This section looks at the 'Hello America' UK single release. The first of two singles from the album alongside 'Rock Brigade'.
"Well I'm takin' me a trip I'm going down to Californ-i-a."
Def Leppard released their classic single Hello America in the UK 40 years ago on this day in 1980.
The first single to be released ahead of the debut album 'On Through The Night'.
The single was released on 8th February 1980 while the band were on their six week UK club tour.
The release date has been corrected from 21st February via the original Phonogram press release.
The debut album would follow just over five weeks later in mid March.
This single would eventually reach Number 45 on the UK charts and almost give the band it's first hit single.
The Top of The Pops playback performance filmed shortly before the album's release would not be shown.
This was due to the single not entering the main UK Top 40 chart which the show concentrated on.
The song was a brand new recording from the album sessions a Starling Studios in Ascot, England produced by (Colonel) Tom Allom.
The 1979 'Wasted' single had included the first (Nick Tauber produced) version which was recorded in September 1979 in London, England at Olympic Studios.
Shown below are some quotes from the band about this song.
The UK single came in a Limited Edition picture sleeve featuring the iconic original triangular DEF LEPPARD band logo set against a white background.
The sleeve depicted someone waving a Stars 'n' Stripes U.S.A. flag on a boat entering New York harbour with the city skyline visible across the water.
The single was given the catalogue number LEPP! on Vertigo/Phonogram Records with 'Good Morning Freedom' as the B-Side.
This B-Side was only available on this single until the 2018 'Collection Volume 1' box set when it was released on CD for the very first time.
The back cover featured the logo set against a light blue background with Hello America written in red and the B-Side title and other wirting in black.
Later issues of the seven inch came in plain Phonogram red/black sleeves.
Various international versions (Japan, Holland and Italy) had the album artwork adapted with the 'Hello America' and 'Good Morning Freedom' song titles added.
Joe Elliott on Hello America - March 2016 Interview Quotes
"We had never even been to America at that point. I was working in a factory with lots of nuts and bolts and no natural light. But there was a lot of downtime, and I would sit around writing stuff."
With this one, I had seen a TV show the night before - Kojak or Starsky & Hutch, something where they show the tree-lined boulevards of L.A."
You see all these palm trees and you go, "Wow, this is a lot sexier than Sheffield!" That's where that lyric came from - "Well I'm takin' me a trip/I'm going down to Californ-i-a."
"It was, 'Get me out of here!'."
Joe Elliott on Hello America - July 2011 Interview Quotes
“Hello America” was a song written by me when I was working in a windowless factory, just wondering. My view of America was from watching TV, watching Kojak and Hawaii Five-O. The palm trees up and down Sunset Boulevard looked exactly like they did in the movies."
"It was everything we expected it to be. It was bigger and brasher. It’s a great place to try and conquer. It’s what every British musician has tried to achieve since British musicians existed."
"What we read in all the British papers was “Stones Conquer America,” “Zeppelin Conquers America.” You think, “Oh God, it’s the next step for us. We’re gonna go there.” It’s like a Viking warrior stepping onto New York from a boat, you know?"
"That’s how we viewed it, like, “If the Stones can do it, then so can I.”
"Every town in America had at least one, two, or maybe three radio stations that played rock 24 hours a day. In England, we had a rock specialist on for two hours a week. Our kind of music very rarely broke top 40."
"Songs like “Black Betty” and “Hold Your Head Up” and “Radar Love,” you could literally count them on one hand. There were incredibly few rock songs making it out to the airwaves until the ’80s came along."
"So it was a club, an elitist club. It was like jazz. You were cool if you liked rock. The Who used to sell all the alcohol, but they couldn’t sell a record."
"It was an odd situation, and then we got the States, with billboards all over the place the size of a house advertising the new Def Leppard album, or whatever that was out. It was nothing like where we were from. Everything was so much more underground."
1987 'Animal Instinct' Biography Quotes
'Hello America', released as a single in February 1980, three weeks before the album, was vastly improved from the Tauber version.
Pumped up by Rick Allen's awesome teenage horsepower and brightened by sheetmetal vocal harmonies.
Record Mirror Magazine - February 1980 Single Review
More powerful than an arc welder at 30 paces!.
In what must rank as the most vigorous polishing job since Ian Hunter removed his sunglasses (if he ever did).
Def Leppard have been given the full treatment for their second (Vertigo) single and have emerged sounding entirely fit to play third on the bill to ZZ Top and Foghat in a Texan baseball stadium.
This presumably is the intention.
Gone is the pubescent aggression of 'Wasted', instead a big hand please for a brilliant screeching intro, a wall of guitars and suitably hopeful lyrics.
Unfortunately the whole shebang falls apart by the time the guitar solo comes in.
But if there's nothing left to learn what else are they going to do for the next 12 years?.
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