Def Leppard’s Phil Collen shares the inspiration behind “Just Like 73”

Def Leppard recently released the new single “Just Like 73,” and it turns out it was a song they’ve been hanging onto for a while.

Guitarist Phil Collen tells ABC Audio the tune is one he demoed while they were recording their 2022 album, Diamond Star Halos. He notes it all started with “the classic Mike Leander drum sound,” referring to the producer known for working with Gary Glitter on his hits “Rock and Roll Part 1” and “Rock and Roll Part 2.” 

Collen says “Just Like 73″ was inspired by “big hits from the early ’70s” that featured chants like the one featured in the song.

“The backing vocals, we just shout in tune, we don’t sing,” Collen notes. “There’s a lot of bands who do very nice harmonies, which we can do, but it’s more the Sex Pistols kind of school of shouting the stuff out.”

He says the song also has a bit of T-Rex’s Marc Bolan, with the lyrics inspired by David Bowie, who was a huge influence for Collen growing up.

“The three albums by Bowie, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, my favorites,” he says, noting that music “shaped where I was going musically.”

An added bonus on “Just Like 73” is a guitar solo by Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, who used to cover Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” growing up. Collen says Morello heard the demo, loved the song and wanted to be on it.

“It’s been great. And, you know, I love Tom Morello, love Rage Against the Machine,” he says. “So that was really cool.” 

Def Leppard will hit the road with Journey this summer, starting July 6 in St. Louis. A complete list of dates can be found at defleppard.com.

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