Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages

After writing my article about the comic book adventures of music video mainstay Adam Ant, as well as reading the book “I Want My MTV” (recommended to me by The Retroist’s own Doug McCoy), I have decided to do a new series of short articles that will examine a different music video that affected me in my formative years, each accompanied by my own illustrated take on the video. So let’s kick things off with something that contains more fantasy imagery than a 70’s custom van convention, Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages!

So, what exactly makes this video the prototype of countless heavy metal videos to follow (and also the harbinger of the iconography of metal that persist to this day)? Let’s run down the list: hooded evil figures, medieval weaponry (in this case a sword the length of which extends past “really huge” all the way to “holy hell, that is epically gargantuan!”), chained women, fog enshrouded landscapes and an owl.

As a lifelong fan of Conan (especially due to Buscema’s illustrations in the pages of Marvel’s venerable take on the barbarian) I was set up to love fantasy from an early age. Anything resembling a Frazetta painting or the cover of a Dungeons and Dragons manual would really fire my imagination…then when that sort of imagery began to be set to driving rock music thanks to MTV, I was addicted for life! In other words, rock n’ roll was the chocolate to my sword and sorcery peanut butter…or something like that…anyway, I’m sure you get the picture!

Why not check out the video to Rock of Ages for yourself, and let me know what videos sparked your imagination!

Stay Spooky!

Daniel XIII

Daniel XIII: equally at home at a seance as he is behind the keyboard. Raised on a steady diet of Son of Satan comics, Kaiju flicks and Count Chocula comes the proprietor of The House of Thirteen Doors. What arcane knowledge lurks behind the preternatural eyes of the Ouija Board Kid?

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8 thoughts on “Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages

  1. I think we need to check the lyric sheet on this one. Is he saying ‘Owl Right!’ in the beginning? I mean… it sounds like he is saying ‘Owl Right’… and they are also properly timing the Owl over it… is this as the artist intended? Is the Owl Right? I certainly have never heard of an Owl being wrong. Has Def Leppard seen this video?

  2. Atari Adventure Square says:

    One of the first albums I ever bought with my own money.
    By the time we saw the video on our local music video channel, the song had made the rounds and the first peek of those robed rockers excited us to see how they’d put the visuals to the song.

    Back then, it was more about having fun with the camera than anything else (it seemed).

    Great post series idea, Daniel!

    Keep on rockin’ our minds!

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