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def leppard / 20th Century Boy Single Release

on this day - 21st August 2006

On this day in Def Leppard history the '20th Century Boy' single was released in North America.
The second single to be taken from the 'YEAH!' covers album.

Def Leppard 2006.

"I saw Marc Bolan and T. Rex in 1971 on Top of the Pops."

Def Leppard 2006.

This section looks at the '20th Century Boy' North American single release. Originally by T. Rex and recorded by the band for their first ever covers album 'YEAH!'.

"We went with 20th Century Boy rather than Get It On."

Def Leppard released their cover of T. Rex's classic song 20th Century Boy as a single on this day in 2006 in the USA.

The second US single from the YEAH! album which had been released there on 23rd May.

It was released on 21st August 2006 as a digital only single in the USA.

The song did not reach the main Billboard Hot 100 chart or any of the Rock charts.

The original by T. Rex was released in 1973 and entered the UK singles chart at Number 3 on 4th March.

Def Leppard's recording was the first to feature a family member playing an instrument. Vivian's brother John Campbell played saxophone and was listed as John 'bro' Campbell.

Def Leppard 2006.

Def Leppard 2006. Screenshot

The song was also the second single by the band to feature backing vocals by Stevie Vann-Lange (ex-wife of Mutt Lange). She had previously appeared on the 1990 demo for When Love & Hate Collide with the vocals used on the 1995 single release that became the band's biggest UK hit.

The single artwork featured a band promo shot along with the song title and classic Def Leppard logo.

No promo video was made after plans to shoot a live video on tour were abandoned after some scenes were filmed at the Mountain View, CA show on 28th August 2006 (See YouTube Video Playlist linked below for the clip).

Including a somewhat odd moment where Joe went to the front rows and kissed a girl in the audience.

Instead the live performance with Brian May from the May 2006 VH1 Rock Honours was broadcast by the station at the time of the single release.

Read some quotes about this song below.

Vivian Campbell 2006. Marc Bolan 1973.

Def Leppard 20th Century Boy - T. Rex Artwork

The song was added into the band's setlist on their US summer tour and started off by Vivian who had also recreated T. Rex's classic 'Electric Warrior' album cover inside the 'YEAH!' booklet.

The photo taken by the original photographer Mick Rock who also shot the 1973 cover photo featuring Marc Bolan.

That album has another Def Leppard connection with the song title 'Cosmic Dancer' being referenced on 1999's 'Euphoria' album track '21st Century Sha La La La Girl'.

Def Leppard 2006. Screenshot

Def Leppard 20th Century Boy - 2006 Band Quotes

Phil Collen

"When we started getting the songs together for the YEAH! album, the one thing we wanted to avoid was doing the obvious big hit from these artists. When anyone mentions T. Rex to anyone they go "oh yeah, I love 'Get It On, Bang A Gong.'" That's one of the reasons why we did '20th Century Boy'. The other reason is we knew we could tear it up."

Def Leppard 2006.

Def Leppard 2006.

Def Leppard 20th Century Boy - 2006 Band Quotes

Joe Elliott

"Oh boy, T. Rex...what to do, what to do...Can't do "Get It On", it's been done by Power Station, etc. "Metal Guru" was an option, so was "Telegram Sam," but after going around the houses we went for "20th Century Boy" because it was, as a lot of these songs are, the underdog (none of these songs actually made it to No. 1 in the charts)."

"It was also a great excuse for those wonderful big girlie vocals so brilliantly supplied by our long time friend, and my personal saviour back in the Pyromania days, Stevie Lange."

Def Leppard 20th Century Boy - 2006 Band Quotes

Phil Collen - May 2006

"For example when it came to do a T-Rex cover, we went with 20th Century Boy rather than Get It On because it had been done to death. We wanted to do something different."

"Like with The Kinks too, Vivian originally suggested You Really Got Me but that has been done a zillion times too."

"I don't think there are many versions of Waterloo Sunset so went with that one instead. It all fits in with what I said earlier about not making the typical covers album a greatest hits thing."

Def Leppard 2006.

Def Leppard 2006. Screenshot

Def Leppard 20th Century Boy - 2006 Band Quotes

Vivian Campbell - January 2006

"I saw Marc Bolan and T. Rex in 1971 on Top of the Pops, and Joe has the same memory."

"I was nine years old, and I knew I wanted to play guitar. So most of the songs come from the glam era: T. Rex, Roxy Music, E.L.O."

Def Leppard YEAH! Album - 2006 Band Quotes

Joe Elliott - June 2006

"There's two types of lyric writer. There's Bob Dylan, whose answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. And there's Marc Bolan, with his hub cap diamond star halo."

"It means nothing, but God it sounds great. That's what I do. It's nursery rhymes for grown-ups. It doesn't have any meaning. But that's all that rock'n'roll is. It's just entertainment. And, yes, it's totally tongue in cheek."

Def Leppard YEAH! Album - 2006 Band Quotes

Vivian Campbell - August 2006

"This record has been reviewed in one of two ways: Either people think we're all washed up because we decided to do the covers...or they think it's a good idea because nobody really wants to hear new Def Leppard."

We toyed with the notion of doing a cover song, and Joe Elliott, our lead singer, quickly parlayed that into the concept of doing an entire covers album."

"So we decided to make a record that reflects where we come from. These songs, for the most part, represent our formative musical years. People are always pegging us as a heavy metal band, which we're really not."

Our first and primary influences are pop music. Ultimately we're a sheep in wolf's clothing. If you stripped away the bombast of Def Leppard, there actually are pop songs with choruses underneath."

Watch 20th Century Boy live performance videos from 2006 on this YouTube Playlist

Def Leppard 20th Century Boy Videos.

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