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Def Leppard

In many ways, Def Leppard were the definitive hard rock band of the '80s. There were many bands that rocked harder (and were more dangerous) than the Sheffield-based quintet, but few others captured the spirit of the times quite as well. Emerging in the late '70s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Def Leppard actually owed more to the glam rock and metal of the early '70s, as their sound was equal parts T. Rex, Mott the Hoople, Queen, and Led Zeppelin. By toning down their heavy riffs and emphasizing melody, Def Leppard were poised for crossover success by the time of 1983's Pyromania, and skillfully used the fledgling MTV network to their advantage. The musicians were already blessed with photogenic good looks, but they also crafted a series of innovative, exciting videos that made them into stars. They intended a quick follow-up to Pyromania, but were derailed when their drummer lost an arm in a car accident, the first of many problems that plagued the group's career. They managed to pull through such tragedies, and even expanded their large audience with 1987's blockbuster Hysteria. As the '90s began, mainstream hard rock shifted away from their signature pop-metal and toward edgier, louder bands, yet they maintained a sizable audience into the late '90s and were one of only a handful of '80s metal groups to survive the decade more or less intact.

Def Leppard had their origins in a Sheffield-based group that teenagers Rick Savage (bass) and Pete Willis (guitar) formed in 1977. Vocalist Joe Elliott, a fanatical follower of Mott the Hoople and T. Rex, joined the band several months later, bringing the name Deaf Leopard with him. After a spelling change, the trio, augmented by a now-forgotten drummer, began playing local Sheffield pubs, and within a year the band had added guitarist Steve Clark to the lineup, as well as a new drummer. Later in 1978, they recorded their debut EP, Getcha Rocks Off, and released it on their own label, Bludgeon Riffola. The EP became a word-of-mouth success, earning airplay on the BBC. The group members were still in their teens.

Following the release of Getcha Rocks Off, Rick Allen was added as the band's permanent drummer, and Def Leppard quickly became the subject of the British music weeklies. They soon signed with AC/DC's manager Peter Mensch, who helped them secure a contract with Mercury Records. On Through the Night, the band's full-length debut, was released in 1980 and instantly became a hit in the U.K., also earning significant airplay in the U.S., where it reached number 51 on the charts. Over the course of the year, Def Leppard relentlessly toured Britain and America, playing their own shows while also opening concerts for Ozzy Osbourne, Sammy Hagar, and Judas Priest. High 'n' Dry followed in 1981 and became the group's first platinum album in the U.S., thanks to MTV's strong rotation of "Bringin' on the Heartbreak." MTV would be vital to the band's success in the '80s.

As the band recorded the follow-up to High 'n' Dry with producer Mutt Lange, Pete Willis was fired from the band for alcoholism, and Phil Collen, a former guitarist for Girl, was hired to replace him. The resulting album, 1983's Pyromania, became an unexpected blockbuster, due not only to Def Leppard's skillful, melodic metal, but also to MTV's relentless airing of "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages." Pyromania went on to sell ten-million copies, establishing Def Leppard as one of the most popular bands in the world. Despite their success, they were about to enter a trying time in their career. Following an extensive international tour, the group reentered the studio to record the follow-up, but producer Lange was unavailable, so they began sessions with Jim Steinman, the man responsible for Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. The pairing turned out to be ill-advised, so the bandmembers turned to their former engineer, Nigel Green. One month into recording, Allen lost his left arm in a New Year's Eve car accident. The arm was re-attached, but it had to be amputated once an infection set in.

Def Leppard's future looked cloudy without a drummer, but by the spring of 1985 -- just a few months after his accident -- Allen began learning to play a custom-made electronic kit assembled for him by Simmons. The band soon resumed recording, and within a few months Lange was back on board; having judged all the existing tapes inferior, he ordered the band to begin work all over again. Recording sessions continued throughout 1986, and that summer, the group returned to the stage for the European Monsters of Rock tour. Def Leppard finally completed their fourth album, now titled Hysteria, early in 1987. The record was released that spring to lukewarm reviews, with many critics claiming that the album compromised Leppard's metal roots for sweet pop flourishes. Accordingly, Hysteria was slow out of the starting gates -- "Women," the first single, failed really take hold -- but the release of "Animal" helped the album gather steam. The song became Def Leppard's first Top 40 hit in the U.K., but more importantly, it launched a string of six straight Top 20 hits in the U.S., which also included "Hysteria," "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Love Bites," "Armageddon It," and "Rocket," the latter of which arrived in 1989, a full two years after the release of Hysteria. During those two years, Def Leppard's presence was unavoidable -- they were the kings of high school metal, ruling the pop charts and MTV, and teenagers and bands alike replicated their teased hair and ripped jeans, even when the grimy hard rock of Guns N' Roses took hold in 1988.

Hysteria proved to be the peak of Leppard's popularity, yet their follow-up remained eagerly awaited in the early '90s, as the band took a break from the road and set to work on a new record. During the recording process, however, Steve Clark died from an overdose of alcohol and drugs. Clark had historically battled alcohol, and following the Hysteria heyday, his bandmates forced him to take a sabbatical. Although he did enter rehab, Clark's habits continued, and his abuse was so crippling that Collen began recording the majority of the band's guitar leads. Following Clark's death, Def Leppard resolved to finish their forthcoming album as a quartet, releasing Adrenalize in the spring of 1992. Adrenalize was greeted with mixed reviews, and even though the album debuted at number one and contained several successful singles, including the Top 20 hits "Let's Get Rocked" and "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad," the record was a commercial disappointment in the wake of Pyromania and Hysteria. After its release, the group added former Whitesnake guitarist Vivian Campbell to the lineup, thus resuming Def Leppard's two-guitar attack.

In 1993, Def Leppard released the rarities collection Retro Active, which yielded another Top 20 hit with the acoustic ballad "Two Steps Behind." Two years later, the group released the greatest-hits collection Vault while preparing for its sixth album. Slang arrived in the spring of 1996, and while it proved more adventurous than its predecessor, it was greeted with indifference, indicating that Leppard's heyday had indeed passed and they were now simply a very popular cult band. Undaunted, Leppard soldiered on, returning to their patented pop-metal sound for Euphoria, which was released in June of 1999. Despite the success of "Promises," the record failed to produce any additional hits, resulting in a return to adult pop balladry on 2002's X. The two-disc Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection arrived in 2005, followed in 2006 by Yeah!, a strong collection of covers. In 2008, the guys released their ninth studio album, Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, which debuted at number five and was supported by a lucrative summer tour. Material from that tour helped make up the bulk of 2011's Mirror Ball: Live & More, a three-disc live album containing a full concert, three new studio recordings, and DVD footage. Another live album followed two years later: Viva! Hysteria found the band running through their 1987 blockbuster in its entirety on the first disc, and a collection of early, rarely played material on the second. In 2014, the band announced the upcoming release of their 11th studio album and first collection of original music since 2008. The resulting Def Leppard was issued via earMUSIC on October 30, 2015. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Yeah!

1. 20th Century Boy

2. Rock On

3. Hanging On The Telephone

4. Waterloo Sunset

5. Hell Raiser

6. 10538 Overture

7. Street Life

8. Drive-In Saturday

9. Little Bit Of Love

10. Golden Age Of Rock 'n' Roll

11. No Matter What

12. He's Gonna Step On You Again

13. Don't Believe A Word

14. Stay With Me

x

Track List: Best Of

Disc 1

1. Pour Some Sugar On Me

2. Photograph

3. Love Bites

4. Let's Get Rocked

5. Two Steps Behind

6. Animal

8. Rocket

9. When Love & Hate Collide

10. Action

12. Make Love Like A Man

13. Armageddon It

15. Rock Of Ages

16. Hysteria

17. Bringin' On The Heartbreak

Disc 2

2. Waterloo Sunset

4. Slang

5. Foolin'

10. Too Late For Love

12. Work It Out

x

Track List: When Love & Hate Collide (Single)

1. When Love & Hate Collide

x

Track List: Vault: Def Leppard's Greatest Hits

1. Pour Some Sugar On Me

2. Photograph

3. Love Bites

4. Let's Get Rocked

5. Two Steps Behind

6. Animal

7. Foolin'

8. Rocket

9. When Love & Hate Collide

10. Armageddon It

12. Rock Of Ages

13. Hysteria

15. Bringin' On The Heartbreak

x

Track List: Hysteria

2. Rocket

3. Animal

4. Love Bites

5. Pour Some Sugar On Me

6. Armageddon It

10. Hysteria

x

Track List: Pyromania

x

Track List: Let's Go (Single)

1. Let's Go

Comments

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Anyone seeing these guys this summer?
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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jerseyblond0
This is the only way to live
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jerseyblond0
Umm
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I wish they would play the instrumental "Switch" which comes right after this song..best solo by them..
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Photograph, now this is a true Classic... This one's 4 u rwurzbach my friend... ROCK ON EVERYONE
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������������
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Love this song! One of the best songs ever recorded by them! :)
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kelleylinda8 4 0
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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I love rock music from the past...class i c s !
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It's better to burn out than fade away, rock of ages
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Hi, I want (ted) to be somebody...
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I wish you weirdos from the time could leave a "normal" comment. You're an insult to the meaning behind the music. Take your physiology elsewhere or get a life. Some of us just want to hear the song for what it is/was. Really???
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zoewood8
I love pour some sugar on me!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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Def Leppard's just 'ight
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Best rock band! Loved them then and still lovin them now!!!!
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Bang! Bang!
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Hysteria,,, Classic Leppard. Dewight Trent baby this one's 4 u.. I luv u always remember that.... ROCK ON EVERYONE
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sg198080
Everyone has needed someone so bad at least once or twice in their life....it's a given!
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♡♡♡♡♡♡
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browardboy73
THESE GUYS ROCK !!! When i first got the cassette i played foolin and rock of ages OVER N OVER AGAIN , i couldnt get enough .... Still to this day i crank it up when they come on . thats when music was at its best and will NEVER BE BEAT !!!! ROCK ON !!!!
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glostone.nv
I love poison
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My favorite British rockers!
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have seen them twice
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☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
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❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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What a circus this has been. Rock of ages for sure I feel 10 years older than I used to.
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Lmfao
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i would give my left arm to see them
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david.dio5
A Classic Def Leppard "Photograph" Whats Not To Love????? They Rule!!!
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eljocanas360 4 0
Cruising to this song on way up to Bonnie dunes Santa Cruz ca
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fiorella82
Bycicle and barbie with his Kent
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fiorella82
K
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It's better to burn out than fade away, thanks Neil young❤️
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January 20th 1983 the release date for Pyromania .The greatest rock & roll album to ever be produced was unleashed upon the masses. 34 years later and it's still the blueprint for all others to try to emulate. "IF YOU'RE GONNA BE A BEAR, BE A GRIZZLY "
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I really hope that they play this song! This is a classic!
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sg198080
They are coming to my area again along with tesla and poison...I'm so excited!!!!
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Come to Brazil
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redandfred1
going to see them in Vegas in June. hell yah
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Anyone going to the Def Leppard, Poison, and Tesla tour?
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Def Leppard is the best!
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Nice music
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markew673
So excited to see you back in SLC Utah June 19th!
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Def leppard
Report as inappropriate
I'm going to see you in Lincoln Nebraska soon at consert
Show more

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