This section looks at the 'High 'n' Dry' UK album chart peak. The second studio album became the band's second Top 30 entry in their homeland.
"We've got some great songs and Mutt Lange is an excellent producer."
Def Leppard's second studio album High 'n' Dry reached Number 26 in the UK album chart on this day in 1981.
The album had been released in the UK on 6th July to coincide with their UK tour.
It entered at Number 35 on 25th July, the final night of the tour in London, and went up to this peak position of 26 a week later.
In all it spent seven weeks on the chart. Three inside the Top 40.
The second studio album to be released by the band after 'On Through The Night' in March 1980.
That album had peaked at Number 15.
Read some quotes about the album below.
At Number One in this week was Cliff Richard with 'Love Songs'.
Other rock acts on the same chart included Motorhead (5) and future tour mates REO Speedwagon (7).
UK Top Five Albums - 1st August 1981
- 01 - Cliff Richard - Love Songs
- 02 - Randy Crawford - Secret Combination
- 03 - Starsound - Stars On 45
- 04 - Kim Wilde - Kim Wilde
- 05 - Motorhead - No Sleep Till Hammersmith
- 26 - Def Leppard - High 'n' Dry - (Peak Position)
The album was written in late 1980/early 1981 back home in Sheffield following a short break after the end of the 1980 tour in December. Having been made to wait for a few months the band met up in London with Producer Mutt Lange and recorded the album at Battery Studios in Willesden, North London from March to June.
Mutt Lange helped to change the band's sound and took them from an ordinary run of the mill NWOBHM band onto a different level. This was highlighted by the song 'When The Rain Falls' with Mutt taking the guitar riff and helping them transform it into 'Let It Go'. Something that would also be done on the next album with 'Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)' (Medicine Man) and 'Too Late For Love' (This Ship Sails Tonight).
'Let It Go' was also the first song to be recorded and the first time the band would work with the late Mike Shipley and fellow engineer Nigel Green. Both of whom, would go on to play integral parts in the 'Pyromania' and 'Hysteria' albums.
No No No.....
The original vinyl record had the NO, NO, NO... ending repeated about 30 times until the record finished playing with no fade out.
Both 'Let It Go' and 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak' were issued as singles in the UK with live promo videos filmed in Liverpool during the July UK tour. As yet no evidence has surfaced on the band actually performing BOTH live during the 1981 tour. 'Let It Go' was the only US single and reached Number 34 on the Rock Chart.
The cover art saw the band team up with Hipgnosis, led by the late Storm Thorgerson, for the first time. Various Pink Floyd websites suggest the artwork was originally designed in the 1970s. Storm had (apparently) intended to use the artwork for two Pink Floyd albums in the late 70s but it was rejected and ended up fitting the title of Leppards album.
Animal Instinct - 1987 Biography Quotes
"Mutt was not present at the band's 1980 songwriting sessions in Sheffield. Leppard had set up shop in the paper factory there with a Fostex deck and a Teac four-track recorder, laying down rough versions of the compiled material. A couple of those demos made their way to London for Mutt's consideration. Then in March of '81, Leppard relocated to a rehearsal space in North London, down the street from a women's prison , ready to start pre-production. On the very first day, Mutt walking in looking like Robert Plant, according to Joe, sporting long wavy blond hair and wearing a heavy trench coat."
"He introduced himself and said 'Right, let's get started then. This song you do When The Rain Falls - play it faster.' So we played it for him, faster than usual. Then he said 'Play it slower.' Then it was faster. He asked me to sing a different melody, to change the meter. This went on and on. And eventually that song became Let It Go."
"Mutt was quite happy with a number of the songs essentially as Leppard had written them. There were a few significant changes made on Another Hit And Run and No No No. High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night), on the other hand, was practically unrecognisable from the song Leppard brought down from Sheffield."
"I wanted one song on the album to have a kind of Highway To Hell feel - no bass to start with, coming in stages," Mutt relates. "We got a groove going for the verse, and then tried to figure out where we wanted to go with it. We'd throw ideas around, these basic feels, sing them and then have the guitarists play them to make them sound a bit more credible. Once the verse was in shape, we worked on the chorus. It had to be a real anthemic sort of thing."
"In retrospect, the actual time spent at Battery Studios (Mutt's studio of preference) cutting High 'n' Dry. was only about two months. The band started in April and, according to Peter Mensch, the last overdub was recorded on June 11, after which Mutt invested another couple of weeks for mixing. But the process of recording each instrument and vocal individually subdivided into sections, was a bit more arduous than Def Leppard were used to. Those two months, at times, seemed like years."
High 'n' Dry Album - 1981 Band Member Quotes
"We're looking forward to it a lot. We've got some great songs and Mutt Lange is an excellent producer. I think we're going to surprise a lot of people who thought we were just a sort of flash in the pan."
Rick Allen (on Mutt Lange)
"The guy is a genius. He's a slave driver, but he's a genius."
Mutt Lange to Peter Mensch 1979 Quote
"He's not the best singer I've ever heard but he shows promise. I'd like to do their next album."
Joe Elliott (on not using Tom Allom again)
"Tom is great, really funny, but we didn't want to use him on the second album. We didn't want to get stuck in a rut, we wanted something different and we wanted it to be a definite improvement, which it is, Mutt is great. He really works you hard and you need that in the studio."
Joe Elliott (on the studio)
"I'll admit I'm a real wimp in the studio basically because there you've got no natural adrenalin, there's no audience, no nothing. Mutt put a lot of dynamics into AC/DC and everybody else and that's what our last album lacked. If this album sounds anything like AC/DC it's not his doing. It's our songwriting. He's given us a sound on this album which we didn't have before."
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