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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(andweremoredangerous) than the Sheffield-based quintet, but few others captured the spirit of the times quite aswell.Emerging in the late '70s aspart ofthe New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Def Leppard actually owed more to the glamrockand metal of the early '70s, as their sound wasequalparts T. Rex, Mott the Hoople, Queen, and Led Zeppelin. By toningdowntheir heavy riffs and emphasizing melody, Def Leppard werepoisedfor crossover success by 1983's Pyromania, andskillfullyused ...read more

In many ways, Def Leppard were the definitive hard rock band of the '80s. There were many bands that rocked harder(andweremoredangerous) than the Sheffield-based quintet, but few others captured the spirit of the times quite aswell.Emerging in the late '70s aspart ofthe New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Def Leppard actually owed more to the glamrockand metal of the early '70s, as their sound wasequalparts T. Rex, Mott the Hoople, Queen, and Led Zeppelin. By toningdowntheir heavy riffs and emphasizing melody, Def Leppard werepoisedfor crossover success by 1983's Pyromania, andskillfullyused the fledgling MTV network to their advantage. The musicians werealreadyblessed with photogenic good looks,but theyalso crafted a series of innovative, exciting videos that made them into stars. Theyintended tofollow Pyromaniaquickly butwere derailed when their drummer lost an arm in a car accident, the first of many problems thatplagued thegroup'scareer.They managed to pull through such tragedies, and even expanded their large audience with 1987'sblockbusterHysteria.Asthe '90s began, mainstream hard rock shifted away from their signature pop-metal and toward edgier, louderbands,yetthey maintained asizable audience into the late '90s and were one of only a handful of '80s metal groups to survivethedecade more or lessintact.

Def Leppard had their origins in a Sheffield-based group that teenagers Rick Savage (bass) and Pete Willis (guitar) formedin1977. VocalistJoeElliott, a fanatic follower of Mott the Hoople and T. Rex, joined the band several months later, bringingthename Deaf Leopard with him.After aspelling change, the trio, augmented by a now-forgotten drummer, began playinglocalSheffield pubs, and within a year the band hadaddedguitarist Steve Clark to the lineup, as well as a new drummer. Laterin1978, they recorded their debut EP, Getcha Rocks Off, andreleased it ontheir own label, Bludgeon Riffola. The EP becameaword-of-mouth success, earning airplay on the BBC. The group memberswere still in theirteens.

Following the release of Getcha Rocks Off, Rick Allen was added as the band's permanent drummer, and Def Leppardquicklybecamethesubject of the British music weeklies. They soon signed with AC/DC's manager, Peter Mensch, who helpedthemsecure a contractwithMercury Records. On Through the Night, the band's full-length debut, was released in 1980andinstantly became a hit in the U.K.,alsoearning significant airplay in the U.S., where it reached number 51 on the charts.Overthe course of the year, Def Leppardrelentlesslytoured Britain and America, playing their own shows while alsoopeningconcerts for Ozzy Osbourne, Sammy Hagar, and JudasPriest. High'n' Dry followed in 1981 and became the group'sfirstplatinum album in the U.S., thanks to MTV's strong rotation of "Bringin' ontheHeartbreak." MTV would be vital to theband'ssuccess in the '80s.

As the band recorded the follow-up to High 'n' Dry with producer Mutt Lange, Pete Willis was fired from the bandforalcoholism, and PhilCollen,a former guitarist for Girl, was hired to replace him. The resulting album, 1983's Pyromania,becamean unexpected blockbuster, duenot onlyto Def Leppard's skillful, melodic metal, but also to MTV's relentless airingof"Photograph" and "Rock of Ages." Pyromania went onto sell tenmillion copies, establishing Def Leppard as one of themostpopular bands in the world. Despite their success, they were about toenter a tryingtime for their career. Followinganextensive international tour, the group reentered the studio to record the follow-up, butproducer Lange wasunavailable,sothey began sessions with Jim Steinman, the man responsible for Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. The pairingturned out to be ill-advised, so the bandmembers turned to their former engineer, Nigel Green. One month into recording, Allen lost his leftarm inaNew Year'sEve car accident. The arm was reattached, 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 beganlearningto play a custom-made electronic kit assembled for him by Simmons. The band soon resumedrecording,and within a few monthsLange wasback on board, having judged all the existing tapes inferior and ordered theband to beginwork all over again. Recording sessionscontinuedthroughout 1986, and that summer, the group returned to thestage for theEuropean Monsters of Rock tour. Def Leppard finallycompleted theirfourth album, now titled Hysteria, early in1987. Therecord was released that spring to lukewarm reviews, with many criticsclaiming that thealbum compromisedLeppard's metalroots for sweet pop flourishes. Accordingly, Hysteria was slow out of the startinggates -- "Women," thefirstsingle, failed toreally take hold -- but the release of "Animal" helped the album gather steam. The song becameDef Leppard'sfirst Top 40hitin the U.K., but more importantly, it launched a string of six straight Top 20 hits in the U.S., which alsoincluded"Hysteria,""Pour SomeSugar on Me," "Love Bites," "Armageddon It," and "Rocket," the latter of which arrived in 1989, a fulltwoyearsafter the release of Hysteria.During those two years, Def Leppard's presence was unavoidable -- they were thekings ofhigh-schoolmetal, ruling the pop charts and MTV,and teenagers and bands alike replicated their teased hair andripped jeans,even when the grimy hardrock 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, astheband took abreakfrom the road and set to work on a new record. During the recording process, however, Steve Clarkdiedfrom an overdose of alcoholanddrugs. Clark had historically battled with alcohol, and following the Hysteria heyday,hisbandmates forced him to take a sabbatical.Although hedid enter rehab, Clark's habits continued, and his abuse wassocrippling that Collen began recording the majority of the band'sguitar leads.Following Clark's death, Def Leppard resolvedtofinish their forthcoming album as a quartet, releasing Adrenalize in the springof 1992.Adrenalize was greeted withmixedreviews, and even though the album debuted at number one and contained several successfulsingles,including the Top20hits "Let's Get Rocked" and "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad," the record was a commercialdisappointmentinthewake of Pyromania and Hysteria. After its release, the group added former Whitesnake guitarist Vivian Campbell tothelineup,thusresuming Def Leppard's two-guitar attack.

In 1993, Def Leppard released the rarities collection Retro Active, which yielded another Top 20 hit with the acousticballad"Two StepsBehind."Two years later, the group released the greatest-hits collection Vault while preparing for its sixthalbum.Slang arrived in the springof 1996,and while it proved more adventurous than its predecessor, it was greetedwithindifference, indicating that Leppard's heyday hadindeedpassed and they were now simply a very popular cultband.Undaunted, Leppard soldiered on, returning to their patented pop-metalsound forEuphoria, which was released in Juneof1999. Despite the success of "Promises," the record failed to produce any additional hits,resulting in areturn to adultpopballadry on 2002's X. The two-disc Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection arrived in 2005, followed in2006 by Yeah!,astrongcollection of covers. In 2008, the guys released their ninth studio album, Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, whichdebutedatnumber fiveand was supported by a lucrative summer tour. Material from that tour helped make up the bulk of MirrorBall:Live &More, a three-disc livealbum containing a full concert, three new studio recordings, and DVD footage. « hide

Similar Bands: Whitesnake, Van Halen, Europe, Bon Jovi, AC/DC

LPs
Def Leppard
2015

3
33 Votes
Songs from the Sparkle Lounge
2008

2.8
110 Votes
Yeah!
2006

3
79 Votes
X
2002

2.2
121 Votes
Euphoria
1999

3
116 Votes
Slang
1996

2.9
121 Votes
Adrenalize
1992

3.2
183 Votes
Hysteria
1987

3.8
524 Votes
Pyromania
1983

3.9
452 Votes
High 'n' Dry
1981

3.9
261 Votes
On Through the Night
1980

3.5
185 Votes
EPs
Live: In the Clubs, in Your Face
1993

3.2
6 Votes
First Strike
1985

The Def Leppard E.P.
1979

3.4
17 Votes
Live Albums
Viva Hysteria!
10/28/2013

4.8
4 Votes
Mirror Ball: Live and More...
2011

3.4
15 Votes
Compilations
Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection
2005

4
53 Votes
Best of Def Leppard
2004

4.1
14 Votes
Vault: Greatest Hits 1980 - 1995
1995

4
76 Votes
Retro Active
1993

3.7
63 Votes

Contributors: jars80, iGuter, Mad., AleksiS, rockandmetaljunkie, TheRamblingElf, Nagrarok, Willie, bigdctherock, magas92, gunmaster, AeroZeppelin1, Alex101, lessthanderek123, Voivod, LittleStranger, AleksiS, rockandmetaljunkie, Nagrarok,

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