Rocket (Def Leppard song)

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"Rocket"
Single by Def Leppard
from the album Hysteria
B-side Release Me (UK),
Women (live) (US)
Released 1989
Format 7" / 12" / CD / CDV
Recorded 1987
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 6:34 (album version)
8:41 (Extended Lunar Mix)
7:06 (Lunar Mix/Remix)
4:38 (edit)
4:25 (Lunar Mix - single version)
4:07 (Visualize video edit)
Label Mercury
Writer(s) Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Steve Clark, Rick Savage, Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Producer(s) Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Def Leppard singles chronology
"Love Bites"
(1988)
"Rocket"
(1989)
"Let's Get Rocked"
(1992)

"Rocket" is a song recorded by English hard rock band Def Leppard in 1987 from the album Hysteria. It was the sixth (seventh in the US) and final single release, coming out in January 1989 and hitting the Top 15 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart.[1]

The song was considered experimental for hard rock at the time. Most notably, producer Mutt Lange used backmasking effects to feature the line "We're fighting with the gods of war" (from "Gods of War", also on Hysteria) sung backwards throughout the track. This sample was omitted from the single version of the song. The word "Bites" (from "Love Bites") is also used as a sonic effect midway throughout the song, in order to replicate the sounds of a rocket launch through musical samples. "Rocket" also features a sample of "Burundi Black" by Burundi Steiphenson Black, which had previously had an influence on such UK bands as Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow, as well as monk-like chants that were also similarly used by Adam and the Ants in their song "Dog Eat Dog".[2] The drumbeats taken from the Royal Drummers of Burundi are played at the beginning of the extended and edited version after audio transcripts from the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

In its single release, "Rocket" was heavily edited from its original length of 6:34 for radio airplay, but would omit many of the portions that greatly distinguished the track from the rest of the album. At some shows, the album version gets performed, while at others they play the edited version instead.

Guitar World Magazine voted Rocket's guitar solo the 17th worst of all time in a countdown published in December 2004's issue. The magazine commented that "[Rocket has] a solo that any fouryear- old with a rack-mounted effects unit could play."[3]

It was used by professional wrestler Flyin' Brian Pillman as his theme music, when he came to NWA/WCW in 1989.

UK versions of the single release also featured a rather unconventional cover of the Engelbert Humperdinck song "Release Me", credited to "Stumpus Maximus & The Good Ol' Boys", which was actually Malvin Mortimer, the band's future tour manager, backed up by the band members themselves. The vocal is particularly notable for starting out as a rather exaggerated pub-singer version of the opening verses, becoming more and more extreme as the song progresses. In the last verse, Stumpus' histrionics are interrupted by a brief belch, followed by a polite "'scuse me" before going back up to eleven without even a split-second pause. Some commentators at the time saw the track as indicative of cynical commercialism on the part of the record company.

Music video[edit]

The music video for this song was directed by Nigel Dick.[4]

The video is noted for being the last of the band with Steve Clark in the lineup. It was filmed in the same warehouse in the Netherlands used nearly two years earlier for the "Women" clip in 1987. Clips of the classic rock names, (see below) from the lyrics are flashed during the video, along with footage of the various artists performing live or on BBC TV's Top of the Pops.

The 1971 FA Cup Final, won by Arsenal, and also features; particularly goal scorer, club legend and crowd favourite Charlie George. This is a little odd, as 4 out of 5 members of the band at the time were from Sheffield and have made their support for Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday known to the public. The lyrics and video is centered around the 1970s (with newsreel of Richard Nixon's disgrace also present), so Arsenal's historic league and cup double along with George's popularity with most football fans make it an obvious inclusion.

Lyrics[edit]

For its lyrics, the names of classic rock artists, songs or albums are dropped as a subtle tribute to the music of the band's youth.

Sony and ITV-F1[edit]

The song has been used as the musical accompaniment in advertisements for Sony high definition televisions with a number of different themes being used for the adverts. In addition the song has been heard at the beginning and end of advert breaks surrounding the coverage of Formula One events on ITV in the UK, since Sony assumed the role as the sports main sponsor on the channel.

Track listing[edit]

7": Bludgeon Riffola / LEP6 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rocket [Edit]"
  2. "Release Me"

7": Mercury / 872 614-7 (US)[edit]

  1. "Rocket [Edit]"
  2. "Women [Live]"

12": Bludgeon Riffola / LEPX6 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rocket [Lunar Mix]"
  2. "Release Me"
  3. "Rock of Ages [Live]"

12": Bludgeon Riffola / LEPXP6 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rocket [Lunar Mix]"
  2. "Rocket [Radio Edit]"
  3. "Release Me"
  • 12" picture disc

CD: Bludgeon Riffola / LEPCD6 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rocket [Lunar Mix-edit]"
  2. "Rock of Ages [Live]"
  3. "Release Me"

CD: Vertigo / 872 614-2 (Can)[edit]

  1. "Rocket [Extended Lunar Mix]"
  2. "Women [Live]"
  3. "Rock of Ages [Live]"
  4. "Rocket [Lunar Mix]"
  • only 5000 copies pressed

CDV: Bludgeon Riffola / 080 990-2 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rocket [Lunar Mix-edit]" [Video]
  2. "Rocket [Edit]" [Audio]
  3. "Release Me" [Audio]
  4. "Rock of Ages [Live]" [Audio]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Neil Warwick, Jon Kutner, Tony Brown (2004) The complete book of the British charts: singles & albums Omnibus Press, 2004
  2. ^ Rocket "Song Stories", Rolling Stone
  3. ^ Bienstock, Richard; Bosso, Joe; Epstein, Dan; Gill, Chris; Paul, Alan; Wiederhorn, Jon. "100 Worst Guitar Solos". Guitar World. New Bay Media. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Nigel Dick Videography - Music Video Database - The Base Of Music Videos

External links[edit]