This section looks at the 'Action' UK single release. The second single from the upcoming 'Retro-Active' album.
"The backing track was recorded in a day."
Def Leppard released their classic single Action on this day in 1994 in the UK.
The song was the first cover version to be released as a single by the band. The original was released by Sweet in July 1975.
It was first released as the B-Side to 'Make Love Like A Man' in June 1992 with a more electronic sounding snare drum along with two other future singles 'Two Steps Behind' and 'Miss You In A Heartbeat'.
When putting together the 1993 'Retro-Active' collection of B-Sides and unreleased songs/versions the band decided to revamp it with a new snare drum sound. Vivian Campbell (along with friend P.J. Smith) sang backing vocals in one of his first contributions to the band.
The song was included on the 'Retro-Active' compilation album and it reached Number 14 on the UK Top 40 single chart in January 1994. One better than Sweet's original which got to Number 15 in 1975.
The front cover live photo was taken inat the Hallenstadion on 10th May 1993 at the end of an 'Adrenalize' world tour concert.
The single was released in the UK on a regular CD single featuring Joe Elliott's original 1985 demo for 'She's Too Tough' with his original guitar solo included. Plus Phil Collen's original demo for 'Miss You In A Heartbeat'.
A second limited edition CD single was housed in a PVC Video Box/Digipak case featuring a 12 page (and very inaccurate) UK Discography, Joe's demo for 'Two Step's Behind' and 'Love Bites' live from the 1993 Don Valley Stadium show. Cassette and 7" versions were also released.
On Germany the CD single included both 'Foolin'' and 'Too Late For Love' live from Don Valley Stadium. This was the only release that included 'TLFL' from this show. Both 'Foolin'' and 'Love Bites' would be released again on the 1995 'Vault' bonus live CD.
Joe Elliott - Vault Inner Sleeve Quote
"If you're going to cover a song there's two choices: either copy it exactly or do it completely different. We opted for the former and got Andy Scott's enthusiastic approval."
Def Leppard - Retro-Active Inner Sleeve Quote
"We wanted to do a couple of cover tunes for the 'Adrenalize' album B-Sides. We did this tune because we were all Big Sweet fans. Nuff said."
Phil Collen - 2004 Best Of Sleeve Quote
"I was also a huge Sweet fan when I was a kid."
Vivian Campbell - 2004 Best Of Sleeve Quote
"I don't think I actually played guitar on it. Those parts were already done before I joined. But I definitely remember trying to sing those ridiculously high vocal parts. It was a song that had a big influence on me as a spotty-faced youth. Sweet were definitely one of the rockier glam bands."
Joe Elliott - 2004 Best Of Sleeve Quote
"The backing track was recorded in a day. And I sang it the next night. I was hammered so there was much sobering up to be done. But when I heard it back. I thought. 'Wow, I should get drunk more often'. We knew we could cut loose on b-sides. Which 'Action' was at first. But we had to learn to extend that to everything. It certainly pulled the stick from out of my ass."
Joe Elliott - 2018 Video Quotes
"Action originally recorded by a band called Sweet. Was a hit for them in about 1975 I think from an album called Give Us A Wink. Again like Two Steps Behind was chosen as a B-Side because we didn't have to write it. It's like let's just do a couple of covers. So what shall we do and Action was just one of them kind of songs that we always thought when Def Leppard gets very commercial we sound like kind of Sweet, Queen, Slade that kind of stuff."
"It's what we grew up listening to. So and watching it on Top Of The Pops. So it was logical that we'd sound that way and they were also logical if we did a song from a band like that it would sound a bit like us 'cause we always sounded a bit like them."
"So Action was like the obvious one for us because it was like a proper pop rock song. it wasn't like Wig Wam Bam or any of their earlier stuff which was too pop. So it made sense to give it a go. And just like Two Steps Behind when Retro-Active came out the label were hinting that they thought they had a chance getting this thing on the radio. So we hurriedly shot a quick video for it which was literally footage shot from another song with me superimposed over what was then black screen."
"They didn't have green screens I don't think in 1993. Just mouthing the lyrics and we ended up with a song that went Top 15 in the UK and did pretty well in other territories as well. And again it was just, it was an accident. It wasn't like some big long planned out thing. We did it for fun and I guess the world picked up on that because funnily enough it became a hit."
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