Rise up and gather round for a ranking (and review) of all 115 songs from Def Leppard’s original studio albums!
No doubt there will disagreements among fans about which Def Leppard songs should be ranked higher (or lower), but remember this is all in fun.
As objective as I’ve tried to be in providing an honest assessment, this is obviously a subjective exercise and a matter of opinion.
As far as I’m concerned, even “weak” (i.e. lower ranked) Def Leppard songs are likely more enjoyable than most of the music you hear on the radio these days.
Song Ranking Reminders
This particular song ranking is specific to the band’s ten ORIGINAL studio albums, meaning it doesn’t include albums like “Yeah” (cover songs) and “Retro Active” (fantastic b-sides compilation, etc.).
Much can be said about those other releases too. Just think: “Two Steps Behind” — electric or acoustic version? How about comparing “Two Steps Behind” to “When Love And Hate Collide”? Well, I know which ones I would choose, but it’s a separate discussion for another time.
Also, I know some fans believe the best Def Leppard songs are from the band’s earlier years, while others favor the music (and sound) they created in the late ’80s and beyond.
Well, to each their own!
Def Leppard’s best songs aren’t necessarily from one particular era or album — there’s plenty to go around!
Also, that’s not to say that Def Leppard’s most popular songs are their best songs…or vice versa.
The focus here is on ranking and assessing the Def Leppard songs within each of their ten studio albums — not to critique which era of the band or album was better than the other (though I’m sure we all have our opinions and preferences).
Best Def Leppard Songs Ranked —
Countdown Commencing: 4-3-2-1…
If you’re not a hardcore fan, I hope these rankings help introduce you to many great Def Leppard songs you may not have heard of or even knew existed.
I’m confident you’ll discover an amazingly deep catalog that extends far beyond the band’s hit singles.
And if you are a dedicated hardcore fan, I hope you enjoy revisiting and thoroughly indulging in all the great music the band has released over the decades. May you find this exercise to be entertaining, interesting…and even enlightening.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
On Through The Night Album (1980)
The opening of this song is actually pretty good, but once it reaches its slightly anti-climactic “Ooo-yeah, Ooo-yeah” chorus, it just doesn’t pack the same wallop as some of the other tracks on the On Through The Night album.
#10 “Sorrow Is A Woman”
A decent mid-tempo song. It also exemplifies how much Joe Elliott’s trademark voice and vocal range strengthened over subsequent albums.
#9 “When The Walls Came Tumbling Down”
A pretty good Def Leppard song that has the ingredients of a great epic. You get the sense the band was still feeling their way around to make it all work together — a feat which they’ll accomplish more effectively in future albums.
By the way, the track’s opening narration is reminiscent of Manowar’s epic song “Defender” (which features none other than Orson Welles(!) handling the narration duties).
#8 “Rocks Off”
This very straightforward, guitar-driven deep track serves its purpose, all the while complementing the other more memorable (i.e. impactful) rockers on the album.
The other “epic” off of the On Through The Night album. It’s moody, changes tempo, and it works pretty well throughout.
All in all, a very respectable and impressive accomplishment.
By the way, anyone else reminded a bit of Def Leppard’s “Kings of the World” (bonus track on their live album Mirror Ball) at the 1:45 mark of “Overture”?
#6 “Hello America”
Probably one of the most well-known Def Leppard songs from the band’s early years.
It’s a solid rock track that sufficiently introduces (figuratively and literally) what the band is all about to audiences.
Not a bad first impression for a young band that’s just coming into their own.
#5 “It Could Be You”
Though it’s the album’s shortest track by far (just over two and a half minutes), this frenetic song stands out and packs a punch. Its tempo maintains great energy throughout and effectively shifts to a slower gear right before reaching the song’s memorable chorus.
#4 “Answer To The Master”
This Def Leppard song showcases the vast array of the band’s budding talents — strong guitar riffs, good melodies, and a memorable guitar and drum solo.
The track has a really good feel to it, and almost foreshadows how the band will up the ante with their next album; that said, “Answer To The Master” could have been included on the High ‘N’ Dry album and fit right in (with a sprinkle of Mutt Lange’s production magic, of course).
#3 “It Don’t Matter”
Another Def Leppard song featuring great rhythm.
The arrangement effectively intertwines melodic verses and driving drums throughout, all leading to a rewarding, catchy chorus.
This is one of several tracks on the On Through The Night album that solidified Def Leppard’s credibility as a legitimate, hard rock band with so much to offer.
#2 “Rock Brigade”
This straightforward, anthemic rocker offers up its share of goods, mixing melodies and hooks with hard-driving guitars and a catchy chorus.
It’s understandable if this track brings to mind future Def Leppard songs “Stagefright” and “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)” off of the Pyromania album — “Rock’s Off” could easily be considered a precursor to those classics.
This song epitomized what Def Leppard was all about in their debut album effort. It’s a potent track that features massive, instantly recognizable guitar riffs, hooks and melodies, all which lead up to a fist-pumping chant of a chorus…Wasted!
Shirt Alert! Def Leppard On Through The Night shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page:
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
High ‘N’ Dry Album (1981)
#10 “Lady Strange”
The only reason this track ranks tenth is because the High ‘N’ Dry album is filled with many other very strong rockers, thanks in large part to Def Leppard teaming up with AC/DC producer extraordinaire Robert John “Mutt” Lange.
“Lady Strange” fits right in with the quality hard rock the High ‘N’ Dry album maintains throughout. It’s very guitar-driven and kicks into an even faster gear at the song’s midpoint, further showcasing the impressive talents of a young Steve Clark and Pete Willis.
#9 “No No No”
There is nothing subtle when it comes to this song.
You just need to hold on tight because this tune can be best described as chaotic fun — it takes you on a whirlwind ride, only slowing down just a bit for its rip-roaring, power-packed chorus.
#8 “High ‘N’ Dry (Saturday Night)”
This song is still included in Def Leppard’s tour setlist at times. Sure, it’s convenient to perform it on a Saturday night, but a better reason is it’s still worthy of attention decades after its release.
It’s classic early Def Leppard.
#7 “On Through The Night”
I always found it amusing that this track has the same name as the band’s PREVIOUS album.
Regardless of which album it ended up on, it’s a really good song, filled with a lot of energy and a catchy hook. It slows down its rapid pace for a moment for its seemingly self-reflective lyrics, “All we want to hear is the audience applause...” By that point, they’ve got it.
#6 “Switch 625”
It’s difficult to rank this track on its own, as it only feels right when it’s paired up with “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak.” But since it is its own track on the album, it will be kept separate…but even then, it’s fitting that it follows “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” in this ranking.
All that said, it’s a great piece spotlighting Steve Clark‘s immense talents and, more broadly, his overall inimitable contributions to Def Leppard’s music and sound — on this album as well as all the others he would be part of. (You can read a MUCH more in-depth tribute to Steve Clark here.)
#5 “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”
Still a classic and could be considered Def Leppard’s first “hit” song.
Did this power ballad (better yet, anti-power ballad) help make MTV what it was back in the ’80s…or vice versa? Either way, the song became a success as many viewers were introduced to Def Leppard (musically and visually) and quickly became fans of the band.
The song also provides High ‘N’ Dry with a short, well-needed break from the rest of the album’s non-stop fast and furious pace.
By the way, for anyone lucky enough to see Def Leppard during the Hysteria tour, the flamenco-inspired acoustic introduction of “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” was not only lovely, but a refreshing take on the classic song…as it then kicked into a whole other gear when Steve Clark and his twin-neck powered guitar took over.
#4 “Let It Go”
Another classic off of the High ‘n’ Dry album that still gets play during some Def Leppard tour dates. It’s yet another track that typifies what the band’s sophomore album was all about: catchy, hard-rockin’, power-chord filled songs.
#3 “You Got Me Runnin'”
This Def Leppard song exemplifies how the High ‘n’ Dry album achieved such a great, diverse hard rock balance of driving rhythms, melodies, and harmonies.
“You Got Me Runnin” is also a great example of how much Joe Elliott’s vocals strengthened since the previous album.
#2 “Another Hit And Run”
This Def Leppard song confirms how much the band upped their game and matured since their first album.
“Another Hit And Run” is a potent, standout track which showcases the band’s many talents — tight arrangements, crunchy guitar riffs and drums complementing the song’s verses, all building towards a powerful, shout-out-loud chorus…Hit and run!
#1 “Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)”
A wonderful track that always seemed to be a bit under the radar on the High ‘N’ Dry album.
Yes, tracks like “Let It Go” and “High ‘N’ Dry” might initially come to mind when you think of High ‘n’ Dry‘s rockers, but “Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” deserves to be right up there too.
The track’s tight arrangement featuring dueling guitars and infectious backing vocals further proved how far Def Leppard songs had come with High ‘n’ Dry since the On Through The Night album, and just how much more potential they (still) had.
Shirt Alert! Def Leppard High ‘n’ Dry shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
Pyromania Album (1983)
#10 “Comin’ Under Fire”
Pyromania is a powerhouse of an album, crackling (no pun intended) with numerous classic Def Leppard songs — and “Comin’ Under Fire” successfully serves its purpose as a solid deep album track.
Though it’s not Pyromania’s strongest offering, it’s still an essential part of making the album the dominant force that it is.
#9 “Die Hard The Hunter”
The album’s “let’s get serious for just a moment” track. Kidding aside, the song sounds great sonically and lyrically, lead by its powerful intro of sound effects.
The song itself is satisfying too, with nicely balanced verses and a fine bridge, and capped off with a pretty good chorus.
#8 “Billy’s Got A Gun”
Another splendid deep track off of the Pyromania album, which also used to regularly appear in Def Leppard’s tour performances.
Though it was never an official single, “Billy’s Got A Gun” always connected well with fans (and concert audiences), simply because it’s well put-together and worthy of attention.
#7 “Action! Not Words”
The depth and breadth of Pyromania sometimes make it easy to overlook some of the album’s deeper tracks.
That’s the case with the underrated and lesser-known “Action! Not Words.”
Big chorus, big hooks, and big guitars don’t always apply to Def Leppard’s deepest tracks, but they certainly do here.
#6 “Too Late For Love”
A great mood-setter the instant you hear its opening sound effects.
The slow-and-steady pace only amplifies this Def Leppard song’s arrangement, making the track all the more potent and memorable.
“I said welcome to my show…!”
A really good song and crowd favorite when it used to be performed during Def Leppard’s Hysteria tour.
The song’s crowd effects only enhance the electricity of this high-energy rocker.
#4 “Rock Of Ages”
Just about as anthemic as Def Leppard songs can get.
“Rock Of Ages” perfectly encapsulates what the band is all about in just over four minutes, most notably highlighted by its effective call-to-arms chorus.
I still find it amusing how most of Pyromania’s tracks have their own unique opening effect, which instantly identifies a song before it actually gets going. That applies here too — you’re instantly put into “Foolin'” mode literally the first second the song begins.
The song’s arrangement works extremely well, as it builds from Steve Clark‘s infamous acoustic guitar intro to its explosive bridge and distinct, stutter of a chorus.
#2 “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)”
Another song that epitomizes Pyromania‘s sonically pleasing, bombastic sound.
It’s fitting that this was the album’s opening track — from its wailing vocals to rewarding chorus, the song reinforced the power of a Def Leppard song.
The song’s “Hold onto your hat…” opening lyrics perfectly sum up what Def Leppard had in store with their almighty Pyromania album.
Just about as perfect as a Def Leppard songs can get — filled with Steve Clark‘s massive, trademark guitar riffs (and a guitar solo courtesy of newcomer at the time, Phil Collen), soaring hooks, power chords, and unforgettable stadium-sized harmonies.
The song still seems as potently fresh today as when it was originally released.
Speaking of which, it’s worth mentioning (again) the massive sounding production the Pyromania album sustains throughout, courtesy of producer Mutt Lange. So much work went into making everything sound perfect, yet come across as simple and very straightforward.
The same can be said about “Photograph.” Its arrangement works beautifully, which makes hearing Joe Elliott’s vocal-only version of the song all the more impressive, appreciated..and fascinating.
Shirt Alert: Def Leppard Pyromania shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
Hysteria Album (1987)
#12 “Love And Affection”
If there wasn’t a “Love Bites” on the Hysteria album, this other “love” song (no pun intended) might have ranked higher. It’s a fine song, but it’s on an album that’s filled with so many other powerful tracks.
As a result, “Love And Affection” moves further back in this song ranking by default.
Appropriately, this is also the album’s final track, a pleasant cool-down from the exhilarating 62-minute workout Hysteria puts listeners’ ears through.
#10 “Don’t Shoot Shotgun”
“Don’t Shoot Shotgun” features big guitars and drums, catchy verses and a memorable chorus, but it’s all easily (and understandably) overlooked — again, not because it’s a weak song, but because it’s on an album that is bursting with so many other exceptional songs.
Having said that, it’s a solid deep cut that leaves its own mark in making Hysteria the classic album experience that it is.
I recall Def Leppard saying that “Excitable” was the band’s attempt at creating their own version of the Michael Jackson/Mick Jagger song “State of Shock.” There is a slight resemblance, but “Excitable” has an appealing identity all its own, including its classic opening (used often and effectively at the start of Def Leppard’s concerts).
On a side note, some radio stations started to play “Excitable” after Hysteria‘s seventh single “Rocket” had run its course on the charts back in 1989. “Excitable” would have made a fine EIGHTH single if they had officially released it; it just goes to show Hysteria‘s extraordinary depth of quality Def Leppard songs.
#9 “Run Riot”
A fast all-out rocker bursting with energy, so much so that it’s nearly over before you know it (and that’s not because it’s Hysteria‘s shortest track).
“Run Riot” might take some fans back to the early days of the Hysteria tour when the band sometimes used the track as their opening number — it wasn’t often, but it worked well when they did it.
#8 “Armageddon It”
Don’t be fooled by the #8 ranking, as this song is one of many great tracks on the Hysteria album.
“Armageddon It” overflows with sensational rhythm and hooks, as well as an excellent, lighthearted sing-along chorus, but I must admit I always found the song to be even more enjoyable — crackling with newfound energy — when performed live. (I’m referring to the Hysteria tour and beyond.)
On a side note, I still miss hearing the classic line “Come on, Steve. Get it!” when the band performs the song live.
“Guitar!” and “Drums!” work so well together on this massive sounding, sonically-pleasing track.
Throw in a boatload of glam-rock references and a soaring middle-section (that literally sounds like it’s soaring) into the spectacular production, and you have a Def Leppard song that remains fresh and energetic to this day.
#6 “Love Bites”
One of Def Leppard’s best ballads, not to mention the most successful. (It can also be considered Def Leppard’s biggest hit, as it’s the only time the band reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart, though an argument can be made that “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was truly their biggest hit.)
It’s interesting that “Love Bites” was first envisioned as a country-western ballad by Mutt Lange when he shared his demo with the band — maybe one day we’ll all get to hear how it was originally intended.
Until then, the album version works just fine — it gushes with unforgettable harmonies and melodies that probably still echo around in your mind decades after its release.
A great opening track for the Hysteria album. Its big, powerful sound and explosive, fist-in-the-air chorus leave a lasting impression that effectively sets the tone for all the songs that follow it.
“Women” also superbly reintroduces a band that had been out of the spotlight far too long, having to overcome major setbacks (to put it mildly). It was good to have Def Leppard back.
#4 “Gods Of War”
As powerful as some Def Leppard songs are, they still bow down to this classic epic.
After piling on hook after hook, “Gods Of War” continues to intensify until it spills over into its rewarding, almighty chorus.
It’s an unforgettable track.
The band used to say they were aiming for “Star Wars for the ears” during the Hysteria album’s production, and they certainly achieved it here. And even though Ronald Reagan’s soundbites are now decades old, they can still be chill-inducing the way the band (and, of course, Mutt Lange) worked them perfectly into the song’s exceptional arrangement.
#3 “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
A bombastic, rock powerhouse.
It’s a monster of a song — as in monster drums, guitars, and hooks — all complementing its gruff, rap-infused, sing-along vocals.
Blend them all together and you have an outstanding result.
You couldn’t get through a day back in 1988 without hearing “Pour Some Sugar On Me” on the radio or seeing its music video on MTV. If there ever was a late ’80s rock anthem, hands down, this is it.
Often imitated (and arguably ripped off), but never duplicated.
Simply put, “Animal” is one of the band’s supreme mid-tempo rockers, and like “Photograph,” it’s about as perfect as a Def Leppard song can get.
It’s easy to sometimes overlook this track because of Hysteria‘s multitude of hit songs, but “Animal” remains some of the best music the band has ever produced.
Certain Def Leppard songs can transport you to a different time the very moment you hear their opening notes — “Hysteria” unfailingly achieves this remarkable feat.
Its meticulous, hypnotic rhythm and melodies work beautifully together and culminate into a rather unique arrangement for this tremendous song.
It’s still a magical mysteria to this day.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
Adrenalize Album (1992)
Terrific guitar intro. Pretty good verse structure and bridge.
The chorus? Well, it’s just okay.
What usually makes a Def Leppard chorus so special is that it elevates a song to new heights, eclipsing everything that preceded it, rewarding your ears for taking the journey.
The chorus for “Tonight” lacks that extra something to take the song over the top.
I know many fans really like this song, and by no means am I saying it’s bad, but let’s broaden out this discussion a bit more for just a moment…
I have fond memories of Adrenalize, including waiting in line to purchase my copy at 12:01am the day it was released. It had been so many years since the release of Hysteria and so refreshing to hear a new album of Def Leppard songs. (You can read a MUCH more in-depth look at the Adrenalize release here.)
I also remember — and despised at the time — a local music critic’s negative review of the album the week of its release. The review said Adrenalize‘s multi-layered production felt overproduced, taking any emotion completely out of the songs’ harmonies, and resulting in choruses sounding like they were recorded in a vacuum, etc.
This topic will come up again, but I’ll wrap up my comments here by saying there are so many other Def Leppard ballads that work more effectively than “Tonight” — such as “Love Bites,” “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak,” “When Love And Hate Collide,” and “Two Steps Behind.”
It might simply be a coincidence, but those four other ballads I just mentioned have something else in common: Def Leppard still performs them on tour, albeit some more than others. Aside from the Adrenalize tour, the band rarely, if ever, performs “Tonight.”
I wonder why.
#9 “Personal Property”
A fine deep track and its lyric-filled chorus is as fun of an exercise to sing along to as the overall song itself.
#8 “Heaven Is”
A straight-up, Def Leppard pop-rock song that’s ultimately…pretty good.
It most definitely has hooks upon hooks, huge guitar power chords, and a big harmony-filled chorus.
That being said, “Heaven Is” gives the impression that the band was feeling the mounting pressure of following up Hysteria and trying their darndest to surpass it with excessively stacked hooks and massive productions.
It’s understandable: they were out of the spotlight for so many years, lost an integral part of the band with Steve Clark‘s passing (read a special tribute to Steve Clark here), were recording the album as a four-piece, Mutt Lange wasn’t producing the album, and the music industry had changed so much while they were away. There absolutely was a lot of pressure on them.
It sometimes feels like the band (unnecessarily) overcompensated on some songs, trying to make them as instantly gratifying as possible.
Back to my earlier comments about “Tonight” and the music critic’s “vacuum” reference — at times, the same can be said about “Heaven Is” (among other Adrenalize tracks like “I Wanna Touch U,” “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad,” and “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion).” Those choruses sometimes sound a little too slick for their own good, almost otherworldly, which works in one sense…but also detracts in another.
Though these are just my views, I would like to add that I found Rick Savage’s candid opinions on Adrenalize decades after its release very revealing.
“We ended up making a record by the numbers…We tried to outdo ‘Hysteria,’ which was a mistake…It doesn’t really cut it for me.”
Joe Elliott summed up his thoughts of the Adrenalize album not too long ago too:
“My opinion of the album changes depending on which way the wind’s blowing. I mean, sometimes I really don’t like it, and then there’s other times I think ‘No, that’s our glam rock album, we made a really cool record.'”
#7 “Make Love Like A Man”
A fun, rockin’ Def Leppard song — whether it’s heard on the Adrenalize album or performed live in concert.
It’s (overly?) simplistic, yet still a good time — from the moment it starts, all the way to its Led Zeppelin-ish “Whole Lotta Love” guitar riff right at the song’s end.
Kudos to Phil Collen for doing a great impression of Joe Elliott when he takes over the lead vocals at the song’s 2:35 mark.
#6 “I Wanna Touch U”
Huge drums, massive guitars and power chords, and a super-catchy melody. Yes, the same can be said about “Pour Some Sugar On Me” (among other Def Leppard songs), but it’s easy to think of “I Wanna Touch U’ as a pseudo-sequel to “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”
I wonder what a more raw version of the song would have sounded like.
#5 “Tear It Down”
A great Def Leppard song, period.
One caveat: If a more bare-bones, hard rock version of “Tear It Down” hadn’t already existed (the B-side to the “Women” single), this refresh wouldn’t seem somewhat watered down compared to the original, classic version.
#4 “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”
Yet another great Def Leppard power ballad that satisfies.
It’s not a “Love Bites” replica; its arrangement — especially the excellent bridge and chorus — work seamlessly to make this soaring ballad all its own.
#3 “White Lightning”
Adrenalize‘s great epic.
It’s easy to refer to the song as the album’s “Gods of War,” but “White Lightning” is much too good of a track to be dismissed as such.
The track also bears the somber reminder of Steve Clark‘s passing (“white lightning” was allegedly one of Steve’s nicknames), and that Def Leppard as a band had forever been changed.
#2 “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)”
A wonderfully moody Def Leppard song.
That’s not to say it’s a copycat; it’s actually a compliment for this very underrated song which never received the notoriety it deserved.
#1 “Let’s Get Rocked”
Do you wanna get rocked?
Tongue-in-cheek lyrics aside, “Let’s Get Rocked” sounded different and refreshing when it was released, especially as radio stations had shifted their focus to alternative music since the days of Hysteria.
It’s not surprising that this song remains a favorite and is almost certain to be part of any Def Leppard tour setlist. Heck, any rock song that can successfully incorporate Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony into its driving beat is worthy of repeated listens.
Shirt Alert: Def Leppard Adrenalize shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
Slang Album (1996)
#11 “Breathe A Sigh”
A Def Leppard song with a Boyz II Men R&B vibe.
You don’t hear that very often.
As a one-off, it’s an amusing effort. It has its share of admirable melodies, but overall, it’s just a fair song.
I’m still reminded of how Joe Elliott’s vocal at the song’s 2:25 mark sounded like he was saying, “I mow the lawn for your affection.” Obviously, that wasn’t the case, but it would have been interesting if it somehow connected back to the “Let’s Get Rocked” line “Mow the lawn! Walk the dog!” That would have been some impressive continuity!
This Def Leppard song always felt a little forced — like the band was trying to take on the ever-growing alternative music movement that was happening at the time, and they made the conscious attempt to create their own version of a Nine Inch Nails song.
Its industrial feel is fine and achieves what the band set out to do, but it’s still okay if it makes you long for Def Leppard’s trademark, multi-layered sound when listening to it.
#9 “Gift Of Flesh”
This hard-rocking, guitar-driven song seems to come out of nowhere and reassuringly injects Def Leppard’s brand of rock into what could be considered the band’s most “un-Def Leppard” album.
#8 “Work It Out”
Quick story: This song always reminds me of the days when I worked at Def Leppard’s record company, when Slang was about to be released and “Work It Out” was the first track going to radio. The promotional strategy was to play the song for station program directors BUT not tell them who the band was. (That was the sad state of radio at the time, when Def Leppard’s music was no longer considered mainstream and being added to playlists had become a struggle.) Nevertheless, the reception to the song was positive overall, and many stations were shocked to learn that “Work It Out” was from Def Leppard. (You can read more about the music industry challenges facing Slang here.)
As for the song itself, it’s just okay. It was written by Vivian Campbell and then “Leppard-ized.” It has a good tempo but lacks that rewarding Def Leppard chorus many would expect.
Slang was an album that purposefully went in a different creative direction, and while it includes quite a few great, standout tracks, “Work It Out” falls within the more standard side of the spectrum.
Another admirable effort, as the band attempted to try something different yet again.
Though “Slang” is far from being one of the band’s best songs, I discovered a whole new appreciation for it after seeing them perform it live on tour. It had a whole new energy and vibe to it that was much more appealing than the album’s version.
#6 “Deliver Me”
“Deliver Me” has the sound and feel of a Pyromania deep cut, and that’s not a bad thing.
It’s more raw and edgy than your typical Def Leppard song, but the same can be said about its dark lyrics and solemn mood. Put it all together and you get a fairly satisfying track.
By the way, if you’d like to hear Joe Elliott whispering into your ear, listen to the first 20 seconds of “Deliver Me” with only your right speaker on (turn off your left speaker). Enjoy!
#5 “Turn To Dust”
An underrated track that features massive sounding guitars weaving perfectly in and out of the song’s verses. It’s an impressive arrangement that leads into a solid chorus.
“Turn To Dust” is one of Def Leppard’s more unique songs (Indian melody and all), and even though it isn’t as well known as the band’s more popular hits, it’s absolutely worth a listen…over and over again.
#4 “Pearl Of Euphoria”
Slowly paced and moody, this intense track features big drums and walls of guitars showcasing the talents of Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell.
It all comes together well to complement the song’s succinct lyrics and powerful vocals.
#3 “Blood Runs Cold”
One of the best songs off the Slang album, this emotional track melodically mesmerizes from start to finish.
Knowing that it’s inspired by gone-but-never-forgotten guitarist Steve Clark makes this melancholy song all the more heartfelt and powerful.
#2 “Where Does Love Go When It Dies”
“Where Does Love Go When It Dies” is a magnificent track, filled with sensational melodies, excellent lyrics, and so much more. It’s thoroughly satisfying.
This underrated Def Leppard song showcases the band’s more experimental side…while superbly representing all the best things they have to offer.
It should not be overlooked.
#1 “All I Want Is Everything”
If you put aside commercial success and chart performance, and only focused on genuine quality, “All I Want Is Everything” would deserve to be on the list of Def Leppard’s greatest song compositions.
Lyrically, it’s one of their best. Vocally, pure raw emotion is felt throughout.
It’s an exceptional song, plain and simple. But referring to this stripped-down gem as either “plain” or “simple” would be an oversimplified injustice.
Shirt Alert: Def Leppard Slang shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
Euphoria Album (1999)
A fine guitar instrumental.
But even if “Disintegrate” were considered a more contemporary version of “Switch 625” — which comes to mind when listening to this track — it doesn’t leave the same lasting impression.
#12 “Day After Day”
Take Pyromania’s “Too Late For Love,” mix in a little (slower-paced) “Die Hard The Hunter,” throw in a bit of High ‘N’ Dry‘s “Mirror Mirror (Take A Look Into My Eyes),” and that’s what “Day After Day” brings to mind.
All three of the older songs referenced above stand on their own, making “Day After Day” sound more like an attempt to replicate music from the band’s earlier days instead of creating a more authentic song that’s all its own.
#11 “It’s Only Love”
Maybe it’s the easy-listening “Na na na na na na na na na…” lyrics, but it sounds like the band is holding back and not allowing themselves to let loose; a little more Leppard “oomph” would have been beneficial and made a difference.
The song’s bridge is actually pretty good, but it doesn’t make up for what ends up being a fairly ordinary track.
This Def Leppard song always kind of sounded like a cross between “Hysteria” and (a bit of) “Animal.”
The song itself is okay — aside from the “If you mean [enter noun]…” chorus that becomes a little too repetitive.
Intentional or not, there’s no need for the band to try to harken back to their earlier classics when creating new music.
By the way, remember the part near the end of Def Leppard’s song “Animal,” featuring the memorable lyrics “Take me, Tame me, Make me your animal...”? That line always comes to mind when listening to “Guilty” at the song’s 3:14 mark (replace those “Animal” lyrics with “Guil-ty, Guil-ty...”).
#9 “All Night”
A funk-infused, Prince-esque Def Leppard song.
It’s a respectable effort, but the song would have been more intriguing if it were more in the vein of Def Leppard. For example, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” brought rap into the band’s rock universe, and they created something all their own.
“All Night” sounds more like a Prince song than a Def Leppard song, and that shouldn’t be the case.
#8 “Kings Of Oblivion”
This Def Leppard song has an On Through The Night (album and song) feel to it.
It also could have fit right in as a Pyromania deep track; it’s that type of “old-school” song that harkens back to the band’s earlier albums.
Comparisons aside, “Kings of Oblivion” has some really good energy and a finely crafted, catchy chorus.
A decent ballad featuring a nice melody and appealing verses, but whose chorus falls short and ultimately loses momentum with an overabundance of lyrics; it becomes more of a mental exercise to sing along to than just simply enjoying as a song.
#6 “21st Century Sha La La La Girl”
Bursting with energy, this Def Leppard song is loads of fun and works very well.
The lyric “Cosmic sugar high” fittingly describes this “caffeinated” track.
It’s a really good time.
#5 “To Be Alive”
A track brought forward by Vivian Campbell which could easily be overlooked due to Def Leppard’s deep and robust catalog, but this song’s distinct, easygoing arrangement features wonderful melodies and is capped off with a heartfelt guitar solo that truly shines.
By the way, did you ever hear Vivian Campbell’s demo version?
#4 “Paper Sun”
This track is worthy of joining the ranks of previous Def Leppard epics like “Gods of War” and “White Lightning.”
It stands out solidly as one of the best songs Euphoria has to offer.
#3 “Back In Your Face”
A vintage Def Leppard song reminiscent of “Rock and Roll Part 2.”
It’s filled with whimsical lyrics, a playful attitude, and a result that’s lively and surprisingly impactful.
You get the sense the band had a lot of fun recording this track, which makes it all the more enjoyable.
Intended or not, the song has a Pyromania feel to it too — and that’s not only because Joe Elliott’s sinister laugh at the song’s 1:17 mark very much resembles the one he does in “Rock Of Ages” (at the 2:00 mark).
#2 “Demolition Man”
A rapidly intense song with a deliriously fun chorus that brings to mind “Ballroom Blitz.”
Overall, a great rocker that’s really underrated and worth discovering.
Def Leppard’s trademark sound is best represented on this great track, and it’s no coincidence Mutt Lange was involved.
I recall how some press coverage initially compared “Promises” to “Photograph,” which isn’t fair — “Promises” doesn’t have the same heft and intensity as Def Leppard’s Pyromania classic. Okay, maybe it’s a more pop-lite version of “Photograph” at best, but nowadays I think a better comparison would be to a track on the band’s self-titled release (which we’ll get to in just a bit).
Shirt Alert: Def Leppard Euphoria shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
X Album (2002)
The opening guitars sound like an edgier version of Euphoria‘s “Guilty” opening.
“Scar” mellows out soon afterward, but kicks into gear when it reaches a chorus that conjures up “Guilty” once again. (“Scar’s” repetitious “All that you [enter verb]” chorus corresponds with “Guilty’s” “If you mean [enter noun]” chorus.)
All in all, “Scar” has a bit of an identity crisis.
#12 “Girl Like You”
Solid guitar riffs intertwined with the song’s verses early on bring to mind Slang‘s superior track “Turn To Dust.”
“Girl Like You” features an appealing melody, but doesn’t capitalize on it once reaching a lackluster chorus that also sounds a little disconnected from the rest of the song.
#11 “Love Don’t Lie”
This Def Leppard song fits right in with the X album’s pop-lite fare, but it’s pretty standard when compared to some of the album’s stronger tracks.
Yet another song from the band that’s more on the experimental side — not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It’s rare that a Def Leppard song doesn’t include a guitar solo, but that’s the case with this song’s unique dance-pop arrangement.
In the end, it’s a decent, respectable effort.
The track has several positive attributes — including a really strong, appealing opening — but every time it picks up steam, it hits the brakes (the song literally stops) for a disjointed chorus that doesn’t serve the rest of the song very well. (This topic will be revisited in the Songs from the Sparkle Lounge song ranking.)
#8 “Let Me Be The One”
A fine pop song. There’s really nothing wrong with it, but after hearing the band’s original demo — which includes piano, strings, and is kind of Beatlesque — I just wish they would have put that more appealing version on the album instead.
#7 “You’re So Beautiful”
A pretty good song, but Def Leppard’s mastery of melodies works against them here, as “You’re So Beautiful” is overloaded with hooks — practically to its detriment.
The song’s hooks individually serve their purpose, but collectively start to compete against (instead of complement) each other.
The result is a song that doesn’t quite feel whole.
Remember the Def Leppard song lyric “a little too much could never be enough now” from “I Wanna Touch U”? Well, in this instance, a little too much is…actually a little too much.
#6 “Long, Long Way To Go”
One of a couple of tracks on the X album not written by the band. Nevertheless, this heartfelt Def Leppard song succeeds and effectively showcases emotional lyrics, strong vocals, and melodies galore.
Another solid track which features more of a modern-rock sound — basically, not your typical Def Leppard song.
In the end, it fits right in with the rest of the Leppard-lite X album, and it does it well.
#4 “Four Letter Word”
This Def Leppard song not only sounds great (and AC/DC-ish), it has a raw, edgy feel and attitude from start to finish.
The track would have felt right at home if it were included on the High ‘N’ Dry album — it has that kind of appeal and vintage vibe.
Though “Unbelievable” wasn’t written by the band, the song’s impressive end result has Def Leppard’s stamp all over it.
It’s a melodically-pleasing ballad with an infectious chorus that works extremely well.
Nowhere near as popular as other Def Leppard deep tracks, this mid-tempo rocker is not only solid, it’s one of the best deep cuts the band has done in recent years.
#1 “Torn To Shreds”
One of Def Leppard’s most underrated songs and that doesn’t only apply to the X album.
This excellent track features an explosive battle hymn of a chorus and massive harmonies, both of which arguably rival the best hooks the band has ever created…and that’s saying a lot!
With a running time of less than three minutes, this hidden gem (and its unforgettable chorus, which, for some, might bring to mind hints of the ’80s classic “In A Big Country”) is over before you know it and always leaves you wanting more.
“Torn To Shreds” is one Def Leppard’s best songs…and, ironically, one that some fans may never have heard of before.
Shirt Alert: Def Leppard X shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
Songs From The Sparkle Lounge Album (2008)
The song gets off to a promising start — even has an enticing jam-session vibe initially — which continues to build with Joe Elliott’s gravelly vocals and its share of riffs and hooks.
Unfortunately, the song’s momentum fizzles out at the chorus, which veers the song a bit off course.
The X album’s “Cry” had a similar result, and I’d like to further expand on it for a moment…
Sometimes Def Leppard creates a song by “gluing” together ideas that are independent of each other. (This isn’t my opinion; it’s what the band has said numerous times over the years and it’s part of their creative process.)
Basically, one band member has an unfinished song idea, which ends up being pieced together with a completely separate song idea from another member, and so on. Over time and with some creativity, the individual portions come together to create a new song.
The song “Hysteria” is a great example; Rick Savage and Phil Collen combined separate song ideas they had each been working on and eventually created the song’s classic foundation.
This technique inevitably comes to mind when listening to certain tracks from the band’s later albums; they have the makings of a really good song, but lose their momentum along the way, to the point of sounding disjointed. That thought arises when listening to songs like “Hallucinate” and “Cry.”
Were different ideas stitched together to a lesser effect in those instances? Maybe, maybe not. But just when you think you’re on the brink of hearing the next great Def Leppard classic, it ultimately ends up being a, um, r-e-a-l-l-y deep album cut.
#10 “Bad Actress”
A straightforward rocker that ventures into Robert Plant territory. At various points throughout this Def Leppard song, you just want to sing along with Plant’s “Tall Cool One” lyric “Lighten up baby, I’m in love with you…!”
“Bad Actress” is more in the vein of Def Leppard’s superior classic B-side “She’s Too Tough” and ultimately comes across as more of a “B-side” itself.
#9 “Come Undone”
The song has a great build-up and features some very good guitar riffs, which are also reminiscent of the ones in “Cry.”
Unfortunately, what the song doesn’t have is a chorus to complement the rest of the song — the payoff just isn’t there.
The detailed comments preciously mentioned for the song “Hallucinate” also apply here.
#8 “Only The Good Die Young”
An appealing start, but just as you get your hopes up that the song will kick into another gear, it falls short: that gratifying Def Leppard chorus you’re expecting never arrives.
Overall, it’s an okay song with a lot of (untapped) potential.
#7 “Nine Lives”
Def Leppard and Tim McGraw join forces, and the result is…just okay.
Putting aside the duet, the song features some of Def Leppard’s vintage attributes, especially with its very appealing, melodic bridge.
But once you get past the song’s guitar intro (which brings to mind thoughts of Hysteria‘s “Armageddon It”), its shouting chorus and lackluster lyrics make for a pretty standard track overall.
#6 “Cruise Control”
A solid, gritty Def Leppard song complemented by a good, almost hypnotic rhythm and wailing guitars; at first, it comes across as a more melodic version of the song “Truth?” from the Slang album.
It would have been nice if the band let loose on this song and took more risks, especially during its subdued chorus, but it’s still pleasing and works well.
#5 “Gotta Let It Go”
The Cult’s “Fire Woman” comes to mind when hearing this song’s opening guitars, but “Gotta Let It Go” still stands alone, as it simmers throughout its effective verses and bridge, and finally boils over into an explosively good, driving chorus.
By the way, the three successive, rapid-fire guitar licks right at the end of the song bring to mind the ending of Pyromania’s “Billy’s Got a Gun” (at the 4:54 mark, before the drum loop portion), right?
An emotionally-infused ballad that showcases exceptional vocals and excellent guitars.
Yes, it’s Queen-like (even echoes the Queen song “Jealousy“), but it’s also unlike any other Def Leppard power ballad, which is refreshing.
“Love” could have been one of Def Leppard’s greatest epics, but it always felt incomplete. Inserting an additional verse (or more) to the song’s second half would have provided more substance and balance to the overall arrangement.
Nevertheless, the song’s first half is nearly perfect and works exceptionally well. If only there was more of that in the second half, but I digress.
Side note: Def Leppard’s “CMT Crossroads” performance with Taylor Swift was an event in and of itself, but Joe Elliott’s vocal performances on the song “Love” (as well as “Photograph”) were absolutely stellar.
This Def Leppard song is a really satisfying, energy-filled surprise. Its heavy, driving rhythm doesn’t let up, and what could be mistaken as a bland chorus on paper (“Go! Just Go! Just Go!”) actually works very effectively.
The song overachieves in several memorable ways, and it’s definitely worthy of being the album’s opening track.
Sure, you can correlate Joe Elliott’s “Whoo whoo whoo…” opening vocals with Bono’s from the U2 track “Elevation,” but this Def Leppard song has so much more to offer than that.
“Tomorrow” is the hidden gem on the Songs from the Sparkle Lounge album, and just like “Everyday” (off the X album), it’s a lesser-known, underrated track that makes a great impression and resonates…if given the chance.
#1 “C’mon C’mon”
This Def Leppard song could be considered a descendant of Euphoria‘s “Back In Your Face,” as they’re both big, crowd-pleasing arena rockers in the spirit of “Rock and Roll Part 2.”
The song has an excellent groove, catchy verses, driving guitars, a great bridge, and a decent chorus (in this instance, it would have been more impactful if the chorus wasn’t just the title being repeated over and over…and over, but that’s a separate conversation for another time).
“C’mon C’mon” is still a standout and a rockin’ track that touches on many of the things Def Leppard does best.
Shirt Alert: Def Leppard Songs from the Sparkle Lounge shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page.
Def Leppard Songs Ranked:
Def Leppard Album (2015)
#14 “Blind Faith”
A decent deep cut that has moments which bring to mind “Deliver Me,” albeit slower and more melodic, but without the big, bombastic payoff of the Slang track. It might have been more riveting if it did, as “Blind Faith” drifts into Beatlesque territory instead when given the chance.
Ironic that a song called “Energized” seems to have such low energy at times.
It’s actually a pretty good track, but it lacks some much-needed intensity and doesn’t go much further beyond its starting point.
#12 “Forever Young”
What sounds like a free-form jam session develops into a compelling album track that has flashes of High ‘N’ Dry‘s raw sound and attitude.
The verses almost seem spontaneous, especially the way they’re sung over prevalent guitars and hard-driving drums, but they all sync up well just in time for the song’s bridge and chorus.
#11 “Man Enough”
I appreciate the effort the went into “Man Enough,” and the “Another One Bites The Dust” disco-jam vibe, but the track can’t seem to get out of first gear and ends up sounding as repetitious as its omnipresent bass-line groove.
#10 “Battle Of My Own”
Blend some folk-bluesy music with a big dose of Led Zeppelin (especially in the second half), and this is the Def Leppard song you get.
It’s a pretty good track that jams throughout and exemplifies the album’s diverse offerings.
#9 “Wings Of An Angel”
The song’s first 30 seconds includes a portion reminiscent of The Cult’s song “Fire Woman” (yes, “Gotta Let It Go” had a similar reference).
The vocals can also be described as a cross between “Deliver Me” and “Too Late For Love.”
All that being said, the song’s solid verses are impactful, as they lead into a decent bridge and chorus.
As mentioned in previous comments (see the Slang album’s “Hallucinate”), there are times this song seems a little too “stitched” together, most notably at the bridge. I’m not saying it actually is, but it comes across that way.
The song gets off to a really fine start with a driving rhythm that evokes thoughts of A-ha’s “Take On Me” (without the keyboards).
In spite of a fairly average chorus that becomes a little repetitious the further you get into the song, “Invincible” is still a pretty good track for what it is.
By the way, the last 20 or so seconds of “Invincible” (starting at the song’s 3:25 mark) bring to mind the final moments of Hysteria’s “Run Riot” — you half-expect Joe Elliott to wrap up “Invincible” by belting out some of his “Run Riot” signature lines: “I’ll take you from your misery! Come on! Stick with me!”
#7 “Sea Of Love”
Yet another Def Leppard song that you wouldn’t normally expect to hear from the band.
“Sea Of Love” maintains a different kind of energy and vibe throughout that might catch you off guard, but that’s not a negative. It still features some rockin’ verses and a satisfying, catchy chorus.
#6 “Last Dance”
This song’s acoustic guitar opening might remind some of the Britney Spears’ song “Chillin’ With You” — or maybe it’s just me, but Britney’s “You!” lyric could fit pretty well into this Def Leppard song’s guitar intro. (Ok, a MUCH better parallel might be the opening guitar in Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky” and the song “Hysteria.”)
Nevertheless, “Last Dance” is a lovely little number that builds dramatically the further you get into it. It’s a good, straightforward album track.
By the way, anyone else reminded of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” near the end of “Last Dance’s” great guitar solo (at about the 2:45 mark)? Ok, I digress…
#5 “Broke ‘N’ Brokenhearted”
A fun, rockin’ track whose sound and attitude bring to mind the High ‘N’ Dry album.
It’s rawer compared to other tracks on the album, as if it was recorded on the fly, which is a compliment to the song’s edgy feel.
Its gruffness also brings to mind Billy Joel’s song “You May Be Right” — as if the band could belt out the classic “You may be right!” chorus at any moment throughout the song, and it would fit right in.
It’s a good time, and it works well.
#4 “Let’s Go”
A Def Leppard song that figuratively screams “We’re back,” just as the band intended, and also the main reason it was chosen to be the Def Leppard album’s first single.
It instantly reminds listeners of the band’s abilities and trademark sound, starting with its “Pour Some Sugar On Me“-like guitar opening.
The song’s slower pace is impactful and serves a purpose, but I must admit I would not have minded if it were faster, which could have added a whole new energy to the song.
#3 “All Time High”
“All Time High” takes the crown as the most underrated, standout track on this album.
I know there’s a reluctance for bands — including Def Leppard — to play new songs on tour (i.e. they become “bathroom break” moments or an excuse to go get some drinks for people who just want to hear the classics), but I firmly believe opening their show with this great, energetic rocker would be most welcomed and eye-opening. Not only would it start the concert off with a bang, but it would also provide a great opportunity to effectively introduce audiences (who are already worked up just to get the show going and see the band) to some of Def Leppard’s great, new music.
Go ahead, play the song’s first minute or so, and close your eyes imagining an electric Def Leppard concert atmosphere as the lights go out, “All Time High” begins, and the curtain falls. It could be thrilling…and welcomed.
A good comparison to “All Time High” is Hysteria‘s “Run Riot,” which, incidentally, also worked as a great show opener for some time back in the days of the Hysteria tour.
Similar to “Let’s Go,” this is a Def Leppard song that conjures up memories of the band’s earlier days.
Trademark guitar licks kick it off, leading to solid verses, a pretty good bridge, and a catchy chorus.
#1 “We Belong”
Not only a great track but a unique one; it’s the first (and only) time every Def Leppard band member sings lead vocals. It’s an effective approach and adds an extra layer of genuine emotion (and perspective) to the song.
The song’s excellent lyrics are worth noting too, as is Joe Elliott’s subtle, yet moving, vocal performance.
“We Belong” packs a lasting, unforgettable wallop.
Shirt Alert: Def Leppard Def Leppard (“broken glass”) shirts are available — click on a shirt below to view its Amazon page.
Def Leppard Song Ranking Trivia
After going through all 115 tracks above, here’s some additional information for your amusement:
The number of Def Leppard songs that included the word “love” in their title: 10
- “Too Late For Love”
- “Love And Affection”
- “Love Bites”
- “Make Love Like A Man”
- “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)”
- “Where Does Love Go When It Dies”
- “It’s Only Love”
- “Love Don’t Lie”
- “Sea Of Love”
The number of Def Leppard songs that included the word “rock” (in some shape or form) in their title: 6
- “Rocks Off”
- “Rock Brigade”
- “Rock Of Ages”
- “Rock Rock (Till Your Drop)”
- “Rocket” (Arguable, I know. I’m reminded of how some publications used to refer to the song as “Rock It.”)
- “Let’s Get Rocked”
The number of Def Leppard songs that include a female reference in their title: 6
- “Sorrow Is A Woman”
- “Lady Strange”
- “21st Century Sha La La La Girl”
- “Girl Like You”
- “Bad Actress”
The number of Def Leppard songs that include a male reference in their title: 5
Of Def Leppard’s 10 original studio albums, the number of albums that include at least one song with an apostrophe in the title: 9 (Slang is the only album that doesn’t.)
“Greatest Hits” And Other Options
If you’re a new or casual fan, I hope this Def Leppard song ranking helped you discover a whole new world of the band’s music and didn’t overwhelm you.
You can also go the easier route and check out one of Def Leppard’s greatest hits collections — there are a few to choose from — but just remember there’s so much more music to enjoy within the band’s amazingly deep catalog.
But if a Def Leppard greatest hits album does appeal to you, make sure you select the right one to suit your interests.
You can read an in-depth Def Leppard greatest hits comparison here (includes a song chart) which highlights the song list differences between the band’s greatest hits compilations and explains which Def Leppard best-of release is (or isn’t) worth owning.
Or instead of purchasing or downloading select releases or individual songs, you can enjoy Amazon’s Music Unlimited streaming service (try it out here) or Apple’s streaming service Apple Music (free trial available here).
Def Leppard Songs Ranked: Final Thoughts
Well, there you have it.
Again, I have no doubt this Def Leppard song ranking will result in its share of agreements and disagreements among fans, but that’s what so great about the band’s music — there are so many great songs to choose from and satisfy a variety of musical tastes, no matter which era of the band you prefer.
That being said, I’m glad Def Leppard continues to periodically record new music and the band isn’t resting on its laurels. I look forward to future releases and hearing what they come up with next…whenever that is.
I hope you enjoyed this fun — and quite challenging — endeavor to rank Def Leppard’s songs!