Why Def Leppard Would Rather Write Like T. Rex Than Bob Dylan
Def Leppard's "Armageddon It" is one of several polished hard-rock hits on the band's blockbuster fourth LP, 1987's Hysteria, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
And it proves an age-old musical truth: You can write whatever bizarre words you want, as long as you set them to a catchy hook.
The British quintet was more inspired by T. Rex than Bob Dylan, prioritizing sound over literal meaning. And the title lyric from "Armageddon It," a warped version of the question "Am I getting it?", is the perfect example. And as singer Joe Elliott told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show, it was the closest Def Leppard ever came to "embracing the Marc Bolan way of writing."
"We were huge fans of T. Rex," he said. "And we often used to say in interviews back in the '80s, when people would be questioning our lyrical ability, 'I'd much rather write Hubcap diamond star halo [a line from 1971's "Get It On"] than The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.'"
The band, he noted, preferred to channel Bolan's imagery than the dense, wordy approach of Dylan. "A 'hubcap diamond star halo' — God knows what one of them is, but Marc Bolan did," Elliott said. "It just had this image of [spaciness] and otherworldliness, [rather] than preachy, Dylan-type stuff. We were in that mold at the time, so we were writing lyrics that were just phonetically friendly. They didn't necessarily have to mean anything."
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