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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: Mirrorball - Live & More

Disc 1

1. Rock! Rock! ('Til You Drop) (Live)

2. Rocket (Live)

3. Animal (Live)

4. C'mon C'mon (Live)

5. Make Love Like A Man (Live)

6. Too Late For Love (Live)

7. Foolin' (Live)

8. Nine Lives (Live)

9. Love Bites (Live)

10. Rock On (Live)

Disc 2

1. Two Steps Behind (Live)

2. Bringin' On The Heartbreak (Live)

3. Switch 625 (Live)

4. Hysteria (Live)

5. Armageddon It (Live)

6. Photograph (Live)

7. Pour Some Sugar On Me (Live)

8. Rock Of Ages (Live)

9. Let's Get Rocked (Live)

10. Action (Live)

11. Bad Actress (Live)

12. Undefeated

13. Kings Of The World

14. It's All About Believin'

Disc 3
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

4. Slang

5. Foolin'

10. Too Late For Love

12. Work It Out

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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never mind, i got deadpool kills the marvel universe
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Oh......
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haohmaru of the wind on youtube
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I'm 32
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Ain't that the trueth... Great band to listen to either thru good or bad times.. Seen them bunch of times.. My buddy's kid sings the songs at concerts and he's only 10
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Def leppard got me through many relationship s . .good and bad...keep on rocking..
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KICK A**!!!!!.
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bdann208
Sister used to beat me up stealing her Pyro mania album. But I still rock to them at the age of 45 thanks sis
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Def Leppard has postponed the remaining dates on their Winter 2016 tour due to lead singer Joe Elliott's serious throat infection. All dates will be rescheduled and tickets will be honored on those dates.
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wheres now ? wheres paper sun ?
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Def Leppard had one of the best rock albums of the rock comeback of '83- '84 with Pyromania. Along with Van Halens 1984, ZZ Tops Eliminator and the Scorpions Blackout. It was a great time for Rockers.
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Mirror Mirror is my personal favorite Def Leppard song
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pantera sounds nice sometimes. planet caravan and this love.
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the sleep by pantera, and medicine man by pantera
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bighook24
Love the video for this tune, Def Leppard will always be one of my all time favorite rock bands.
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arrival by marty friedman is now on pandora
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band*
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Im in my early teens and I love this baned
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Foolin is a great sing to jam
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jimmy bain is dead
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❤❤❤❤❤
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cd *
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Good song
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live after death now on pandora
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1990
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Dance your a** off,rock your a** off.!!��
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Grow up rocking to Def Leppard those were the days.....
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On this date January 20th in 1983 Def Leppard released their greatest creation.... P y r o m a n i a . Hard to believe it's been 33 years since it's release. The production, musicianship and songwriting is still unsurpassed. One for the ages. If you're gonna be a bear be a grizzly.
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I missed def lep twice
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I seen Def Leppard in concert when I was 8 years old. There are one of my all time favorite rock groups.
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starscream has his own band
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the 80s never gets old
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I love this song and this band..THANK! GOD! for Pandora right sey HELL! YEAGH!.. if you feel me!!!
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Is it to late at the age of 47 and I'm still living the 80s, can't let it go with the juke they play today? Tell is it to late for me? Ice Man
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I have to be a man, Nakoruru has to be a woman. stand put love into motion.
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I'd like to cover stagefright with my band
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I might go to guitar college
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Such a great band
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Love the band and song so much.
Been a fan since the summer of 1983.
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What kind of women has a heart of stone???
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Amazing band
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I remember being 7 and rocking out to pour some sugar, animal , love bites, and rocket. ..i hafnt heard that track in 15 years n i got chills stills....am a z i n g . ..they just waited too long fpr adrenalize.. . s i m p l e as that...ive heard interviews with joe saying nirvana and grunge were there downfall...w a s inevitable, but at least good music is always respected. ..as def lep get lots of airplay deservingly so, waaf etc....s**t i wamted to go to mohegian n see em, but its friggen $200 starting for
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Wing Commander Steve"Steami n ' , D r e a m y , S n i k k e r , M a y h e m , P . T . W " Clark,A.H.D. - Guitars.
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80's bands so great ,I feel bad for my kids with the s**t that's put out now ....
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A Swan Song. Memories are treasures, fragrant and sweet, to cherish, to hold, forever to keep.
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Tomorrow January 8 will mark the 25th anniversary of the passing of Stephen Maynard Clark. Here's to you "White Lightning /The Riffmaster". Incredible music and "shape throwing "with your Les Paul hung down to your knees is what you'll be remembered for. Gone but never forgotten! SMC.
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@darkknight If it makes you feel better, I've heard way worse...
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~I don't want your photograph ooh I just wanna touch you~
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Gross Brenda... Just plain gross. I've got this mental image now that will inevitably force me to vomit randomly for the next 24 hours. Thanks, Brenda.
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Great band. The British do everything better. Just telling it like it is...
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