Def Leppard are planning to issue a rare recording of an early concert in 1980 as part of a new "celebratory release."
Planet Rock’s very own Joe Elliott said the previously unheard live performance was recorded at Oxford’s The Apollo (now the New Theatre Oxford) on 26th April 1980, just a month after the release of their debut album 'On Through The Night'.
When it sees the light of day as an accompaniment to 'On Through The Night', which turns 40 next year, it will be Def Leppard’s first live album to feature guitarist Pete Willis, who was replaced by Phil Collen in 1982.
Alongside Willis and Elliott, the Def Leppard line-up at the Oxford concert also featured drummer Rick Allen, bassist Rick Savage and late-great guitarist Steve Clark.
Revealing the plans for the live release, Joe Elliott told Trunk Nation: "We thought about this about a year and a half ago. And there's gonna be a celebratory release.
“I don't know how much of this I can say right now. I might be breaking protocol. But I will say this much: there's a companion piece to 'On Through The Night', there's a brand-new, just-mixed live performance from the Oxford Theatre from 1980, which has never been heard ever."
Explaining that it will be a true reflection of the show “warts and all”, Joe continued: "It is what it is. It's us live in 1980. We were discussing off-mic about lip-syncing or overdubbing ... You can't expect a 59-year-old me to go in and clean up a 20-year-old vocal. You know what I mean? So, it is what it is.
“But I tell you this much: the band… As I said in the liner notes, when you peer through the curtain of uncertainty that my voice was back in those days, there is a fantastic band onstage. And the two-armed Rick Allen with Sav was some rhythm section to come, considering he was 16 years old and Sav was 17, I think — maybe 18. And Pete and Steve were 17 and 18 years old. It was some band."
According to setlist.fm, the band played the following songs at the show:
When the Walls Came Tumbling Down
It Could Be You
Let It Go
Answer to the Master
Sorrow Is a Woman
Good Morning Freedom
It Don't Matter
Def Leppard in 2018 © Press
Speaking to Planet Rock at Download Festival in June, Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen said the band commenced work on their new album in 2018.
“We started it last year, actually. We started recording it last year on tour,” Phil told Paul Anthony.
“Like on the Tesla album (2019’s ‘Shock’, which Phil produced and co-wrote) we’d be in room like this (a portacabin) doing guitars… we’ve actually started the new Def Leppard album in a similar way, we’ve got the odd track on the go and that’s it really, it’s just how far you go.”
Reflecting on how the recording process differs to 2015’s self-titled ‘Def Leppard’, Collen added: “The last album we actually went in to do one or two songs and within a week we had 12 songs and it was like, it shocked us ‘this is an album already’ and it ended up more than that.
“Yeah, that came together really quickly and we didn’t even plan that. So, I think (this album) is going to be a different thing, there’s a bunch of songs already on the go.”