This section looks at the 'Armageddon It' UK single release. A fourth hit single for the band in the UK following on from the 1987 singles 'Animal', 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' and 'Hysteria'.
"Nobody recalls who came up with the title."
Def Leppard released their classic Armageddon It single on this day in 1988 in the UK.
The fourth single to be released from the 'Hysteria' album in their homeland.
It was released on 28th March 1988 reaching Number 20 and spent five weeks on the UK chart.
Four of those weeks were spent inside the Top 40.
It entered at Number 28 before rising to its peak position of 20 in the second week.
The fourth consecutive Top 20 or Top 30 single from the 'Hysteria' album in the UK.
Two more would follow by early 1989.
The song made it's live debut in Holland on 24th June 1987 in Tilburg, Holland. It was also performed live in a rehearsal studio for Japanese TV ahead of the main 'Hysteria' world tour in August.
The single was released on 7", 12", cassette, 7" picture bag, Picture Disc CD and as a Limited Edition 12" Collectors box. The B-Sides featured a new song 'Ring Of Fire' which had been recorded in February 1987.
The 12" featured an extended version of the single titled 'Armageddon It (The Nuclear Mix)' which lasted 7:43 minutes. The 7" was listed as 'Armageddon It (The Atomic Mix)' but was actually the same 5:22 album version. It is believed the 'Atomic' and 'Nuclear' titles were used to tie in with the lyrics as a joke or to signify that the 12" had an extended mix on it.
The Picture Disc CD single was the band's first and only 'picture disc' single on CD. Basically using the middle of the single cover artwork. CD's at the time were usually just silver with only titles on them. Due to the 'Animal' CD single being very limited and not having released 'PSSOM' on CD in the UK, these two songs were included on the four track disc alongside 'Ring Of Fire'.
The 7" poster bag sleeve opened out to reveal a band poster with single logo on one side and on the other side a live shot from a US In The Round show.
A Collector's Edition 12" box was also released featuring the regular 12" single and a few extras. A large one sided poster with an 'Armageddon It Is Here' advert on it plus 5 small postcards with black and white band promo shots and an 'Armageddon It' logo enamel badge. This 12" version was released a week after the main single on 5th April and was limited to just 5,000 numbered copies.
A 7" promo featured a 4:40 minute edit of the song which fades out just before the final chorus.
Read more about the song below.
Rick Savage - MusicRadar 2017 Interview Quotes
“There are little things on this like, ‘C’mon Steve!’ that really capture people’s imaginations. When we sat down to write this, it was originally a chord sequence that I came up with, very basic and simplistic in the verse. And it developed into something more sleazy and swaggery, in the way that some of the great Rolling Stones songs came out – not that we were trying to copy them, but we just wanted a bit of that essence.
“Steve [Clark, guitars] had a separate idea for the chorus and we started filling it all out with massive four or five part harmonies. We just needed any old lyric to get the melody across - 'Gimme all your loving' was used just for the demoes to get it all worked out. We planned to change the lyrics because of the famous ZZ Top song, but we loved the sound of it so much and couldn’t come up with anything better so we stuck with it!”
Phil Collen - 2004 Best Of Sleeve Quote
"The original version was something that Joe, Sav, Steve, Mutt and myself came up with in Dublin. A very fun song Indeed - kinda like T. Rex meeting Eddie Cochran. With huge backing vocals."
Joe Elliott - 2004 Best Of Sleeve Quote
"Nobody recalls who came up with the title. But I’m not to blame!. The lyric on the chorus was something that we sang to fill in the spaces. When the time came to change it. We’d left it too long. We tried a billion other lyrics but nothing else fitted. Sav mentioned it was similar to a ZZ Top song. But by then nobody cared."
Def Leppard Armageddon It - Band Quotes
Phil Collen - "Tongue in cheek. T. Rex meets Eddie Cochran with backing vocals."
Phil Collen - "A fun song to do live. It's kind of like T. Rex's "Bang a Gong." A good party song. It never gets boring to play and it translates well to acoustic."
Phil Collen - MusicRadar 2012 Interview Quotes
“Initially, this was Rick Savage's thing. It kind of went like ‘Dah-dah-dah-dahhh,’ and being that we’re all big T Rex fans, we said, ‘Let’s make it sexier, like Bang A Gong,’ you know? So we put that vibe to it.
“It was a fun song to record. We had a guide vocal going, and we were doing the T Rex groove – it was all very easy to put things on top. We never really did gratuitous recording; anything that we laid down was supposed to be there. No matter what we did, we never got in the way of the melody.
“There’s some guitar stuff, some harmonics, that kind of sounds like bells. Maybe that’s for the headphone freaks, but they work as hooks. Another one of the genius things about Mutt is his way with subliminal hooks: You hear one thing, and you might not even realize what you’re hearing, and before you know it, you’re hearing something else – and then the whole song opens up.”
Joe Elliott - "Armageddon It was the last one. Mutt and I were only ones in the studio. And as soon as I finished doing the last bit of that song, it wasn't so much a feeling of anti-climax as it was an inner sense of being totally relieved. I didn't jump up and down."
"We didn't hug each other and drink tons of champagne. It was more like 'Oh we're finished, man. This is great.' We shook hands, sat down, looked at each other and we both let out a big sigh."
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