Entertainment & Arts

Def Leppard recording 'forgeries' of old songs

Def Leppard
Image caption Def Leppard are recording new versions of old hits such as Pour Some Sugar on me, and Rock of Ages

Rock band Def Leppard are recording new versions of their old songs to "wrestle" back control of their music.

The band will re-record their existing catalogue with "brand new, exact same versions" of their songs, previously released by Universal Music Group.

The Sheffield musicians told Billboard magazine they were at "loggerheads" with the label over download royalties.

Frontman Joe Elliott, said he was refusing to deal with Universal until "some kind of arrangement" was reached.

The 52-year-old, whose vocals grace hits such as Animal, Pour Some Sugar On Me and Rocket, said the label was "not prepared" to pay "a fair amount of money" when digital copies of the band's songs were sold.

He added that the band's contract with Universal meant the label could not do anything without their permission.

"So we just sent them a letter saying: 'No matter what you want, you are going to get no as an answer, so don't ask'.

"That's the way we've left it," he said.

While some artists re-record their back catalogue as a musical or technical endeavour, it is not uncommon for them to do it for business reasons.

By remaking their own hits, and retaining control of the master tapes, they can be more selective about where their songs end up and how much they charge for them.

Ultimately, it also allows artists to keep a much bigger share of the proceeds.

Prince threatened to re-record the 17 albums he released with Warner Brothers between 1978 and 1996, after failing to obtain ownership of his master recordings.

He split from the label around the time of the release of 1996's Chaos and Disorder, citing issues of control.

A re-release of the single 1999 followed, with a new arrangement, but no further recordings were issued.

Simply Red also re-recorded their entire Warner back catalogue to get around copyright issues.

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