On Through the Night

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On Through the Night
Def Leppard - On Through the Night.jpg
Studio album by
Released14 March 1980
RecordedDecember 1979
GenreHeavy metal
Producer(Colonel) Tom Allom
Def Leppard chronology
The Def Leppard E.P.
On Through the Night
High 'n' Dry
Singles from On Through the Night
  1. "Wasted"
    Released: 2 November 1979 (UK)[1]
  2. "Hello America"
    Released: 8 February 1980 (UK)[2]
  3. "Rock Brigade"
    Released: 14 May 1980 (US)[3]

On Through the Night is the debut studio album by the English rock band Def Leppard, released on 14 March 1980. The album was produced by Tom Allom. It charted at No. 15 on the UK Albums Chart[4] and No. 51 on the Billboard 200.[5] The album features re-recorded versions of "Rocks Off" and "Overture", tracks from the band's original independently released EP, The Def Leppard E.P.. Other tracks are re-recorded versions of early demos, some of which later appeared on the 2020 box set The Early Years 79–81.[6] The album was certified gold by the RIAA on 18 November 1983 and platinum on 9 May 1989.[7]

"Wasted", "Hello America" and "Rock Brigade" were released as singles. However, the version of "Wasted" that appears on the single is a different recording from that of the LP, as is its B-side, "Hello America".

The spoken word intro to "When the Walls Came Tumbling Down" was performed by Dave Cousins of Strawbs. Joe Elliott had done the spoken portion in earlier live performances and demo recordings that showed up on some early bootlegs. In his biography, Cousins claims that he did his best Laurence Olivier impersonation for the song's intro.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal8/10[9]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[10]

The album received mostly positive reviews. AllMusic's Steve Huey noted that On Through the Night "established the band as one of the leading lights of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal." Although he stated that "it may lack the detailed production and more pop-oriented songwriting of later efforts, (...) some Leppard fans prefer this sound."[8] Canadian journalist Martin Popoff praised the album for being "one of the most polished and savvy of the NWOBHM", evoking the sound of "acts like Thin Lizzy, UFO, even Queen and Mott the Hoople." For him, On Through the Night was "a welcome breath of fresh air" among the dark, "thrashy" and "punky" music coming from the UK at the time.[9] Rolling Stone's David Fricke reviewed the album favourably on the same wavelength, explaining that it "shows they not only respect their elders, they've taken cues from their New Wave peers, too." He also stated that "guitarists Pete Willis and Steve Clark shoot from the hip, packing their licks into tight, three-minute pop arrangements", and that lead singer Joe Elliott "wails wonderfully in a resonating tenor, fortified by backup harmonies and Tom Allom's battering-ram production." He concluded that the band "displays a wisdom beyond their years" in mixing melody and heaviness, coming up with an album that "is awfully impressive for a band making its vinyl debut."[12] Sputnikmusic staff review noted that the "middle-class common-man image" of the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" movement "partially played a part in making Def Leppard one of [its] leaders". He also stated that the band's ambition "would never allow [them] to be tunnel-visioned", but he concluded that On Through the Night "can be categorized as a grower of an album since the more superficial elements that would appeal to the mainstream will initially distract some listeners from what is actually an incredibly tight musical and vocal performance."[11]

Record World said that the single "Rock Brigade" has "inventive guitar leads and pulsating dance rhythms."[13]

Most of the songs on the album were dropped from the band's live setlists after 1983, although "Rock Brigade" and "Wasted" would see periodic revivals after 2000. Also, the non-album track from the same era entitled "Good Morning Freedom" would be played live in 2013 during the opening to the "Viva Hysteria" shows.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Rock Brigade"Pete Willis3:09
2."Hello America"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Savage
3."Sorrow Is a Woman"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Savage
  • Willis
  • 1 & 3 - Clark
  • 2 & 3 - Willis
4."It Could Be You"
  • Elliott
  • Willis
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Savage
  • Willis
  • Willis
  • ride out licks: Clark
6."When the Walls Came Tumbling Down"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Andrew Smith
Side two
  • Clark
  • Elliott
8."Rocks Off"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Savage
  • Willis
9."It Don't Matter"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Willis
10."Answer to the Master"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Savage
  • Willis
  • 1 - Clark
  • 2 - Willis
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Savage
  • Willis
  • 1, 2 & 4 - Clark
  • 3 & 5 - Willis


Def Leppard[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Chris M. Hughes – synthesiser on "Hello America"
  • Dave Cousins – voice on "When the Walls Came Tumblin' Down"




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[19] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Def Leppard singles".
  2. ^ "Def Leppard singles".
  3. ^ "Def Leppard singles".
  4. ^ "Def Leppard Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Def Leppard Chart History". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  6. ^ Grow, Kory (29 January 2020). "Def Leppard Collect Unreleased Earliest Recordings for New Box Set". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  7. ^ "RIAA Searchable Database: search for "Def Leppard"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  8. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Def Leppard - On Through the Night review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 978-1894959315.
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 4 (4 ed.). Muze. ISBN 978-0-19-531373-4.
  11. ^ a b "Def Leppard - On Through the Night (staff review)". Sputnikmusic.com. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  12. ^ Fricke, David (26 June 1980). "On through the Night - Def Leppard". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Single Picks" (PDF). Record World. 21 June 1980. p. 14. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ "Def Leppard | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Def Leppard Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Def Leppard – On Through the Night". Music Canada.
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Def Leppard – On Through the Night". Recording Industry Association of America.