Def Leppard rocking with reissues, tour, CMT Awards

Wed May 6, 2009 1:07am EDT
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By David J. Prince

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Def Leppard, the pop metal band that debuted in 1980 and which has sold more than 65 million albums worldwide, will release deluxe editions of two of its classic albums -- 1983's "Pyromania" and 1992's "Adrenalize" -- on June 23.

Both double-disc sets will arrive via Bludgeon Riffola/Island/UMe and feature previously unreleased material including B sides, demo versions and live recordings.

"'Adrenalize' was No. 1 the week of the L.A. riots," Leppard guitarist Phil Collen recalled in an interview with "I know it was the '90s, but it really was the end of the '80s. You had this whole new genre -- Nirvana and the grunge thing -- which I loved when it really shook everything up. But we got lumped into the '80s hair metal bands.

"When 'Pyromania' came out it was the complete opposite," Collen said. "MTV embraced it. Everyone else embraced it. They liked the fact that this young rock band, instead of looking like Black Sabbath, we looked more like Duran Duran. It really, really crossed over."

The band, now an arena rock institution, is set to embark on a 40-city summer tour with Poison and Cheap Trick starting on June 23 in Camden, New Jersey.

Before the tour, Def Leppard will make a live television appearance June 16 on the "CMT Music Awards." The band made the first-ballot nominations in three CMT categories. Final nominations will be announced May 19.

Def Leppard's most recent album, 2008's "Songs From the Sparkle Lounge," debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 5, the group's highest chart spot since 1992, when "Adrenalize" hit the top of the charts in the U.S. and U.K. right out of the box.