Bringin' On the Heartbreak

"Bringin' On the Heartbreak" is a ballad originally recorded by British hard rock band Def Leppard. It was the second single from their 1981 album High 'n' Dry. The song was written by three of the band's members: Steve Clark, Pete Willis, and Joe Elliott.

"Bringin' On the Heartbreak"
Def Leppard Bringin' on the Heartbreak single cover.jpg
Single by Def Leppard
from the album High 'n' Dry
B-side"Me and My Wine"
Released13 November 1981 (U.S.)
22 January 1982 (UK)
FormatVinyl single
RecordedBattery Studios, North London; Spring, 1981
Producer(s)Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Def Leppard singles chronology
"Let It Go"
"Bringin' On the Heartbreak"
"Bringin' On the Heartbreak (Remix)"
Single by Def Leppard
from the album High 'n' Dry
B-side"Me and My Wine (remix)"
ReleasedMay 1984
FormatVinyl single
RecordedBattery Studios, North London; 1981 (original)
February 1984 (remix version)
Producer(s)Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Def Leppard singles chronology
"Too Late For Love"
"Bringin' On the Heartbreak (Remix)"

Production and compositionEdit

Def Leppard recorded the song for their second album, High 'n' Dry. Its working title had been "A Certain Heartache", and the track (along with the others on the album) was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Lange said he thought the band was intending to make the song's verse "jangley" and "a kind of 'Stairway to Heaven' thing; Steve [Clark] likes that long wrangled guitar jangle."[citation needed] Cliff Burnstein, the manager of Def Leppard and an A&R representative for Mercury Records, later said that Peter Willis was embarrassed to play the song for him because it was a ballad. Burnstein originally thought it only had potential to be a hit single if it was recorded by an artist such as Bonnie Tyler.[citation needed]

At the beginning of the song, after the guitar harmony part, a faint voice is audible. It says "Out of tune ones eh? Pete's ones...". This is studio chatter talking about the fact that to achieve the guitar tone in the verses, guitarists Pete Willis and Steve Clark de-tuned their guitars from each other.[citation needed] According to the audio clip, Willis was the one to de-tune his guitar.

High 'n' Dry was released in the U.S. in summer 1981. "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" was commercially released in the U.S. on 13 November, with "Me and My Wine" (a non-album track) and "You Got Me Runnin'" included as B-sides. It did not appear on the U.S. charts, but its music video was picked up by the recently launched television channel MTV and received heavy rotation.[1] The popularity of the video and the exposure the band received caused a resurgence in sales of High 'n' Dry, which subsequently sold over two million copies. It was released in Mexico as "Llevarlo en la Desilusión" with "Yo y mi Vino" ("Me and My Wine"), featuring the cover art from the single "Too Late for Love".

High 'n' Dry was re-issued in May 1984 with two new tracks, one of which was a synthesizer-heavy remix of "Bringin' On the Heartbreak". Featuring Phil Collen on guitar, the remix was released as a single with a newly filmed video and peaked at 61 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The original version of the song was later included on three of their compilation albums: Vault: Def Leppard Greatest Hits (1980–1995) (1995) Best of Def Leppard (2004) and Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection (2005). The latter compilation ends with the instrumental "Switch 625", as it does in High 'n' Dry. Steve Huey of Allmusic has characterised the song as an "unabashedly dramatic rock ballad."[2]

Music videoEdit

The first music video was directed by Doug Smith, and is a live recording of Def Leppard performing the song at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool, England on 22 July 1981. It was originally filmed (along with clips for "Let It Go" and "High 'n' Dry") as part of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert television series on the U.S. network ABC.[3] The second music video, directed by David Mallet, was shot in February 1984 in Jacob's Biscuit Factory in Lake, Dublin, Ireland.[4] The original version of the second video featuring the remix is only available on the VHS and LaserDisc versions of the band's video compilation release Historia. DVD reissues of Historia, and the band's subsequent video compilations Best of the Videos and Rock of Ages - The DVD Collection replace the remix soundtrack with the original High 'n' Dry LP recording.

Track listingEdit

7" Mercury / 818 779-7 (U.S.)
  1. "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" (remix)
  2. "Me & My Wine" (remix)


Chart (1984-85) Peak position
US Billboard Hot 100 1 61[citation needed]

1 Remix.

Mariah Carey versionEdit

"Bringin' On the Heartbreak"
US CD single cover
Single by Mariah Carey
from the album Charmbracelet
B-side"Miss You"
Released25 November 2003
FormatCD single
LabelIsland Def Jam
  • Steve Clark
  • Pete Willis
  • Joe Elliott
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"I Know What You Want"
"Bringin' On the Heartbreak"
"U Make Me Wanna"

Background and compositionEdit

In 2002, the song was covered by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey for her album Charmbracelet (2002). The reaction from Def Leppard's Joe Elliott was positive.[6]

Mariah Carey co-produced her cover of the song with Randy Jackson. Carey cited the original song as one of her favorites when she was growing up, and she said that she first came up with the idea of covering it when listening to Def Leppard's album Vault during the album photo shoot for Charmbracelet—"I just put on the music and started listening to it, and I said, 'You know what? I could do this my own way'," she said.[7] The song was produced in a rock ballad style and features guitar-playing by Rob Bacon.[8] (The single version also featured a newly recorded solo and extra guitar overdubs performed by Dave Navarro.) One of Carey's few songs with a heavy rock influence, it was released as the album's third single in 2003.

Critical receptionEdit

The cover was met with positive reviews from a variety of critics.[9] Rolling Stone described the song as "the catchiest cut [on Charmbracelet]...a fascinatingly overblown orchestral remake."[10] Phil Collen praised Carey's cover as a "genuine version of our song"[11] and defended it from Def Leppard's more critical fans: "The fans really get it wrong sometimes. She's on our side and it's an honour she's done it. Really, that's the only way we're getting played."[12] Carey's version was number 24 on VH1's "Least Metal Moments"[13]—in a segment subtitled "Bringin' On the Headache"—because many metal fans and musicians did not like the remake. At the same time, Mark Edward Nero of ranked it at number 2 on his list of "Top 5 R&B/Pop Crossover Cover Songs" and said Carey's version is "superior to the original."[5] Asked about Carey's cover version, Joe Elliott told the Las Vegas Sun, "I think she's done a very good job. It's faithful to the arrangement, but not done like a rock song." Referring to Carey's whistle register vocals at the end, Elliott commented that her "astonishing vocal gymnastics toward the end...make Minnie Riperton sound like Tom Waits." Billboard was favorable by naming it "set's crowning glory."[14] The New York Times also reviewed this song favorably: "Another high point is her version of the Def Leppard song Bringin' On the Heartbreak. It starts out as a piano-driven slow jam; then the chorus is interrupted by a dramatic chord progression, and soon Ms. Carey's precise, fluttery voice is turning a power ballad into something more delicate."[15] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine called this cover "daring" and praised its "surprising amount of live instrumentation, which contributes to an overall sense of warmth that's been otherwise missing from Carey's recent work."[16] Rich Juzwiak of Stylus called Mariah's version of the song "epic." In the exception of AllMusic, who gave mixed reviews, stated that its best song on album but also noting that it "isn't even covered all that well."[17]

Chart performanceEdit

Similar to the commercial performance of "Boy (I Need You)", the album's second single, "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" failed to enter the US Billboard Hot 100,[18] or the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart because it was only an airplay single. It reached the top 40 in Switzerland but peaked outside the top 40 in Austria. Junior Vasquez, Mike Rizzo and Ruanne produced club remixes of the song, which received a wider release on promotional singles than commercial singles and received spins in nightclubs worldwide—the song reached the top five on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play.[18][19]


The song's video, set to the RJ Jammen remix, was shot in Los Angeles on 8 March 2003 by director Sanaa Hamri, and features cameo appearances by Randy Jackson, Dave Navarro, Evan Marriott (as a helicopter pilot/bodyguard) and model Damon Willis. The single's video is based on the 1979 film The Rose, which featured a rock star (played by Bette Midler) who struggles to find happiness as she goes from her rough "rock and roll" lifestyle to her final high-profile concert.[20][21]

On 7 December 2002, Carey performed the song along with "Through the Rain" and "My All" in front of a crowd of 50,000 people, at the closing concert of the Mexican Teletón, which took place in the country's Azteca Stadium. Announced as the concert's "star", she performed in a black dress. While with "Through the Rain" and "My All" she did not attract the audience, the performance of "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" was seen as the highlight of her act.[22]

Track listingEdit

CD Single
  1. "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" – 4:13
  2. "Miss You (feat. Jadakiss)" – 5:09
  3. "Bringin' On the Heartbreak (Live)" – 4:52
  4. "Bringin' On the Heartbreak (Video)"



Chart (2003) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[23] 55
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[24] 11
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[25] 40
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[26] 28
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[27] 5

Other versionsEdit

In 2018, singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson included his cover of "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" on Pyromattia. The album is composed entirely of Def Leppard covers and features songs from High 'N' Dry, Pyromania, Hysteria, and Euphoria. [28]


  1. ^ Daniel Bukszpan, Ronnie James Dio (2003) The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal
  2. ^ "High 'N' Dry review". allmusic. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  3. ^ "Def Video 1 - High 'N' Dirty 1981 Era". Def Leppard Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Def Video 2 - Pyromania 1983/High 'N' Dirty 1984 Era". Def Leppard Archived from the original on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  5. ^ a b Nero, Mark Edward. "Best R&B Versions of Rock/Pop Songs". Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  6. ^ Patterson, Spencer. "Leppard's spots". Las Vegas Sun. 6 December 2002 (weekend edition: 8 December 2002). Retrieved 26 January 2006.
  7. ^ LAUNCH Radio Networks. "Mariah Carey Says She Loves Def Leppard Cover"[permanent dead link]. LAUNCHcast. 30 June 2003. Retrieved 26 January 2006.
  8. ^ Armstrong, Mark and Morden, Darryl. "Mariah Carey Covers Def Leppard On New Album"[permanent dead link]. LAUNCHcast. 24 October 2002. Retrieved 26 January 2006.[dead link]
  9. ^ Friedman, Roger (15 March 2004). "Mariah's Rich Leppard, Barbra's New Job". Fox News. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  10. ^ Walters, Barry. Mariah Carey — Charmbracelet. Rolling Stone. 19 November 2002 (date of publication: 12 December 2002). RS 911. Retrieved 26 January 2006.
  11. ^ "We don't Carey...she'll have to book". Mariah Daily. 31 August 2003. Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  12. ^ "Mariah's A Knock Out In Russia". Mariah Daily. 30 September 2003. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  13. ^ "40 Least Metal Moments (40-21)". The Greatest. VH1. Archived from the original on 22 February 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  14. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  15. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (1 December 2002). "MUSIC; When You Fall, You Get Back Up". The New York Times.
  16. ^ "Mariah Carey: Charmbracelet | Album Review | Slant Magazine". Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Charmbracelet - Mariah Carey | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Mariah Carey: Artist Chart History — Singles". Billboard. Retrieved 26 January 2006.
  19. ^ "Mariah Carey — Bringin' On The Heartbreak". Retrieved 26 January 2006.
  20. ^ Johnson Jr., Billy and Holland, Margy. "Mariah Carey Video Features 'Joe Millionaire,' Dave Navarro" Archived 9 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine. LAUNCHcast. 18 March 2003. Retrieved 26 January 2006.
  21. ^ Staff report. "For The Record: Quick News On Mariah Carey, Russell Simmons And George W. Bush, Da Brat, Meshuggah, Eels & More". 12 March 2003. Retrieved 26 January 2006.
  22. ^ García Navarro, Juan Carlos (8 December 2002). "Logran una meta más con el Teletón 2002". (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  23. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Bringin' On The Heartbreak" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  24. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Bringin' On The Heartbreak" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  25. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Bringin' On The Heartbreak" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  26. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Bringin' On The Heartbreak". Swiss Singles Chart.
  27. ^ "Mariah Carey Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.
  28. ^ Reesman, Bryan. "Matt Nathanson Channels His Inner-Def Leppard Fanboy for 'Pyromattia' EP: Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved 8 June 2018.

External linksEdit