Def Lep­pard: Hys­te­ria

Classic Rock - - Contents -

Vega vo­cal­ist Nick Work­man on the mon­ster al­bum that came to de­fine Lep­pard and helped de­fine the 80s.

More than a decade into a some­times schiz­o­phrenic ca­reer, the artist first known as John Cougar, and then John Cougar Mel­len­camp, had hit pay­dirt with his eighth al­bum Scare­crow in 1985. That had es­tab­lished him and his band as Amer­ica’s heart­land rock­ers of choice.

“When we walked out on stage,” Mel­len­camp said some 30 years later, “there wasn’t a bet­ter band in the world. I don’t care who you name – U2, the Rolling Stones – we were bet­ter. And we knew it.”

For his next al­bum, Mel­len­camp wanted to make a record that ex­panded his sound to take in tradAmer­i­can folk and coun­try colours, and that also summed up the bluecol­lar mood of his coun­try at the end of Ron­ald Rea­gan’s pres­i­dency.

When re­leased in the sum­mer of 1987, The Lone­some Ju­bilee was Mel­len­camp’s most richly sketched and in­flu­en­tial records. The sound, and the home­spun wis­dom weaved into songs such as Pa­per In Fire and We Are The Peo­ple, set a tem­plate for the next gen­er­a­tion of coun­try rock­ers.

It went on to be­come Mel­len­camp’s best seller, and was also the be­gin­ning of what proved to a long re­treat from the main­stream and to­wards his cur­rent sta­tus as a cult-ish, griz­zled old coot hailed by Johnny Cash as one of Amer­ica’s 10 great­est ever song­writ­ers. PR

‘The sound of the al­bum set a tem­plate for the next gen­er­a­tion of

coun­try rock­ers.’

John Mel­len­camp: hailed by Johnny Cash as one of Amer­ica’s 10 great­est

ever song­writ­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.