band’s first four albums, 1980’s On Through The Night, 1981’s High ‘n’ Dry, 1983’s Pyromania and 1987’s Hysteria, shipping in eight-LP and seven-CD formats. The bonus stuff includes early recordings, flipsides, and the Live At The LA Forum concert album, which was previously seen as a bonus disc tucked into the deluxe CD version of Pyromania.
The collection, curated by Joe Elliott, is encased in a freshly commissioned sleeve, and includes a hardback book with rare images. The sets also include Def Leppard’s self-titled debut 1979 EP on a faux 17.8cm single and on a 7.6cm CD. There are also written introductions courtesy of Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen and Phil Collen.
Def Leppard’s early years were marked by a move from hard-edged rock to more radio-friendly hair metal; the transition paid off in spades, as the Mutt Lange-helmed Pyromania and Hysteria achieved diamond status.
In a media release, Elliott mused about the band’s mélange of heaviness and pop hooks which catapulted the band into the stratosphere during the 80s. “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.”
The Leppards launch their massive co-headlining tour with Journey Monday May 21 in Hartford Connecticut; that trek includes a stop in Vancouver at Rogers Arena Monday October 01.