It may not have the critical or commercial cachet of their landmark titles Pyromania and Hysteria, but Def Leppard's 1980 debut, On Through The Night, effectively captured the band's confident initial strides on a remarkable journey which has led to over 100 million record sales worldwide and their imminent induction into the hallowed Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Though lacking the poise and sophistication of their legend-enshrining later albums, the brash On Through The Night still has plenty to recommend it. Adrenalized, hook-stuffed anthems such as "Wasted," "Rock Brigade," "It Could Be You" and re-recorded highlight "Rocks Off" showed how deftly the band's bristling rock sound embraced the three-minute pop format, while "Hello America" – with its layered, Queen-esque vocal arrangement – and the complex, Rush-style epic "Overture" proved Joe Elliott and Co. were no strangers to ambition. Perhaps most decisively, the cinematic "Sorrow Is A Woman" drew up the blueprint for future smoldering rock ballads.
On Through The Night peaked at No. 15 on the UK Top 40 and swiftly opened doors for Def Leppard, who supported its release with a series of high-profile US opening slots for Pat Travers and Ted Nugent, and a slot at UK's Reading Festival. Even more significantly, critical appraisals such as Rolling Stone's, which proclaimed On Through The Night to be "awfully impressive for a band making its vinyl debut," piqued the interest of AC/DC producer Mutt Lange – the man who would later helm High 'n' Dry, Pyromania and Hysteria, and help mold Def Leppard into the legendary act they are today.