Def Leppard fans: How do you feel now that you have your own…personal…Jesus?
The cover of Depeche Mode’s classic is certainly well-made, filled with gritty, driving guitars and a mesmerizing groove.
Let’s Get “Personal”
In case you weren’t aware, “Personal Jesus” was recorded during Def Leppard’s Spotify Singles recording session back in May 2018.
Here’s what guitarist Phil Collen had to say about how the cover version came to be on Spotify’s Under Cover podcast:
“We did a covers album called Yeah! and we made a point to not do Beatles, [Rolling] Stones or [Led] Zeppelin – the run of the mill stuff.
“When this session came up, what was really interesting was that everyone was going, ‘Maybe we could do an Eagles song or an ABBA song.’ It was like, ‘No! That’s naff, that’s passé. Let’s do something that we wouldn’t have normally done. It would be really cool to do something that’s quite vital.’
“And Ronan, who’s our out-front guy, used Personal Jesus to test the PAs. Vivian Campbell said, ‘Hey, why don’t we do Personal Jesus?’ That’s one song that everyone agreed on.”
After reading Phil’s comments on some of the other songs the band considered, I must say it would have been really intriguing if Def Leppard had chosen to cover a track from The Eagles or ABBA.
Rick Savage penned Def Leppard’s fantastic (and underrated) Mirror Ball track “Kings of the World,” a song whose melody quickly brings to mind ABBA’s classic “The Winner Takes It All.”
Now just imagine if Def Leppard covered an ABBA song and what it could sound like; melodies galore and soaring choruses are Def Leppard and ABBA specialties — not only would it have been a great (albeit, unconventional) fit, it’s a musical experiment that would have generated a lot of interest.
How About A Different “Mode”
While we’re at it, it would have been a little more, um, adventurous if Def Leppard had covered a different Depeche Mode track.
“Enjoy The Silence” would have been a fun, interesting challenge compared to the very straightforward “Personal Jesus.”
Even lesser-known Depeche Mode gems like “Home” open up a world of opportunity and leaves one to wonder what Def Leppard could have created if given the chance. (The same applies to many other songs in Depeche Mode’s catalog.)
I have no doubt legions of Def Leppard fans are more than happy with “Personal Jesus,” and there’s definitely nothing wrong with how the track turned out; frankly, it’s arguably one of the best cover versions of the song ever done. (The track is also included on the band’s greatest hits compilation The Story So Far — The Best of Def Leppard, which you can read more about here.)
But taking a bigger risk would have been more provocative, especially since (in case you weren’t aware) “Personal Jesus” has been covered COUNTLESS TIMES by many other artists — from Johnny Cash to Marilyn Manson.
So while it’s nice that Def Leppard threw their hat into the “Personal Jesus” ring, it would have been nice if the band went a different route…and created a whole new ring themselves. They’re definitely more than capable.
Ultimately, this review is based on the end result, not what the cover song selection should or could have been.
And what Def Leppard created was a good, solid version of Depeche Mode’s late ’80s classic.
(out of four)