Great Metal Albums of 1981: Def Leppard- High ‘n’ Dry



Up until very recently, I thought Def Leppard’s second album “High ‘n’ Dry” came out in 1982 and I was going to post about their first album. Even when a fellow blogger stated that this was a 1981, I still thought about waiting until I get to 1982 before I wrote about it. After all, I always begin each year with albums that were in fact released the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the following one. I already have some in mind for when I get to 1982 but there’s still a way to go before that. Furthermore and for reasons I’ll state when I get to 1982, that year was a very barren year for me musically so waiting could be justified further, at least in my mind. However, it didn’t seem right that I wait and therefore am going to visit this album right now.

Another great thing about 1981, which I have concluded recently, is that what is commonly called New Wave Of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM, was probably at its zenith that year. The albums I have covered to this point prove that. Def Leppard were another great British metal act to ride this title wave and set the stage to what was to become heavy metal’s golden decade. A few days ago was the first time I listened to “High ‘n’ Dry” in many years. I never bought it because my sister had it and we would listen to one another’s records quite often. Of course, that was after she got over her affinity for disco and the Bee Gees in the very late 70s. It was their next album “Pyromania” that was always number one with me but after hearing “High ‘n’ Dry” again, I’m not so sure.

If there was every a good opener to a Def Leppard album, it has to be “Let It Go” for certain. This song makes you want to listen to the rest of the album and I wish I had paid more attention back then because the title track would have definitely been a cruising song for the car. While it isn’t the power ballad that surpasses April Wine’s “Just Between You and Me” it does come pretty close and it too kicks the ass off “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” I also found the instrumental “Switch 625” to be very well done. I think the reason why this album is so good is that this was recorded in a time when Def Leppard were hungry and that hunger is shown here in the album. They didn’t have to worry about commercial success, they just let rip and I think producer Mutt Lange understood this at the time. “High ‘n’ Dry” is definitely their most powerful album.

Track Listing:

1. Let It Go

2. Another Hit and Run

3. High ‘n’ Dry (Another Saturday Night)

4. Bringing on the Heartbreak

5. Switch 625

6. You Got Me Runnin’

7. Lady Strange

8. On Through the Night

9. Mirror Mirror, (Look Into My Eyes)

10. No No No

Def Leppard

Def Leppard

Joe Elliot- vocals

Pete Willis- guitar, backing vocals

Steve Clark- guitar, backing vocals

Rick Savage- bass, backing vocals

Rick Allen- drums

This would be the last album to feature guitarist Pete Willis on guitar but that’s a story saved for another time. Now is the time to enjoy a great album, arguably their best from a great band. This was the time when as far as heavy metal is concerned, Britannia ruled the waves and Def Leppard were one of the components of that.

Next album: Van Halen- Fair Warning

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London



17 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1981: Def Leppard- High ‘n’ Dry”

  1. I believe I am well on record as saying this is the band’s BEST!


  2. I want to try this album and their debut out.


  3. Fried Chicken And Metal Says:

    Indeed!! The lunch course in the middle of Def Leppard’s three relevant albums. I prefer “On Through The Night” and “Pyromania” in total, but this is a really solid record!


  4. Bringing on the Heartbreak is one of my all-time favorites. Love it!


  5. The first time I saw Def Leppard was on the Old Grey Whistle Test performing Let It Go. I was a fan up to the end of the 80s and always regretted not seeing them live ‘in the round.’

    They were unapologetically commercial and as Mutt Lange gradually moved their sound towards Bryan Adams (or was it the other way round) I went off them, but you still had to admire their honesty in wanting to be successful and achieving it. They were a hard working band.

    Whilst Pyromania was a good album I think as I get older I prefer the sound of High N Dry, but it’s very close call.


    • It is a very close call between those two albums. I did see Def Leppard at 1986 Donington Festival and they were good but can you believe they didn’t play “Bringing on the Heartbreak?” They moved well towards commerciality as the decade went on.


  6. “High ‘n’ Dry” is a classic! I’ll always have “Pyromania” as my #1 Def Leppard album, still this album cranks! I actually owned “Pyromania” before “High ‘n’ Dry” cause the FM stations in the USA played the snot out of “Pyromania” from the get-go! Thus, I worked my way backwards quickly with Def Leppard’s catalog.

    I honestly remember FM stations start to play songs from “High ‘n’ Dry” once “Pyromania” took off… the Connecticut FM stations, anyways! Great call, Metal Buddy!! \m/\m/


  7. Fantastic review and lets face facts. The 80’s were great for metal. High and Dry is a great record. In my opinion it is not as good as Pyromania or Hysteria (which is a serious piece of rock and roll) but it is still a great record. In the 1980’s Def Leppard produced three great albums that even today stand the test of time. This was the first of that Triology. Mr Lange take a bow….


    • Thanks and the fact is that the whole point of this blog is to enlighten people to the fact that the 1980s was the golden age of heavy metal. You are so spot on about those three Def Leppard albums. They do stand the test of time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: