Nest of Fame – Def Leppard (2006)


Def Leppard’s story has been told many, many times so I am not going to rehash it. One simple google search today, and you can find out all you want to know (and probably much more) about any musical act. I want to instead tell a story of how a band from Sheffield, England helped a guy from Pioneer, Tennessee shift from a casual music fan into a high gear musical fanatic. Def Leppard wasn’t the only artist responsible for my musical addiction, but they sure can take most of the credit!

By the time I was ten years old, my music interest was evident. My mom loved music and she exposed me to a great deal of variety. She loved Elvis and The Eagles, but also loved country acts like Alabama and Reba McEntire, while also loving pop acts like Michael Jackson. It is easy to see why I liked a variety of music while I grew up. In 1981, I loved listening to music countdowns, especially the American Top 40 countdown with Casey Kasem. My early dream was actually to be the next Casey Kasem so I “kept my feet to the ground and kept reaching for the stars”. During the process, however, I had a fun idea. Why can’t I track my own favorite songs? It wasn’t a grand idea or anything, but it just started out as fun.

In 1981 & 1982, my favorites mostly consisted of Journey, Foreigner, Pat Benetar, Billy Joel and Rick Springfield. I really loved them all, and listened to any new music (and some older music) I could get my ears on! By the end of 1982, my interest did start to dwindle some though. I liked most of the music, but I was losing interest in charting my favorites. I thought it was no big deal though. I will just move on to the next thing. However, I did not know what 1983 would hold in store! It would become the biggest game changer in my young life.

As 1983 arrived, I heard this song called “Photograph” that completely changed my musical life forever! Since I did not have MTV at that age, I had not heard “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” or seen the video for it. Therefore, “Photograph” was my first listen at Def Leppard, and I simply had no words to describe my musical joy. It was nothing like I had ever heard before. There were these guitars that were layered and drums that sounded like they would blast right out of the radio and blow it up. I had never heard a rock band that handled their harmonies in such a unique way as Def Leppard. It is a constant layer of sound that, still to this day, blows me away. They are a rock band that can sing, and not just sing well enough to get a song recorded and fixed in the studio. You can hear all five guys in “Photograph”, and that was the sound that sparked some kind of musical madness in me that I can’t really explain.

This one song inspired me to not only continue my favorite songs chart, but add a favorite albums chart (finally getting to buy albums since I received money for doing chores around the house didn’t hurt either). The album “Pyromania” would crank out hit after hit including (#1) hits, “Photograph”, “Foolin'”, “Rock of Ages” and “Too Late For Love” on Byrdbored (catchy name huh?). The album itself would spend 24 weeks at (#1) as my favorite album, and is still one of my all-time favorite go-to albums (currently ranked #4). Def Leppard had re-charged my interest in my personal charts, but beyond that, had helped stoke the fire of musical addiction more than I could have ever imagined. Music had become my place to go when I needed to smile or forget about school pressures, and the Lepps were the driving force.

The years between 1984 and 1987 were filled with other favorites, of course. While I waited for new Def Leppard music, I became a fan of Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi and Night Ranger. The music in the 1980’s had so much variety that it was easy to find new artists that I loved. My heart sank, however, when I heard about Rick Allen’s accident. I was only fifteen, but even at that age I realized how impactful this could be to the future of the band. I would read things when I could about Rick and his recovery, and the thing that hit me so hard was the rest of the bands reaction and how they handled it. Def Leppard is truly a band of brothers, and they never even considered life without Rick Allen in the band. I remember thinking to myself that as much as I loved this band before, I love them even more now. It was about the music, but it was also about friendships that never die. In my opinion, that is at least part of why Def Leppard sound so great together, as well. You can tell they are one unit and they truly are a brotherhood that are at their strongest together.

The resulting album, “Hysteria”, dropped in 1987 and once again I heard a song that blew my mind. “Animal” was just another extension of “Photograph” for me and quickly became my favorite song spending ten weeks at (#1). There is a special feel to “Animal” and the entire album that I couldn’t put my finger on at the time, but I knew it was going to be even bigger for me than “Pyromania”. The “Hysteria” album would spend almost a solid year as my favorite album, and the cassette (yes…I wrote cassette young people) never left the car that I drove to school for over two years. The album has my all-time favorite song in “Pour Some Sugar On Me” which spent nine weeks as my favorite song and an incredible 37 weeks in my top ten. “Hysteria” would score six #1 songs overall and spend forty-five non-consecutive weeks as my favorite album with a mind-boggling (130) weeks in my top ten. It is easily my favorite album of all-time with (800) points earned in my Byrdbored points system. I knew at the time it was truly special, and is still very special to me today. I still think about the guys when I listen to it, and think how different it could have been if they didn’t embrace their friend in Rick Allen. Obviously, I have never met the guys and spent time around them, but their brotherly love for Rick Allen was all I needed to see to know how special these guys are as individuals.

The band’s bond would continue to be tested, however, as Steve Clark would be battling his own demons of life. January 8, 1991 was a day that all Def Leppard fans will never forget as Steve would pass away from alcohol poisoning. Steve Clark’s impact went far beyond a guitarist, and every Def Leppard fan was broken hearted. I can’t imagine the way the band felt, but I know how I felt. I seriously wondered if the band could handle yet another set back like this. Could this be the end of my favorite band? How would I handle that kind of situation? To the band’s credit, once again, they banded together and finished the “Adrenalize” album as a four-piece. Phil Collen played Steve’s parts to finish up the album, but I am sure Steve’s presence was there. I always agreed with the band (not that my opinion would matter) that finishing the album as a four-piece was once again the best thing to do. In yet another move that showed their love for each other, Def Leppard had shown their fans that the music and their friendship were the most important.

In 1992, “Adrenalize” would be released with the normal critical distain while most fans loved it. The album would spend fourteen weeks as my favorite album, and produce four more (#1) songs with “Let’s Get Rocked”, “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”, “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)” and “Make Love Like A Man”. 1992, and the “Adrenalize” Tour, would also see Vivian Campbell join the band. I personally remembered Vivian from his work with Whitesnake, but he seemed to make a seemless transition into Def Leppard by just being himself. If I ever doubted that Def Leppard would continue to make great music, that fear went away quickly once Vivian joined. Steve Clark will never be forgotten or replaced by anyone, but Vivian was the best fit to continue the path toward the future for Def Leppard.

In 1993, I would graduate college with my nerdy accounting degree (nerd by day, rock star in my dreams) and by 1994 I was married. Marriage definitely changes your priorities, and my daughter was born in 1996 to re-shuffle priorities yet again. Music stayed important to me, but my favorite songs and albums saw a strange shift. With grunge rock making it’s way into the mainstream (I never really cared for it as a whole), I started listening to more country music. Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn and a host of other country artists were suddenly at the top of my personal charts, and I had no real explaination other than I needed a change. I still listened to some rock like Collective Soul, for instance, but it wasn’t the same. I, of course, bought Def Leppard’s “Retroactive” and “Slang” albums, but neither really spoke to me at that point. I chalked it up to my change in life circumstances, and just thought maybe I had just moved into another musical direction. I do think the thing that bothered me the most about “Slang” was the stripping away some of the harmonies (which is one of the best things I love about Def Leppard). It didn’t feel the same to me, and although I didn’t like it, I respected the band for trying something new. I have always believed that a band has the right to make the music they want to make. If they want to change it up, then they should. I don’t have to love everything a band does, but I can still respect the work they are doing.

By the late 1990’s I was feeling a familiar feeling. I didn’t seem to have the same love of music that I once had. I liked it, but there was no passion. I was also going through a divorce which as anyone knows is one of the roughest things you can go through. I was stressed out and it was really changing how I felt about life in general. I had decided after around 20 years of tracking my music that it was time to move on. However, I was getting ready to have a passion re-boot for music coming from a very familiar place. “Euphoria” would hit in 1999 and that album would bring with it another familiar feeling. The first time I played “Promises” I got the same feeling that I got when I heard “Photograph” in 1983 and “Animal” in 1987. There are no words for how great it sounded to hear the harmonies back and the guys nailing a perfect song that would end up my third favorite all-time Def Leppard song. “Euphoria” also seemed to bring about another change in me. I suddenly was not just listening to “Euphoria”, but other rock albums from 3 Doors Down and Nickelback. I was back into the rock music world and was loving it! For the second time in my life, Def Leppard had jump started my musical life and more importantly I wasn’t thinking about a divorce or my stress anymore.

“Euphoria” is my perfect example of how music can change someone’s life or, at least, change their perspective on life. “Euphoria” would spend (24) weeks as my favorite album, and become the third album by Def Leppard to be in my all-time top ten albums list. However, the impact of the album was more important than even my personal charts. It had helped me move on at a difficult time in my life, and that is part of why music exists in the first place. I will always thank Def Leppard for that album.

After “Euphoria”, I not only continued my charts but my passion for music gave me the idea for a music newsletter. It gave me something to focus on post-divorce and also helped me use something that has always been within me. I have always felt deep inside that I am supposed to help people. Even though it was “just music”, I felt like I was helping people and entertaining them with the music newsletter. We shared news and music and had trivia contests. It was so much fun, and I am so glad I did it. It was only for around 7 or 8 years, but I made a lot of life-long friendships that I still have to this day. It also helped lead me to my music website today. I got experience writing about and sharing music and it set me up for the future.

Needless to say, I have never strayed away from Def Leppard again! Every album since has had it’s own highlights. In 2002, “X” brought yet another #1 album including the (#1) hits, “Now”, “Four Letter Word” and “Torn To Shreds”. In 2006, “Yeah!” (which is a covers album) actually had some interesting songs and gave us fans a glimpse into the bands and songs that helped influence Def Leppard. In 2008, “Songs From The Sparkle Lounge” would show case songs mostly written on the road (which wasn’t normal for the guys up until then). Once again, it was a (#1) album for the band as far as I was concerned. In 2011, the band released a song called “Undefeated”, from their live album, “Mirror Ball: Live & More”, which was music to my ears! “Undefeated” would spend six weeks as my favorite song and lead us fans into the 2015 self-titled album release, “Def Leppard”.

I must admit, it was strange to have a self-titled release in 2015 . However, the album brought me back full circle, and I am sure it did for most fans. In my opinion, “Def Leppard” is the best album the guys have made since “Euphoria”. The album would produce five (#1) songs on Byrdbored with “Let’s Go”, “Dangerous”, “Man Enough”, “All Time High” and “Wings of an Angel”. The album would spend seventeen weeks as my favorite album, and currently ranks (#24) all-time on my personal albums listing. It would be my album of the year in 2016, and give the guys their fifth overall Byrdbored Entertainer of the year award. After all these years, the band is still making some of the best music of their career. This album also lead into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction which was long overdue!

My Nest of Fame is my version of the Hall of Fame. It is for the artists that I love the most and have played the most throughout the years. It is just my take and my personal favorites. However, when I think of all the years of music that I have been blessed to hear, I can’t imagine my life without Def Leppard. I don’t ever write anything like this to make these artists into Gods. It may seem like it, but it is quite the opposite. Def Leppard is a band of brothers that through the best of times and the worst of times have been there for each other and for their fans. Ultimately, they are human and that, in my opinion, comes out in the music. They have never done anything half-way, and they always want to make the best music possible. They never sound like they record anything on one take and just phone it in. I have always respected that, and love that about Def Leppard. Some of that credit might need to go to Mutt Lange for teaching them the way, but the guys learned his lessons very well.

In the end, it is hard to believe that some guys from Sheffield, England could touch the life of a random nerd in Tennessee so greatly with their music. However, when people claim that music really doesn’t make that much difference to them, I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. Def Leppard is not just a band to me. They gave me music I had never heard before as a teenager, and inspired my love of rock. Their music has been there when I went through some difficult times in my life, and we have all seen how they handle themselves through difficult times of their own. I don’t know the guys personally, but they always made me feel like I knew them through their music. Def Leppard has changed my life for the better and brought many a smile to my face over the years. Isn’t that what music should do after all? It is about the memories and the places that artists take us in our mind. They always inspire me to be myself and love what I love no matter what anyone says. Through all the ups and downs of their career, they have never been anything less than genuine, and that is part of their legacy. Can a band from England make a difference to a young kid in Tennessee? After 36 years, I believe the answer is yes.

In the nest, in your face with Def Leppard!!! Def Leppard is 100% Byrdbored and now a member of the Byrdbored Nest of Fame!! The story is not over yet for the band as I believe they have many more songs left to sing, and there will be a next time Def Leppard fans!  Rock on!

The Byrdman

Def Leppard has 27 (#1) Singles, 47 Byrdy Dozen Singles, 11 (#1) Albums and (7,375) Total Byrdbored Points Earned (Currently)

Def Leppard are: Joe Elliott (Lead & Backing Vocals), Phil Collen (Guitar & Backing Vocals), Rick Savage (Bass & Backing Vocals), Vivian Campbell (Guitar & Backing Vocals), Rick Allen (Drums & Percussion), Steve Clark (Guitar & Backing Vocals 1978-1991), Pete Willis (Guitar & Backing Vocals 1978-1982)

 

 

 

 

Tracy Byrd Ready for Comeback?


It has been a long time since I have heard from Tracy Byrd.  I would love to see another album and potentially a comeback.  Although it would be a much more difficult comeback on real world country charts than Byrdbored.  I would definitely welcome Mr. Byrd back into the fold even if we are not related (at least I don’t think we are)?

Tracy Byrd
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Byrdnotes – Byrdbored Point & Certification System


Byrdbored uses a Byrdy Dozen singles and albums chart to assign points to determine the biggest songs and albums.  The following details the points earned under the Byrdbored system based on where songs and albums peak:

#1 – 50 points (100 points for albums), #2 – 45 points (90 points for albums), #3 – 40 points (80 points for albums), #4 – 35 points (70 points for albums), #5 – 30 points (60 points for albums), #6 – 25 points (50 points for albums), #7 – 20 points (40 points for albums), #8 – 15 points (30 points for albums), #9 – 10 points (20 points for albums), #10 – 5 points (10 points for albums), #11 – 4 points (8 points for albums), #12 – 2 points (4 points for albums).

In addition, songs and albums that peak in the top five receive additional points for multiple weeks at the peak as follows:

#1 – 5 points for each additional week (10 points for albums), #2 – 4 points for each additional week (8 points for albums), #3 – 3 points for each additional week (6 points for albums), #4 – 2 points for each additional week (4 points for albums), #5 – 1 point for each additional week (2 points for albums).

Each song and album receives two additional points for each week spent in the Byrdy Dozen.

The Byrdbored Certification System for songs is as follows:

Gold – 50 points or more, Platinum – 75 points or more, Diamond – 100 points or more

The Byrdbored Certification System for albums is as follows:

Gold – 100 points or more, Platinum – 125 points or more (each additional 25 points earns another level. For instance, 150 points is double platinum), Diamond – 350 points or more.

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Flights – Stevie Wonder


Stevie Wonder has to be one of the top R&B and pop male singers in history,  although his music really has a fusion of many types.  I stumbled across the documentary of his album, “Songs in the Key of Life”, this past week, and it was very interesting and very well done.  If you get a chance check it out on You Tube.  As always, if you have any stories or memories about Stevie, or any other Classic Flight artists, just leave a comment or email me at Byrdman@Byrdboredmusic.com.

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Rascal Flatts Ruled Byrdbored Blast Singles Chart Five Years Ago with “Rewind”


This very week in 2014, Rascal Flatts was spending their fifth consecutive week atop the Byrdbored Singles chart with “Rewind”.  The song ended up finishing 2014 as the #2 song of the year and was certified Diamond on Byrdbored.  The country trio has scored eight Diamond singles overall.  Wishing you could “Rewind” back in time??  You are in luck!  Enjoy!

RascalFlattsRewind
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