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Def Leppard

In many ways, Def Leppard were the definitive hard rock band of the '80s. There were many bands thatrockedharder(andweremoredangerous) than the Sheffield-based quintet, but few others captured the spirit of the times quiteaswell.Emergingin the late '70s aspart ofthe New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Def Leppard actually owed more to theglamrockand metal of the early '70s, astheir sound wasequalparts T. Rex, Mott the Hoople, Queen, and Led Zeppelin. Bytoningdowntheir heavy riffs and emphasizing melody, DefLeppard werepoisedfor crossover success by 1983's Pyromania,andskillfullyused the f ...read more

In many ways, Def Leppard were the definitive hard rock band of the '80s. There were many bands thatrockedharder(andweremoredangerous) than the Sheffield-based quintet, but few others captured the spirit of the times quiteaswell.Emergingin the late '70s aspart ofthe New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Def Leppard actually owed more to theglamrockand metal of the early '70s, astheir sound wasequalparts T. Rex, Mott the Hoople, Queen, and Led Zeppelin. Bytoningdowntheir heavy riffs and emphasizing melody, DefLeppard werepoisedfor crossover success by 1983's Pyromania,andskillfullyused the fledgling MTV network to their advantage. The musicianswerealreadyblessed with photogenic goodlooks,but theyalso crafted a series of innovative, exciting videos that made them into stars.Theyintended tofollowPyromaniaquickly butwere derailed when their drummer lost an arm in a car accident, the first of many problemsthatplaguedthegroup'scareer.They managed to pull through such tragedies, and even expanded their large audiencewith1987'sblockbusterHysteria.Asthe '90s began, mainstream hard rock shifted away from their signature pop-metal and towardedgier,louderbands,yetthey maintained asizable audience into the late '90s and were one of only a handful of '80s metalgroups to survivethedecademore 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 withhim.After aspelling change, the trio, augmented by a now-forgotten drummer, beganplayinglocalSheffield pubs, and within a year the bandhadaddedguitarist 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 EPbecameaword-of-mouth success, earning airplay on the BBC. The groupmemberswere still in theirteens. Following the release of Getcha Rocks Off, Rick Allen was added as the band's permanent drummer, and DefLeppardquicklybecamethesubjectof the British music weeklies. They soon signed with AC/DC's manager, Peter Mensch, whohelpedthemsecure a contractwithMercury Records.On Through the Night, the band's full-length debut, was released in1980andinstantly became a hit in the U.K.,alsoearning significant airplay inthe U.S., where it reached number 51 on thecharts.Overthe course of the year, Def Leppardrelentlesslytoured Britain and America, playingtheir own shows whilealsoopeningconcerts for Ozzy Osbourne, Sammy Hagar, and JudasPriest. High'n' Dry followed in 1981 and becamethegroup'sfirstplatinum album in the U.S., thanks to MTV's strong rotation of "Bringin' ontheHeartbreak." MTV would be vitaltotheband'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,andPhilCollen,a former guitarist for Girl, was hired to replace him. The resulting album, 1983's Pyromania,becameanunexpected blockbuster,duenot onlyto Def Leppard's skillful, melodic metal, but also to MTV's relentless airingof"Photograph"and "Rock of Ages." Pyromania went ontosell tenmillion copies, establishing Def Leppard as one of themostpopular bands inthe world. Despite their success, they were about toenter atryingtime for their career. Followinganextensive internationaltour, the group reentered the studio to record the follow-up, butproducer Langewasunavailable,sothey began sessions withJim Steinman, the man responsible for Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. The pairingturned out to be ill-advised, so thebandmembers turned to their former engineer, Nigel Green. One month into recording, Allen lost his leftarm inaNewYear'sEvecar 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 -- Allenbeganlearningto play a custom-made electronic kit assembled for him by Simmons. The band soon resumedrecording,andwithin a fewmonthsLange wasback on board, having judged all the existing tapes inferior and ordered theband to beginworkall over again. Recordingsessionscontinuedthroughout 1986, and that summer, the group returned to thestage fortheEuropean Monsters of Rock tour. Def Leppardfinallycompleted theirfourth album, now titled Hysteria, early in1987.Therecord was released that spring to lukewarm reviews, with manycriticsclaiming that thealbum compromisedLeppard'smetalroots for sweet pop flourishes. Accordingly, Hysteria was slow out of thestartinggates -- "Women," thefirstsingle, failedtoreally take hold -- but the release of "Animal" helped the album gather steam. The songbecameDef Leppard'sfirst Top40hitin the U.K., but more importantly, it launched a string of six straight Top 20 hits in the U.S.,whichalsoincluded"Hysteria,""Pour SomeSugar on Me," "Love Bites," "Armageddon It," and "Rocket," the latter of which arrived in1989, afulltwoyearsafter the release of Hysteria.During those two years, Def Leppard's presence was unavoidable -- theywere thekings ofhigh- schoolmetal, ruling the pop charts and MTV,and teenagers and bands alike replicated their teased hairandripped jeans,even when the grimyhardrock 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 tookabreakfrom the road and set to work on a new record. During the recording process, however, SteveClarkdiedfrom an overdose ofalcoholanddrugs. Clark had historically battled with alcohol, and following the Hysteriaheyday,hisbandmates forced him to take asabbatical.Although hedid enter rehab, Clark's habits continued, and his abusewassocrippling that Collen began recording the majority of theband'sguitar leads.Following Clark's death, Def Leppardresolvedtofinish their forthcoming album as a quartet, releasing Adrenalize in thespringof 1992.Adrenalize was greetedwithmixedreviews, and even though the album debuted at number one and contained severalsuccessfulsingles,including theTop20hits "Let's Get Rocked" and "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad," the record wasacommercialdisappointmentinthewake of Pyromania and Hysteria. After its release, the group added former Whitesnake guitaristVivianCampbell 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 theacousticballad"TwoStepsBehind."Two years later, the group released the greatest-hits collection Vault while preparing for itssixthalbum.Slang arrived in thespringof 1996,and while it proved more adventurous than its predecessor, it wasgreetedwithindifference, indicating that Leppard's heydayhadindeedpassed and they were now simply a very popularcultband.Undaunted, Leppard soldiered on, returning to their patented pop-metalsound forEuphoria, which was released inJuneof1999. Despite the success of "Promises," the record failed to produce any additionalhits,resulting in areturn toadultpopballadry on 2002's X. The two-disc Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection arrived in 2005, followed in2006byYeah!,astrongcollection of covers. In 2008, the guys released their ninth studio album, Songs from the SparkleLounge,whichdebutedatnumber fiveand was supported by a lucrative summer tour. Material from that tour helped make up the bulkofMirrorBall:Live &More, a three-disc livealbum containing a full concert, three new studio recordings, and DVD footage. « hide

Similar Bands: Whitesnake, Van Halen, Praying Mantis, Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper

LPs
Def Leppard
2015

2.9
66 Votes
Songs from the Sparkle Lounge
2008

2.7
134 Votes
Yeah!
2006

2.8
104 Votes
X
2002

2.2
149 Votes
Euphoria
1999

2.9
147 Votes
Slang
1996

2.8
156 Votes
Adrenalize
1992

3.2
225 Votes
Hysteria
1987

3.8
610 Votes
Pyromania
1983

3.9
536 Votes
High 'n' Dry
1981

3.9
317 Votes
On Through the Night
1980

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

3.1
5 Votes
First Strike
1985

The Def Leppard E.P.
1979

3.3
20 Votes
Live Albums
And There Will Be A Next Time - Live From Detroit
2017

3
1 Votes
Viva Hysteria!
10/28/2013

4.3
6 Votes
Mirror Ball: Live and More...
2011

3.3
17 Votes
Compilations
The Story So Far: The Best Of Def Leppard
2018

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
79 Votes
Retro Active
1993

3.7
73 Votes

Contributors: Departures, snakebite1480, jars80, iGuter, Mad., AleksiS, rockandmetaljunkie, TheRamblingElf, Nagrarok, Willie, bigdctherock, magas92, gunmaster, AeroZeppelin1, Alex101, lessthanderek123, Voivod, LittleStranger, AleksiS, rockandmetaljunkie, Nagrarok,

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