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Squeeze a little more: Def Leppard the latest to call for a do-over

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DEF LEPPARD
AND POISON

WITH LITA FORD

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Allstate Arena, 6920 North Mannheim Rd., Rosemont

Tickets: $41-$109

Info: (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com

Copy cats: Def Leppard, others re-do old hits

Updated: August 20, 2012 11:18AM



You can go to Thursday’s Def Leppard concert to hear the band’s old hits, or you could wait for the new album ... of the old hits.

The British pop-metal band recently re-recorded two of its biggest songs, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Rock of Ages,” note for note from the 25-year-old originals. Why? Guitarist Vivian Campbell doesn’t mind admitting the band was “shamelessly exploiting the connection” to this summer’s movie adaptation of Broadway’s “Rock of Ages,” a jukebox musical based on ’80s hard rock.

Now Def Leppard has decided to go all the way. The band plans to re-record its entire catalog. Again the question: Why? The answer is lengthy and legalistic. Suffice to say, the band doesn’t earn what it thinks it should from digital sales (which is nothing: Def Leppard is not yet available on iTunes) or licensing because its record label, Universal Music Group, controls the original recordings. But if the band members re-cut the songs themselves, they can license and sell those tracks — and keep all the money.

And when “Photograph” is playing underneath a TV commercial, who’s really going to notice the difference?

Def Leppard is just the latest in a rash of musical self-forgeries. Other bands who have Xeroxed some or all of their greatest hits include Aerosmith (“Sweet Emotion” re-cut for a commercial), Styx (the collection “Regeneration, Vol. 1”), Wang Chung (four old tracks on the EP “Abducted by the ’80s”), Alice Cooper (the “Alice Does Alice” EP), Kiss (“Kiss Klassics”), Twisted Sister (re-recorded its “Stay Hungry” album as “Still Hungry”), country legend Gene Watson (“Best of the Best”) and Squeeze (“Spot the Difference”).

Here are some other examples of show-business do-overs:

On stage

This season, Brian Dennehy, who starred as the traveling salesman Hickey in a 1990 production of “The Iceman Cometh” directed by Robert Falls at the Goodman Theatre, returned more than 20 years later to Falls’ revival of the play, but this time he played the role of the somewhat older anarchist, Larry Slade.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Dramatists’ premiere of Keith Huff’s play “A Steady Rain,” which debuted here in 2007 with local actors Randy Steinmeyer and Peter DeFaria playing two Chicago cops, went on to become a box-office hit on Broadway in 2009 with two film stars (Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman). Now it’s been remounted at Chicago Dramatists (and runs through Sept. 2) with the original actors reprising their roles and the original director, Russ Tutterow, again directing.
— Hedy Weiss

On the small screen

TV is ripe reboot territory. “Battlestar Galactica” and “Star Trek” are the gold standard of television do-overs, and “Hawaii Five-O” version 2.0 is a hit as well. It’s not a dream that J.R., Sue Ellen and Bobby Ewing star alongside their children in the credible remake of “Dallas,” while other hits of the last 30 years return to the networks as conceptual rather than literal takes, including “90210,” “Dragnet,” “Bionic Woman,” “Knight Rider,” “Fantasy Island” and “Kojak.” Fans don’t always beg for more from Hollywood’s attic: “Melrose Place,” “Love Boat: The Next Wave” and, more recently, the disastrous “Charlie’s Angels” didn’t rekindle viewers’ romantic vision — and quickly headed into the vault. — Lori Rackl and Darel Jevens

On the big screen

As far back as the silent era, Hollywood has gone into rewind mode, with studios remaking earlier hits and then revisiting pre-sound titles after the talkies took over. Thus the two-reeler “Ben-Hur” (1907) begat the blockbuster “Ben-Hur” (1925) and then decades later led to Charlton Heston’s wild chariot ride in “Ben-Hur” (1959). More recently, Hollywood has Americanized foreign franchises (Sweden’s “The Girl With ....” trilogy) and cannibalized its own celluloid legacy, with Gus Van Sant making a shot-by-shot remake of Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960) and Columbia Pictures going to the webby well for “The Amazing Spider-Man” a mere decade after Sam Raimi’s trilogy first unspooled. — Laura Emerick

On the page

Margaret Mitchell’s iconic romance novel Gone With the Wind (1936) told the story of a spoiled Scarlett O’Hara; the recast Wind Done Gone (2001) by Alice Randall offered up the different experience of Cynara, Scarlett’s slave on her Clayton County plantation. For ’tween girls in the ’80s, Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High series launched a 1,000 lunchroom book groups, more than “Reading Is Fundamental” ever did. The blonde California twins — one good, one bad — received makeovers, updated technology and traded in that red Fiat Spider for a Jeep in 2008.
— Meg Moore



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