Def Leppard

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Def Leppard.

Def Leppard are a British band from Sheffield, England, that emerged in the late 1970s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.



Rick Savage (bass), Pete Willis (guitars) and Tony Kenning (drums) formed the band in 1977 in Sheffield (see 1977 in music). Originally they were known as "Atomic Mass", but when Joe Elliott joined as a vocalist they adopted the name "Deaf Leopard" (which Elliott had thought of in school). The band changed "Deaf Leopard" to "Def Leppard" because they thought "Deaf Leopard" might lead people to believe they were a punk band. They began playing locally and soon added second guitarist Steve Clark, before recording the underground hit "Getcha Rocks Off" for Bludgeon Riffola, their own label. Tony Kenning was replaced in 1978 by Frank Noon, who was himself soon replaced by Rick Allen, who has been the band's drummer ever since. They signed to Mercury Records.

Unlike most of the contemporary NWOBHM groups, Def Leppard attempted to combine hard rock with polished melodic backing vocals. This approach is very much evident on their first international single, "Hello America", which featured the backing vocal style of Queen, with the guitar crunch of Thin Lizzy.

Their major label debut was On through the Night (1980 in music). High 'N' Dry (1981 in music) was their first album to be produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. This album was quite derivative of AC/DC. From this album, the "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" video was one of the first "metal" videos played on MTV video. Phil Collen, former guitarist from the band Girl, replaced Pete Willis who was fired on July 11, 1982 due to excessive alcohol consumption. Pete Willis later recorded with the bands Gogmagog and Roadhouse. This personnel change took place during the recording of their next release, Pyromania (January 20, 1983). Lange was again the producer. Aided by the singles "Photograph", "Rock of Ages", and "Foolin'", Pyromania sold six million copies in 1983 & 84.

The period after the album's success, however, was difficult: on December 31, 1984, Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car crash in which his Corvette veered off the road into a concrete wall. While recovering in the hospital from his accident, Rick was committed to continuing his role as Def Leppard's drummer. He practiced drumming with pillows, and realized that he could use his legs to do some of the percussive work previously done with his arms. He then worked with Simmons to design a custom electronic drum kit.

Leppard's next album, Hysteria, (yet again produced by Lange), was released in August 1987 (see 1987 in music). The first released single, "Women," was not very successful. It was only released in North America, with a video that featured a futuristic comic book world in which women were invented by men as subservient androids with the acronym W.O.M.E.N. standing for "Worship Our Master's Every Need". The first UK single from the album was "Animal".

Album sales were slow until the fourth single, "Pour Some Sugar On Me", became a hit. The album included a total of six Top 20 singles. The seventh and last single to be released from this album was Rocket in early 1989 (see 1989 in music).

Much of Leppard's success in the 1980s is credited to their producer, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who was considered by the band to be its sixth member. To this end, he received a writing credit on every Hysteria track.

After Hysteria 's release, internal problems (including the death of guitarist Steve Clark from a drug and alcohol overdose on January 8, 1991) resulted in a long delay before the follow-up.

Adrenalize was finally released in 1992, the only album recorded by Leppard as a four-piece (Elliott, Collen, Savage, and Allen). The album entered the US charts at number 1. It remained there for five weeks, selling six million copies, and the first single, "Let's Get Rocked," was on MTV's video countdown for a long time. It was also nominated for Best Video of the Year at the 1992 9th MTV Video Music Awards. However, it did not have the longevity of their previous albums, and in retrospect many fans consider it one of their weakest albums.

Retroactive was released in 1993 and is a collection of songs which, although not new, were either rare or never previously released. Some of this album's songs were written as B-sides for Hysteria singles. Retroactive was followed by the release of Vault 1995, Def Leppard's Greatest Hits, which has sold over 7 million copies.

In 1992, guitarist Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard. Vivian Campbell had previously been in Sweet Savage, Dio, Whitesnake, Trinity, Riverdogs, and Shadow King. He collaborated in the songwriting for Slang, which was released in 1996. Next came the album Euphoria in 1999.

X, Def Leppard's tenth album, was released in 2002. The band has stated that they are very satisfied with this album, and that in many ways they wish it had been the follow-up to Hysteria.

A best of CD was released in October 2004. The disc, entitled The Best Of Def Leppard was also available in a limited edition 2CD format. The first disc was basically a reconfigured Vault, while the second disc held more obscure tracks. From this collection a new single was released in the UK, a cover version of the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset."

Due to the fact that The Best Of wasn't released in North America, a double CD North American best of, entitled Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Def Leppard was released 17 May 2005. From this set came the single "No Matter What," a cover of the 1970's Badfinger tune.

It is reported that the songs "Waterloo Sunset" and "No Matter What" will be included on a covers album, due in September 2005 according to guitarist Phil Collen.

Because of the aforementioned 'greatest hits' collections, the album Vault will no longer be available as it is now out-of-print by the band's record label.

Side Projects

Collen and Elliot were both involved in the side project Cybernauts, which released one Japan only live album, which was subsequently released over the internet with additional studio material. Both albums were limited edition and have since been deleted.

Phil Collen also has a side band called Man-Raze (

Vivian Campbell had a side band called Clock.


Studio Albums


  • Retro Active (1993) #6 UK, #9 US
  • Vault: Def Leppard's Greatest Hits 1980-1995 (1995) #3 UK, #15 US
  • The Best of Def Leppard (2004)
  • Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection (2005)

Hit singles

from On through the Night

  • 1980 "Hello America" #45 UK

from High 'N' Dry

  • 1981 "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" US/UK (chart position unknown)

from Pyromania

  • 1983 "Foolin'" #28 US
  • 1983 "Photograph" #12 US
  • 1983 "Rock of Ages" #16 US

from Hysteria

  • 1987 "Women" #80 US
  • 1987 "Animal" #6 UK, #19 US
  • 1987 "Pour Some Sugar on Me" #18 UK, #2 US
  • 1987 "Hysteria" #26 UK, #10 US
  • 1988 "Armageddon It" #20 UK, #3 US
  • 1988 "Love Bites" #11 UK, #1 US
  • 1989 "Rocket" #15 UK, #12 US

from Adrenalize

  • 1992 "Let's Get Rocked" #2 UK, #15 US
  • 1992 "Make Love Like a Man" #12 UK, #36 US
  • 1992 "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" #16 UK, #12 US
  • 1992 "Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)" #34 US
  • 1993 "Heaven Is" #13 UK
  • 1993 "Tonight" #34 UK

from Retro Active

  • 1993 "Two Steps Behind" #32 UK, #12 US
  • 1993 "Miss You in a Heartbeat" #39 US
  • 1994 "Action" #14 UK

from Vault: Def Leppard's Greatest Hits 1980-1995

  • 1995 "When Love and Hate Collide" #2 UK

from Slang

  • 1996 "Slang" #17 UK
  • 1996 "Work It Out" #22 UK
  • 1996 "All I Want Is Everything" #38 UK

from Euphoria

  • 1999 "Promises" #38 US

from X

  • 2002 "Now" #23 UK
  • 2003 "Long Long Way to Go" #40 UK

from Best Of

  • 2005 "Waterloo Sunset" UK

from Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection

  • 2005 "No Matter What" US


See also

External links

es:Def Leppard fr:Def Leppard sv:Def Leppard ja:デフ・レパード


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