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White Lightning by Def Leppard

Album: AdrenalizeReleased: 1992
  • This song was written as a dedication to Def Leppard's deceased guitar player Steve Clark after his death in 1991. He was referred to as "White Lightning," as he was always running around the stage, but White lightning can also mean drugs, or your addiction of choice. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jennifer - Moncton, United States
  • In the book MTV Ruled the World - The Early Years of Music Video, guitarist Phil Collen discussed the band's image: "You can say The Police, Madonna, and Michael Jackson, all these really young artists had very definite images. We didn't really consider that we had an image, but I think looking back, we actually did. The Police were kind of from the British punk scene... obviously not really, because they're some of the best pop songs I've ever heard in my life, Sting being just an amazing writer and the band having this great chemistry."

    Further on he concludes: "It wasn't a sweaty, greasy, leather metal, which again, is what we actually came from in England... There was something that was a bit more clean-cut than your average Motorhead fan, but it wasn't as glossy as Duran Duran."
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Comments: 13

Let me add to my last comment. It's cool to have your own interpretation to songs. I do. But, facts are facts. "in America White Lighting is also called Moonshine which is homemade whiskey". True, but do you think this band, from the U.K. would be doing a song about Moonshine? Kyle is right, "White Lightning was Steve Clark's nickname. He was famous for wearing all white during shows, using a pure bright white guitar, and running around the stage like a mad-man. As such, they nicknamed him White Lightning. The lyrics chronicle his problems with drugs and alcohol, which ultimately lead to his death.

The song is one of Def's longest (up there with Rocket) and starts with an eerie, chilling guitar solo by Phil Collen".
David - Sarasota, Fl
Most of you are right, it IS about Steve Clark and his addictions. Yes, they DID call him White Lightning. I've heard the song a million times! I am a huge Steve Clark fan and I know that Steve died during the making of that album. Phil Collen played Steve's guitar parts as well as his own. First of all, if you can't tell the song is about Steve Clark, you need to do your research on the band, really. You probably watched some movie about them and came to your own conclusion. I was 25 when Pyromania came out, and it played on the radio all the time. Ever since, I was hooked on the band. When the album, "Slang" came out, you can hear the difference without Steve. I still listen to Def Leppard, (up to "Slang") but the band isn't the same without Steve. He was definitely talented! During his audition to join Def Leppard, he played "Stairway to Heaven", note for note. Any guitarists out there can tell you THAT solo isn't easy to play.

RIP Steve.
David - Sarasota, Fl
First of all...Salute to Steve Clark...a short lived talented musician! RIP.
White Lightning got 2be my 2nd fav DP track after Hysteria. I just can't enough about this song. The lyrics definitely carries the message of addiction and since it was written w/ Steve in mind, addiction here is the alcohol&drugs. For us fan, we can surely create some other sense out of it...for some it is sex and for others it could be many things...but something we are addicted about. I so wish DP would produce another album like Hysteria. Adrenalize was their last decent album..since then they went pop... :( I miss tracks like White Lightning, Rocket, Woman, ....
Rusputtin - Atlanta, Ga
AGAIN !!! This song is entirely about addictions and Steve's life ! I have been a fan since the days of Pete Willis and this is without doubt one of my favourite songs by the band. Sorry Anonymous, but you have this one completely wrong !
Donna V.B. Ont, Canada
Donna - Smithville, On
If you know anything about Def Leppard you would know this song is ALL about alcohol addiction. 'you wanna stop but you cant say no, you wanna leave but you cant let go. you never laugh about it you just cant live without it. you had enough but you just want more you'll never get what youre looking for'. Steve was such a raging alcoholic he had already nearly died from it.Chris - Weston, United Kingdom
Tesla - who opened for Def Leppard on the Hysteria tour, recorded a tribute to Steve Clark on their Psychotic Supper album, called "Song & Emotion (To Our Friend, Steve 'Steamin' Clark)".Linc - Beaumont, Tx
Ironically - Steve contributed most of the riffs for White Lightening (he was the Riffmaster)and
lyrics and such were spliced in later. How fitting that he would play his own tribute...
Linc - Beaumont, Tx
in America White Lighting is also called Moonshine which is homemade whiskeyGeorge - Waynesburg, Ky
White Lightning was Steve Clark's nickname. He was famous for wearing all white during shows, using a pure bright white guitar, and running around the stage like a mad-man. As such, they nicknamed him White Lightning. The lyrics chronicle his problems with drugs and alcohol, which ultimately lead to his death.

The song is one of Def's longest(up there with Rocket) and starts with an eerie, chilling guitar solo by Phil Collen.
Kyle - Anna, Oh
At first I thought it was about sex, like everything is. But after hearing it a couple times it seemed to be about an addiction, and well I guess sex can be an addiction, but I don't think that's what it means here.Rjh - Marquette, Mi
Great song, i think the name of the song spells the meaning of it for me.
White Lightning is a make of Cider in the UK, im not sure about the US.
But the band are British and i think this is written because of Steve Clarkes addiction to Alcohol.
Also, White Lightning is quite cheap over here and a lot of homeless alocholics purchase this because of that reason :)
Daryl - Stoke, Midlands, England
Sorry, but this song isn't about any addictions.
- Anonnymous, Nashville, TX

SORRY, but your WRONG!
i understand EVERY meaning in that song.
it IS about addiction and Steve Clark's life!
Diana Vishloff - Kimberley, Canada
Sorry, but this song isn't about any addictions.Anonnymous - Nashville, Tx
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