DEF LEPPARD Guitarist PHIL COLLEN Names His Top Five Career-Defining Songs

June 18, 2022, a week ago

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DEF LEPPARD Guitarist PHIL COLLEN Names His Top Five Career-Defining Songs

Speaking with Guitar Player, Def Leppard's Phil Collen revealed what he believes are his top five career-defining songs. Following is an excerpt from the rundown.

"Hollywood Tease” by Girl from Sheer Greed (1980)

Collen: “I was in Girl prior to Def Leppard. We were a London-based post-punk, post-glam, hard-rock band. We were trying to merge everything together. We didn’t have anyone to guide us, so we were kind of flying blind. The real tragedy for Girl is that we didn’t meet someone like Mutt Lange, because he could have brought a lot to what we did. I really believe we could have been a lot bigger if that had happened.

My solo in this was really the first recording I’d done that sounded like what I was trying to achieve. It combined all of my rock influences and made it work in my own context: a little bit of Blackmore, Schenker, Ronson and some Al Di Meola thrown in, right down to the Les Paul with DiMarzios and the shred/burn lick on the neck pickup. I also think I based the solo’s format on a Mick Box [Uriah Heep] solo from ’73. I used my Wine Red ’76 Gibson Les Paul Custom with a DiMarzio Super Distortion bridge pickup into a Marshall 100-watt master-volume head through an angled 4x12 cab.”

"Photograph” by Def Leppard from Pyromania (1983)

Collen: "Pyromania kick started the hair-metal thing with the big choruses and killer guitar solos. Ironically, I recorded this in the same room as I’d recorded ‘Hollywood Tease’ three years before. Def Leppard were actually very much a blend of the same influences as we had in Girl: some Bowie and T.Rex, some AC/DC and the Sex Pistols, glam and Led Zeppelin.

‘Photograph’ was the song that broke us into multi-Platinum status, with everything lining up perfectly: We had MTV, we were a top-20 band that could still be a hard-rock band, and we knew how to get an eight-bar solo in a song without alienating our listeners. That’s why I usually work my solos out. Mutt always said you have to be able to hum the solo, because if you haven’t got something memorable there, then you’re just doing the song a disservice.

Mutt had me double-track my solo to give it a creamier sound. I used my ’80–’81 Ibanez Destroyer Custom with a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge position and a Kahler trem system. This guitar is on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland."

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