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Def Leppard - Rock of Ages (1983)

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  • 80's Score 80's score: 1.25

"Rock of Ages" is a song by Def Leppard from their 1983 album Pyromania. When issued as a single in the United States, the ...

"Rock of Ages" is a song by Def Leppard from their 1983 album Pyromania. When issued as a single in the United States, the song reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #19 on the Cash Box Top 100. It also hit #1 on the Top Tracks Rock chart.

Lyrics

The song begins with "Gunter glieben glauten globen", a German-like nonsense phrase introduced by Mutt Lange, who is of German descent. According to the official Def Leppard FAQ,

These four words that you hear at the start of "Rock of Ages", mean nothing, though the band sometimes jokingly claims it means "running through the forest silently". It's actually just German-sounding gibberish, said by producer Mutt Lange during one of the later takes of the song. Lange was a perfectionist and would often do dozens & dozens of takes, and after repeatedly beginning so many with the standard count, "One, two, three, four" he simply started saying nonsense words instead, the band liking this one so much that they included it on the album.

As the song's melody begins, Elliott speaks the lines, "All right/I've got something to say/It's better to burn out/Than to fade away"; the second two lines are a reference to Neil Young's song "Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Blue)". Def Leppard's four-line version was quoted in the 1986 movie Highlander by the film's villain, the Kurgan. Young's line would later become immortalized in rock history when it was used in the suicide note of grunge pioneer Kurt Cobain.

During the guitar solo, several vocal phrases were backmasked. When played forward the phrases "Fuck the Russians" and "Brezhnev's got herpes" can be heard.