Def Leppard

The Def Leppard EP

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Desperate to escape a life sentence in the steel mills of their native Sheffield, England, the members of Def Leppard quite literally willed their band into existence toward the end of the 1970s. Though they'd only recently begun performing live in local pubs, the precocious teenagers felt they were ready for vinyl immortality and had no illusions that they could just sit around waiting for a record company to discover them. So they took matters into their own hands, launching their own Bludgeon Riffola label and borrowing money from singer Joe Elliott's father to pay for some studio time. Recorded in late 1978 and issued in January of the following year, the Def Leppard EP became an underground, word-of-mouth smash, quickly selling out and requiring a reprint the very next month. It also landed the group on the crest of the fast-rising New Wave of British Heavy Metal, alongside other upstarts such as Iron Maiden and Saxon. To their credit, Def Leppard's sense of self-importance and sheer balls made all the difference, as fans instantly perceived them as true professionals solely based on the fact that they had put out a record. Not that its three tracks -- "Ride Into the Sun," "Getcha Rocks Off," and "The Overture" -- were anything to scoff at, as the first remained a collector's piece until it was re-recorded for 1992's Retro Active collection and the second became Def Leppard's signature song for many years to come. It was also re-cut, along with the third track, for their major-label debut, 1980's On Through the Night LP.

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