Rock of Ages (Def Leppard song)

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"Rock of Ages"
Single by Def Leppard
from the album Pyromania
B-side "Action! Not Words" (UK)
"Coming Under Fire" (US)
Released May 1983 (Original)
4 June 2012 (Re-recorded version)
Format 7"
Digital Download (2012 version)
Recorded 1982
Park Gates Studios
Battle, Sussex, England
Battery Studios
London, England
2012 (Re-recorded version)
Genre Hard rock[1]
Length 4:09
Label Mercury (USA)
Vertigo (UK)
Songwriter(s) Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Producer(s) Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Def Leppard singles chronology
"Rock of Ages"
"Rock of Ages"

"Rock of Ages" is a song by Def Leppard from their 1983 album Pyromania. When released as a single in the United States, the song reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number one on the Top Tracks rock chart.[2]

It begins with a German-like nonsense phrase, "Gunter glieben glauten globen", 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.[3]

This phrase was later sampled in "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" by the Offspring as well as "Call Me What You Like (If You Like Rock-N-Roll)" by Puffy AmiYumi. This was also sampled in a parody of the song, "Rape Rock of Ages", by shock rock band the Mentors.

According to the liner notes of the compilation release Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection, the band was at a recording studio when lead vocalist Joe Elliott stumbled upon a hymn book left by a member of a children's choir that had just used the studio. In the book, he saw the words "Rock of Ages", which prompted him to write the lyrics of the song.

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 "F*** the Russians" and "Brezhnev's got herpes" can be heard.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by David Mallet[5] and shot on 8 December 1982 (Guitarist Phil Collen's 25th birthday), in Battersea, London, England.

Former Def Leppard co-manager Peter Mensch appears in this video as one of the monks.

In popular culture[edit]

The song is played in the movie Balls of Fury multiple times.

The song is featured in the video game Brütal Legend and the downloadable "Def Leppard Pack" for the game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

The song is also available for download for the game Rock Band 3, either alone or part of the "Def Leppard Pack 01".

In 2012, the band re-recorded the song, along with "Pour Some Sugar on Me", under the title "Rock of Ages 2012". Both were released digitally on 4 June 2012.

Also, in 2012 "Rock of Ages" appears in the movies That's My Boy and the 2012 movie of the same name.

The song also features heavily during the climactic scene of the Season 5 finale of Supernatural .

The phrase "Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen" reappears as the title of a poem by the contemporary American poet Michael Robbins. It was first published in The New Yorker and appears in his second collection of poems, _The Second Sex_ (Penguin Books, 2014).

In Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 11-01 (2017), "Reptilicus", a song called "Every Country has a Monster" is performed at the first intermission and over the closing credits. During the song, Crow T. Robot sings, "Gunter, glieben, glauchen, Crow-bin". ( spelling verified by the Netflix captions ).

Track listing[edit]

7": Vertigo / VER6 (812 858-7) (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rock of Ages"
  2. "Action! Not Words"

12": Vertigo / VERX6 (812 293-1) (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rock of Ages"
  2. "Action! Not Words"

7": Mercury / 812 604-7 (US)[edit]

  1. "Rock Of Ages"
  2. "Billy's Got A Gun"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tucker, Dan (28 February 2014). "13 Classic Hard Rock Songs That Will Make You Scream "More Cowbell!"". VH1. Viacom. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004) for a single week. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 170.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ryan Delmonico (2014-02-14), Def Leppard - Rock of Ages REVERSED vocals during guitar solo! what he really says!!, retrieved 2016-09-22 
  5. ^ Def Video 2 Pyromania 1983/High 'n' Dry 1984, Def Leppard

External links[edit]