The new album Drastic Symphonies will see Def Leppard’s biggest songs deconstructed and rebuilt with the majestic accompaniment of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Due for release on May 19, the album represents a bold new approach to the band’s most loved songs.
For the large part, the album features the original audio of Leppard classics, newly combined with the RPO, but Drastic Symphonies also includes new vocals and guitars to create epic new symphonic arrangements. At different stages of the record, listeners will hear frontman Joe Elliott duetting with his younger self.
The album will be available on CD, 2LP black vinyl, limited edition 2LP colored vinyl, limited 2LP picture disc, CD/Blu-Ray (Atmos), and digitally. The first track from the project, “Animal,” is available now.
“Def Leppard has always enjoyed veering off the expected path,” reflects Elliott, “working with the likes of Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, and Alison Krauss for example. So, when the offer to revisit some of our back catalog with the Royal Philharmonic was presented to us, to a man we all jumped at it. Although we’re far from the first band to ever do this, working directly with an orchestra at Abbey Road on some of our more orchestrated songs seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was recorded at Abbey Road in March 2022, and the album is produced by Def Leppard, Ronan McHugh and Nick Patrick, the producer of RPO orchestral albums by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, the Beach Boys, and Buddy Holly. Arrangements are by Eric Gorfain, known for his work with Neil Diamond, Ryan Adams, Christina Aguilera).
Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen adds: “When the offer of doing an orchestral album with the RPO was suggested we were honoured. But we didn’t just want an orchestra plonked over our previous recordings. We decided to create something special where we would have something classic but present it in a brand new way that would involve making everything work in the context of Drastic Symphonies.
‘An amazingly inspirational process’
“Recording new parts, remixing previous sounds, taking some of our instruments out so the orchestra could breathe and literally making a new album. It was an amazingly inspirational process culminating in the live recording of the RPO at Abbey Road studios in London. An absolute team effort that took a good part of a year.”
He continues: “It’s a new Def Leppard album, it’s a greatest hits plus album, with some rarely heard songs, it’s a live RPO album and we think it’s perfect. We’re so proud of how Drastic Symphonies turned out and can’t wait to share it to the world.”
Pre-order Drastic Symphonies, which is released on May 19.
The full tracklist is:
• Turn To Dust
• Paper Sun
• Pour Some Sugar on Me (Stripped version)
• Love Bites
• Goodbye For Good This Time
• Gods Of War
• Angels (Can’t Help You Now)
• Bringin’ On the Heartbreak
• Switch 625
• Too Late for Love
• When Love & Hate Collide
• Kings Of the World
The vinyl and Atmos versions will also feature an exclusive bonus track:
• Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad