This section looks at the 'Hello America' UK single release. The closest the band came to a Top 40 single until 'Rock Of Ages' in 1983.
"Hello America, hello America"
Def Leppard's classic single Hello America hit Number 45 in the UK singles chart 40 years ago on this day in 1980.
The first and only UK single to be taken from the 'On Through The Night' album was released in February.
The single peaked at Number 45 on this day in 1980.
In all it spent four weeks on the Top 75 chart.
Having entered on 23rd February at 72 it went up to 55 in week 2, 45 in week three before falling to its last position of 52.
The song was a brand new recording. The 1979 'Wasted' single having included the first version which was recorded in September 1979 in London, England at Olympic Studios.
The band performed the song on UK TV show Top Of The Pops but the recording was not broadcast due to the single failing to enter the main Top 40. Only the Top 40 was covered on the show.
Blondie were at Number One on this day with their single 'Atomic'.
Other rock acts on the chart that week included Rainbow (10), AC/DC (29), Iron Maiden (34) and Sammy Hagar (43).
Def Leppard had toured with both AC/DC and Sammy Hagar in late 1979 and would go on to make their New York debut in August 1980 with AC/DC and new singer Brian Johnson.
UK Singles Chart - 8th March 1980
- 01 - Blondie - Atomic
- 02 - Fern Kinney - Together We Are Beautiful
- 03 - Marti Webb - Take That Look Off Your Face
- 04 - Elvis Costello - I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down
- 05 -The Whispers - And The Beat Goes On
- 45 - Def Leppard - Hello America - (Peak Position)
The UK single came in a Limited Edition picture sleeve featuring the iconic original triangular DEF LEPPARD band logo set against a white background.
The sleeve depicted someone waving a Stars 'n' Stripes U.S.A. flag on a boat entering New York harbour with the city skyline visible across the water.
The single was given the catalogue number LEPP! on Vertigo/Phonogram Records with 'Good Morning Freedom' as the B-Side.
This B-Side was only available on this single until the 2018 'Collection Volume 1' box set when it was released on CD for the very first time.
The back cover featured the logo set against a light blue background with Hello America written in red and the B-Side title and other wirting in black.
Later issues of the seven inch came in plain Phonogram red/black sleeves.
Various international versions (Japan, Holland and Italy) had the album artwork adapted with the 'Hello America' and 'Good Morning Freedom' song titles added.
Joe Elliott on Hello America - March 2016 Interview Quotes
"We had never even been to America at that point. I was working in a factory with lots of nuts and bolts and no natural light. But there was a lot of downtime, and I would sit around writing stuff."
With this one, I had seen a TV show the night before - Kojak or Starsky & Hutch, something where they show the tree-lined boulevards of L.A."
You see all these palm trees and you go, "Wow, this is a lot sexier than Sheffield!" That's where that lyric came from - "Well I'm takin' me a trip/I'm going down to Californ-i-a."
"It was, 'Get me out of here!'."
Joe Elliott on Hello America - July 2011 Interview Quotes
“Hello America” was a song written by me when I was working in a windowless factory, just wondering. My view of America was from watching TV, watching Kojak and Hawaii Five-O. The palm trees up and down Sunset Boulevard looked exactly like they did in the movies."
"It was everything we expected it to be. It was bigger and brasher. It’s a great place to try and conquer. It’s what every British musician has tried to achieve since British musicians existed."
"What we read in all the British papers was “Stones Conquer America,” “Zeppelin Conquers America.” You think, “Oh God, it’s the next step for us. We’re gonna go there.” It’s like a Viking warrior stepping onto New York from a boat, you know?"
"That’s how we viewed it, like, “If the Stones can do it, then so can I.”
"Every town in America had at least one, two, or maybe three radio stations that played rock 24 hours a day. In England, we had a rock specialist on for two hours a week. Our kind of music very rarely broke top 40."
"Songs like “Black Betty” and “Hold Your Head Up” and “Radar Love,” you could literally count them on one hand. There were incredibly few rock songs making it out to the airwaves until the ’80s came along."
"So it was a club, an elitist club. It was like jazz. You were cool if you liked rock. The Who used to sell all the alcohol, but they couldn’t sell a record."
"It was an odd situation, and then we got the States, with billboards all over the place the size of a house advertising the new Def Leppard album, or whatever that was out. It was nothing like where we were from. Everything was so much more underground."
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