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4.7 out of 5 stars249
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on December 16, 2001
This 'raw' CD of the Lep is their finest - before being glossed into a commercial heavy metal machine. Mind you, I love Pyromainia and Hysteria, but that is about it... This CD captures all of their early raw energy; combined with 'On through the Night', this is Lep's finest moment - and the Vault CD totally dismissed most of this and their debut!
This album was a permanent fixture in my first car (as a tape, of course), and I never tired of the sheer energy that was on 'High and Dry' - in fact, I only wished that other bands would follow suit! 'Let it Go' and 'Another Hit and Run' still make me long for that kind of stuff today. (...) This CD was good old 'feeling good' rock and roll with a heavy induction of pep and guitars by the Lep.
Lep fans - this is a MUST - for all others, you must check this out keeping in mind that this is good old 70's hard rock, not the Lep stuff that followed...
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on August 3, 2000
This is Def Leppard's best album, and that is saying a lot. "Pyromania" and "Hysteria" are two of the best recordings ever put on tape, but High 'N' Dry is better. Nearly 20 years after its original release, it still sounds as fresh as the day it came out.
"High 'N' Dry" isn't quite as polished as Lep's later stuff. There's fewer synths, and the production's not as strong. Once you hear it, you'll quickly realize that this is a good thing. It lays the raw power of Def Leppard bare, and the listener quickly notices that these guys are even more capable than "Pyromania" and "Hysteria" would indicate.
There simply isn't a bad or even a mediocre song on this album. No filler here for sure. Any one of the tracks on "High 'N' Dry" would justify the price of the CD. "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" set the standard for power ballads, and in my opinion has yet to be topped by anybody. The title track, "Let It Go," "Another Hit And Run," "You Got Me Running," and "Lady Strange," however, show that there is a lot more to "High 'N' Dry" than "Heartbreak." These songs rock like nobody's business. It's a real shame that Joe Elliot and the guys have pretty much disowned this album except for "Heartbreak". If they were to make a new album that even came close to "High 'N' Dry," they'd attract a whole new generation of fans in short order.
The CD and later LP versions add two bonus tracks, a remix of "Heartbreak" and "Me And My Wine," that weren't on the original LP release in 1981. The original "Heartbreak" is the better of the two, but the remix and "Me And My Wine" are still a plus. As if there wasn't plenty there already.
If you don't have this album, buy it now. If you have it on LP or cassette, this one's well worth upgrading to CD. This is truly a landmark recording, and is not to be missed.
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on June 27, 2007
There was a time, long, long ago when Def Leppard rocked. By listening to the band's musical out-put for the last fifteen years, it may be hard to believe that, but it's true. Early on, before "Let's Get Rocked," before touring with Bryan Adams and Journey, before making adult-contemporary soft-rock with the stink-bomb "X," (2002) there was a time when Def Leppard was genuinely a great rock band.

Released at the start of a new decade, the Judas Priest sounding debut from Def Leppard, '"On through the Night," (1980) may not have been the most original album of all-time, but it's still a great little-known gem in the chronicles of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal). For their sophomore release, the band hooked-up with its unofficial sixth member, long-time Def Leppard collaborator and producer, John "Mutt" Lange. Released a year after the debut, Def Leppard's second album "High N' Dry" (1981) has some of the same NWOBHM elements that were on the "On though the Night, but also sees the band establishing its own identity and searching out new terrain.

AC/DC's monumental album "Back in Black" (1980) no doubt had an influence on Def Leppard's "High N' Dry." From singer Joe Elliot's attempts to sound like Brian Johnson, to guitarists Steve Clarke and Pete Willis attempts to imitate the Young brothers, "High N' Dry" sounds a lot like AC/DC. This isn't so surprising when you consider the fact that Lange produced "Back in Black." That said, the seeds of Def Leppard's signature sound that is so apparent on "Pyromania" (1983) and "Hysteria," (1987) like the melodic sing-along choruses and metallic yet infectious hooks, make their appearance on "High N' Dry." In a sense "High N' Dry" can be seen as the album that bridged the gap between Def Leppard's NWOBHM years, apparent on their debut, to their definitive pop-metal heyday of "Pyromania" and "Hysteria."

The band's early line-up on their first three albums was by far the best. Sorry Phil Collin (and Vivian Campbell), but the Pete Willis/Steve Clarke combo were by far the finest duel-guitarists that the band ever had. Their riffs and solos throughout the album are just plain killer, easily as good as anything AC/DC had to offer (is it blasphemy to hold that opinion?). It should be noted that apart from "Hit and Run," every song on "High N' Dry" was co-penned by either Clarke and/or Willis. With both long since gone (Willis was fired in '83 and Clarke died in '91) it's easy to see how the band has suffered creatively ever since. The songwriting throughout the whole disc is terrific, with very well-crafted but hard-rocking songs, one after the other, without a dud in the lot. Even the album's one balled "Bringing on the Heartbreak" sounds great and is light-years better than the syrupy trash that made up the band's most recent steaming-pile of manure, abomination of an album "X."

Another great feature of "High N' Dry" is its organic sound. While the band may be most well known for their ultra-slick "Hysteria," on "High N' Dry" the band sounds a lot rawer, much more rough-around-the edges and a lot more ballsy than they would on later albums ("Pyromania" can be seen as a mid-way point between the two).

"High N' Dry" is also great simply because the band wants to rock. Def Leppard at this point in their career were hungry and eager to prove to the world that they kicked ass, and they did. Don't believe Joe Elliot when he tells you that Def Leppard were always really a pop band at heart, not a metal one, that just isn't true. While there is a clear pop-sensibility to "High N' Dry" it most definitely has a metallic edge and a lot of balls.

When I think of Def Leppard, I think of the group existing as two separate entities. First, there is the Def Leppard of the 80s, a great rock band who put out four terrific albums, even if they did get a little too commercial towards the end. And second there is the Def Leppard of the 90s/00s, an embarrassment; a band for soccer moms, the less said about the better.

So even if Def Leppard has sucked beyond belief for years, go back in time with "High N' Dry," and rock out to an album from a once really great band.
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on February 22, 2007
I actually 'rediscovered' this album; Def Leppard's Pyromania was the first cassette I ever bought, shortly after its release (and shortly after my 13th birthday), and while I loved it, my tastes soon turned to things heavier. Years later, a friend was playing his beat-up cassette copy of High'n'Dry and I was absolutely floored. This is, from start to finish, a brilliant album, and like their debut On Through the Night, shows a very young and unpretentious band wanting to do nothing more than emulate and build on what bands like UFO, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC had done before them. That said, I think the AC/DC comparisons are a bit overblown; obviously, they were an influence and they did share a producer, but AC/DC, as much as I love them, could never match Def Leppard's subtlety or sense of melody. Anyway, the production on this album is very full and clean, yet manages to retain the young band's rawness and energy - note the guitar feedback during the intro to 'Let It Go', and the shouted 3-count between the bridge and last chorus of 'Another Hit and Run'. High'n'Dry is unique in that it was written and recorded before the 80's hard rock/pop-metal formula had been firmly established, and in fact helped define it. As such, while this album contains all the recognizable elements that came to define the genre, it also covers a lot more ground musically than what was to follow in its footsteps. Not being a fan of Def Leppard's post-Pyromania releases, I don't know that I can really recommend it to fans of their later work, but to any fans of late-70's/early-80's hard rock who somehow have managed to not yet hear this in the 26 years since its release, do yourself a favor and get this now!
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on December 29, 1999
To sum it up in a nutshell, this album needs to be in your collection because...IT KICKS SOME SERIOUS GLUTEUS MAXIMUS! Songs like "Let it Go", "High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)", "Bringin' on the Heartbreak", "Switch 625", "Lady Strange" and "Another Hit and Run" are written VERY well and still stand out as some of their best material - I think it is a serious felony that out of the aforementioned titles, only "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" was chosen on their greatest hits compilation! Also, Def Leppard pretty much steers clear of this album when performing live which is unfortunate for the fans! Joe Elliott gave a very stupid explanation on "VH1 Storytellers" saying that "High 'N' Dry/On through the Night" are like the rocket parts that get you up in the air and then break off because you don't need them anymore (his EXACT words) - he also went on to basically say (yes, it gets even more stupid...) that out of a large audience, most people wouldn't know the songs anyway or want to hear them...I say SO WHAT Mr. Joe Elliott and that is not something you should assume for "your fans" - if you've got great old songs, you shouldn't just throw them in the garbage just because your too concerned in trying to appeal to all the "legions" of "new Def Lep fans" - anyway, I am off my soap box on that issue - JUST TRUST ME AND GET THIS ALBUM!
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on August 22, 2001
I was one of the most rabid Def Leppard fans in the wake of "Pyromania". There are certain tracks on that album that are undisputably the best material this band ever recorded (I defy anyone to tell me that they ever recorded anything approaching "Foolin'", "Too Late for Love", and "Die Hard the Hunter"). I bought "High "N" Dry" in 1984 in the hope that this album would be a decent forerunner to "Pyromania". I was more than pleasantly surprised to find it to be the equal to, but different than, "Pyromania". Shortly after buying this album, I spoke to a friend who declared it to be "Pyromania"'s superior. He meant that sentiment sincerely. Part of me agrees with him. The other part of me tells me that it's just different.
Following my purchase of "High "N" Dry", I ventured into the precocious and promising "On Through the Night", and concluded, in light of their self-deprecating press, that this band is far too critical of its early days (they like to ignore "On Through the Night", which I, as a fan, sincerely loved). Their stand toward their early days truly offends me in light of their current revelry in buggle-gum power pop. These self-absorbed jerks consistently disappoint with their "THIS IS OUR BEST ALBUM EVER" hooey. The Lepps are presently ... (a process I think started with "Hysteria").
Had this band continued to interest their longtime fans, they would not be in the current state of mediocrity they now enjoy. Joe, if your reading this, call me! Have you ever needed obscurity so bad?
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on December 13, 2015
Quite possibly the best album in the band's catalog, I enjoyed reconnecting with a band that was at their peak while I was in college 30 years ago. Like so many other people, I own "Pyromania" and "Hysteria", two fine commercially successful albums, but it wasn't until I purchased "High 'n Dry" that I found a new appreciation for the band.

This album is more than just "Bringing on the Heartache"; the opening track, "Let it Go" is probably my favorite track, closely followed by the title track, "High 'n' Dry". "Switch 625", an instrumental, really highlights the band's guitar virtuosity instead of just regular rock chord progressions. Then there's "You Got Me Runnin'"--this is more true to the familiar Def Leppard sound of their later albums, and perhaps that's because of the vocals.

I don't find this album quite as polished as their later albums, but that's fine with me. It's refreshing and nice to put in the 80s metal band rotation when I'm in the mood. I'm no means a rock critic, but I know what I like and this is an album that will become a lasting favorite in my collection.
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on November 6, 2015
This album holds a lot of emotional resonance for me. The first time I heard of then or the album I was almost 16 and was in a creepy adolescent psychiatric ward-located at a sprawling mental hospital- as bad as that sounds it was a step up from the dysfunction and abuse back at "home". Music was soooo important,it was the thing that could sweep me away from my bizarre existence in a nut house,(Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro NC if you must know)
There was a group of us that would share what cassettes we owned and talk of music-one day one of the crew told me to tune in to the local fm radio station that night at a particular time to hear an uninterrupted play of a new yet to be released album by a group he had some knowledge about from a previous record-that night I closed my door and put my headphones/walkman on and instantaneously I felt a bolt of energy and excitement from the first notes of let it go,even though I had never heard these songs before there was an undeniable connection to the raw and blistering sentiment,the songs were barely a second between tracks (like ac/dc)so it felt like being propelled forward into and part of the music-I know this is a little melodramatic-but isnt that what a teenager is best at?? Afterwards I was so excited-so eager to hear it again and again,-it made me happy,hopeful,I cannot explain that bit it did,So over the years I would listen on repeat and than kind of forget about it-as being a now sane,full fledged adult with children does. Now I listen and it does transport me back to a tumultuous time inmy life,but it also reminds ne of rocking out and having fun,it ,partying and carefree, I never saw the band,but thank God for utube where several of the songs here are documented on film and can be seen anytime.On a lighter note-Hand D is just timeless,kick ass and the whole album front to back is insanely good,there isnt a bad song in the bunch,I like many DL fans view this as their masterpiece,the band itself has enjoyed global success for 35 years,-playing to record audiences,however I don;t think the "music" critics have ever really given DL the love they should have,who cares,.This is a great album-and a part of me.
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on May 3, 2011
A year after releasing their debut, Def Leppard teams up with successful record producer Mutt Lange and "High `N' Dry" comes out in 1981. "High `N' Dry" will be much more enjoyable to those who are fans of metal and hard rock and are less into the more pop and polished "Pyromania" and "Hysteria" albums (even if I love both of these album). This was the first Def Leppard album producer Mutt Lange did with the band who would have a huge influence on the band, so much as to even be called "the sixth Def Leppard". Lange definitely has had a impact on the band and was a big part of their eventual success by helping define the sound they would become famous for. Joe Elliot's voice has changed since the first album, it's higher here and noticeably different. "High `N' Dry" is also the last album to feature guitarist Pete Willis who would be replaced by Phil Collen. This album shows improvement over the last album, I really like "On Through The Night" because it shows the earlier and raw Def Leppard that sounds like NWOBHM (that's New Wave Of British Heavy Metal for the uninitiated) and the band at its early stage and sounds almost nothing like their trademark sound. With "High `N' Dry" it was time for the band to change a little and make themselves different from the other NWOBHM bands and they did. Def Lepp sound more melodic on this one and they started to develop their trademark sound here. The best way to describe the album is that it still has a very hard-rock/metal feel and sound but with some prominent melodies and more gang (and pop like) choruses.

On "High 'N' Dry" the band still sounds somewhat raw, energetic and rocking. Granted the band's debut On Through The Night (a very underrated album in this reviewer's humble opinion) is heavier, rawer and to the point but I feel that "High `N' Dry" is overall a stronger and better album. The band sounds better for one, Joe's voice shows improvement from the debut and the musicianship is better as well. Lange did plant the seed for what the sound of the band would become which is evident from the very first song "Let It Rock" with the trademark back vocals the band would become famous for. I'm not going to go through every song but I'll give my comments on a few of them.

There is the powerful and amazing (yet still rocking) ballad "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" which was probably at this point the first power ballad and to me this is the best ballad Def Leppard has done, rivaled only by "Love Bites" and "Hysteria". It's really with their follow-up, "Pyromania" that the band went into a more commercial and pop direction, this one has teeth and edge to this and it's a lot more metal sounding. The title track "High `N' Dry" is a highlight, this one is very AC/DC sounding (what did you expect? Mutt Lange also produced AC/DC and besides the Aussies were a big influence on Def Leppard), pure classic rock. Those who think Def Leppard is a little too "clean" on latter albums might be pleasantly surprised with those lyrics, great song. "Switch 625" is an instrumental song, now I'll admit that I'm usually not a fan of instrumentals (with exceptions like Iron Maiden's "Transylvania" and Rush' "YYZ") but I love this one, the playing is so tight and it's just a killer rocking song. "Lady Strange" is an excellent song with a terrific riff and a catchy chorus, works for me I really like this one. "On Through The Night" sounds like it could have been on (you guessed it!) the band's debut, also called "On Through The Night". "Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My eyes)" is one of the more aggressive songs, the pop-ish chorus is back by a solid guitar riff, one of my favorite songs from "High `N' Dry".

Later releases of "High `N' Dry" featured two bonus songs: two remixes of "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" (This one has added keyboard which does make it sound slightly different, especially during the chorus) and a B-Side "Me And My Wine"(always cool to get unreleased stuff, solid rock `n' roll, not bad at all).

I would consider "High `N' Dry" one of Def Leppard's best albums. As mentioned earlier, here they still have a hard rock edge but it's blended nicely with more melody and pop-ish choruses which makes for an excellent Def Lepp album. Maybe I enjoy it more because the songs didn't receive nearly as much airplay as "Pyromania" or `Hysteria" did and the band sounds better than on their debut album. "High `N' Dry" is not one the band's most successful albums but it's certainly one of those I enjoy the most. If you're less into the glam/pop-metal sound the band is usually known for I think you would enjoy the band's first two albums a lot more. To me this is where Def Leppard really became Def Leppard, and I've got to give credit to Mutt Lange as he was very involved. "High `N' Dry" is an excellent album and one that should not be overlooked or ignored because of the band's more famous albums, I highly recommend this one 5/5.
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on February 9, 2015
Sure Def Leppard and AC/DC share some similarities, after all High n Dry was produced by John "Mutt" Lange who also produced Back In Black. The Def guys were big AC/DC Fans and I certainly wouldn't hold that against them. However, the contrasts are more prominent than the similarities. On several songs Steve Clark and Rick Savage sound more like Eddie Van Halen than Angus Young. On Through The Night is a good example of this. Bringin' On The Heartbreak is of course everyone's favorite dish on this menu. Another Hit And Run is a fast up-tempo track with subtle harmonies and butt-kickin' guitar riffs. High N Dry for some reason reminds me of KISS. Maybe it's because both bands have a knack for combining Power and Melody in ways that they don't dilute each other. All the songs here are really good. The overall sound is prototypical Rock & Roll which is the foundation of Def Leppard.
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