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#29 In My NWOBHM Rarities Review Series
The second from the then skyrocketing-to-stardom Def Leppard featured ‘Hello America’, a track that had already been made available on the ‘Wasted’ seven inch, as a radio friendly b-side to the more aggressive, and metal title track. This song has single written all over it though, and it was inevitable that Vertigo Records would publish it as a well-promoted single of its own. As an added bonus, our b-side is a track which didn’t make it onto the upcoming breakthrough debut, the NWOBHM classic ‘On Through the Night’ – which makes for added collectable initiative. I dunno about you, but I love when songs are only available on EPs or as b-sides, rather than just taking two songs straight from an album and whacking them out there; it makes them more special and collectible, and ‘Good Morning Freedom’ aint a bad track either.
‘Hello America’ as I’ve said before, is like an anthem for the real-life flesh world Def Leppard, themselves. It’s a song which expresses, very literally, the band’s wishes to breakthrough in the United States as a young rock band, and take the place by storm; it’s very befitting. It certainly is the most commercial, melodic and saccharin song on the first full-length, and it’s phenomenally catchy, like all their material from said album (or pretty much their catalogue as a whole). This track is the exemplification of Def Leppard’s uncanny ability to craft hook-heavy, melodic AOR in a style and fashion unattainable by most. Even fellow NWOBHM AORists Shogun, Praying Mantis or Gaskin couldn’t write pop rock with this level of prowess, perhaps Bronz comes close, but this is pretty high-grade, catchy shit.
The b-side is a track which retains a lot of 70’s rock to it. The guitar riffs are simplistic, and blues-rock sounding, even in the somewhat unusual, but interesting guitar solo which rocks along nicely. As always, Elliot’s high pitched, angelic voice as at the forefront, and his performance here is pretty typical (read: good). Lyrics are pretty interesting in this one with stuff about rainbows and whatnot popping up throughout. It’s definitely got a b-side-ish quality to it though, it doesn’t have the same phenomenal hook quality that pretty much every song that made it onto the debut had, hence it was probably axed due to this. Either way, and interesting, and decent b-side rarity.