Def Leppard came from Sheffield and publicized itself through a demo tape financed by the father of Joe Elliot. With its debut On Through The Night Sheffield's Def Leppard released one of the more original and interesting albums of NWOBHM. While the next album was good, the band's conscious decision to sell more albums and sell more albums in America came at a cost. Part of that cost was a more commercial bent musically, while another was an emphasis towards the USA, which gained the scorn of many UK fans.
Phil Collen had replaced Willis, the former was fired for excessive alcohol consumption. High 'N Dry would be remixed by Mutt Lange in 1984. The remix would embarrass many fans for its overbearing keyboards use. Rumour had it that none other New Wave artist Thomas Dolby had played the keyboards.
What no one had reckoned with was Pyromania however. One of the more technologically advanced albums of its generation, an original, melodic and highly hook-laden package meant an unstoppable commercial force. Def Leppard was instantly at the top of its genre and on top of the charts in a dozen countries. The band's anthems were as familiar as Elliot's Union Jack tank top. Songs like Photograph, Foolin' and others were successful singles and videos and meant Def Leppard's popularity had usurped Iron Maiden's throne in the metal sales sweep stakes. Much of the production and arrangement was owed to producer Mutt Lange.
The band began touring in Ireland and followed up supporting Billy Squier in the USA. Soon after the band was headlining over Krokus. Despite minor set backs like Elliott calling El Paso resident "dirty Mexicans" and more criticism in England, Pyromania sold 10 million albums.
While the band had begun 1984 with the intention to record again, recordings with Mutt Lange and Jim Steinman were scrapped. Tragedy strikes in the January of 1985 when drummer Allen loses an arm in a car accident outside Sheffield, England. The band continued with him however and Allen utilized a drum machine in the studio and an electronic drum at concerts.
First Strike was a rare LP of the band's unreleased material, which was quickly sued away by the band.
Hysteria saw a much more commercial band that sold even more records thanks to the hit single Pour Some Sugar On Me.
Irish and veteran guitarist Campbell joined the band in 1991. Reminiscent of Willis, Clark had an alcohol problem leading to his death in January of 1991. Offically, he had mixed medicine with alcohol. He had been on a leave-of-absence from the band.
Retroactive, a compilation of B-sides, was released in 1993. Slang was a rawer album that saw the band taking notice of their environment and Euphoria further saw a band in decline.
Def Leppard has gained a deserved notoriety for taking a long time between albums and spending up to a year in studio.
X was issued in mid-summer of 2002 and the band began touring for an album that seemed to be selling briskly. The band hit North America in the winter of 2003, on a bill that at one time was supposed to feature a reformed Thin Lizzy. The band's delayed covers album was issued in 2005 and was entitled Yeah! An anticipated September NWOBHM 25th anniversary festival was cancelled when the organizers failed to get Def Leppard to headline. The Sheffield band declined to participate. The band announced March 18th of 2007 as the release date for its new album, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge. This date was soon postponed to May 5. Country star Tim McGraw guested on the album – he had also appeared with the band on stage in 2007 - and the band was touring with Styx and Reo Speedwagon in North America in the spring. Shows with Whitesnake were planned for Europe. In the meanwhile, Collen (formerly of Girl) was in the newly formed rock band Man Raze with Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols and Simon Laffy of Girl. Money talks! After attacking one another for much of 2008 Def Leppard and Poison banded with opener Cheap Trick for an American tour spanning the entire summer. The band was invited to participate and play at the Country Music Television’s award in June, 2009. Def Leapprd was nominated for its performance of Photograph with Taylor Swift, from CMT Crossroads: Def Leppard and Taylor Swift. Def Leppard was issuing “deluxe editions” of Pyromania and Adrenalize on June 23rd, 2009. Both double-discs featured “rare” b-sides, demo versions and live recordings. Joe Elliott opened for the reformed Mott The Hoople on the last show of its tour on Tuesday, October 6th at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London, England. Elliot’s band, which comprised of members of The London Quireboys, used the Down 'N' Outz monicker as "a one-off performance, not the start of a new project." The third leg of Def Leppard’s North American tour was recently cancelled without an explanation.
In 2010 Thin Lizzy featured Vivian Campbell including for a January of 2011 UK tour. Joe Elliott launched his own beer in Ireland in the autumn of 2010. This was ironic given how members had died or suffered because of alcohol in the past. Down 'N' Outz was named after Elliott's side-project. It was available at most Porterhouse bars. Def Leppard was next negotiating with its old record label Universal again. The band also had a live album out. Def Leppard's live album (including a bonus DVD), Mirrorball, would be released through Bludgeon Riffola/Mailboat Records in June. Def Leppard announced two shows in Japan for November of 2011. Earlier the British band would perform on NBC's America's Got Talent show on September 7th. Money talked again. Poison and Def Leppard, with Lita Ford opening, once again traded their insults for a planned summer tour in 2012. The bands toured together three years prior. Def Leppard played a seven-song YouTube Presents rare club show on June 6th, 2012 at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles. The show was followed by a question-and-answer session with fans and attendees. The band would play its 1987 album Hysteria in its entirety as part of its nine-show so-called residency at The Joint at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in March and April of 2013. Def Leppard and Last In Line guitarist Vivian Campbell was undergoing chemotherapy following the discovery of Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer in his throat. Vivian Campbell would receive a stem-cell transplant in September of 2014 after doctors discovered his Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis had returned. After divorcing his wife of 25 years, Julie Campbell, in November of 2012 Vivian Campbell married his girlfriend, Caitlin Phaneuf, who was a member of his band’s crew. Campbell has Hodgkin's lymphoma, which was a cancer. He announced that the cancer was in remission. Def Leppard would undertake a Canadian and US summer tour with Styx and Tesla. The tour would visit 40 cities beginning June 23rd in Tampa, Florida. The mayor of Winnipeg, Canada Brian Bowman paid tribute to ‘80s band Def Leppard by quoting several of the band's song titles at the opening remarks of a city council meeting on April 29th of 2015. Despite being a fan the mayor did not hold tickets to the concert. Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell announced that his cancer had returned despite a stem cell transplant the summer before. His replacement for recent shows with Def Leppard was Trixter guitarist Steve Brown as the band would not wait for him. Def Leppard's 2015 self-titled album would arrive on October 30th on vinyl through earMUSIC. The CD was expected on November 30th. Def Leppard's self-titled album entered The Billboard 200 chart at No. 10 based on sales of 30,000 in the USA. Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott was forced to pull out of the band's 2016 cruise after coming down with laryngitis. Mr Big’s, Last In Line’s and other singers took over. Following singer Joe Elliott’s illness it was determined that singing could permanently damage his voice and the band rescheduled the US dates for its tour which partly featured Styx and Tesla. The band play on the Good Morning America show on US channel ABC on June 21st. The band was touring USA.
DEF LEPPARD - HIGH 'N' DRY - VERTIGO
Def Leppard's second album is the Sheffield quintet's last raw and gritty album. Produced nevertheless by Mutt Lange, the album begins with the 'cool' Let It Go which is a commercially-oriented tune busy with aggressive guitars and vocals. It is a good kick off for an album that is chock full of sing-along melodies. Another Hit And Run is a chorus-oriented stormer. The song is reminiscent of a time when the guitar was respected in major label circles. High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night) is a relatively secondary song. All the more so because it is followed by the album's tour-de-force, the heavily emotional Bringin' On The Heartbreak. Not only is the song infectious to the Nth degree, but it also benefits from a heavy chord attack that could have been the band's staple were they not so adamantly shy about their earlier works. Joe Elliott lets the pipes loose. Switch is an instrumental with a fabulous sting which is followed by the AOR song You Got Me Runnin'. This tune is actually reminiscent of Kiss. On the next song the lady might be strange, but both the band and the listener feel no desire to send her away. The tune rocks and is one of the better songs on the album. The listener is treated to some high-octane hard rock and NWOBHM patterns on Lady Strange. On Through The Night is a honest song, but not with much impact. Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes) is another strong chorus amidst the many other successful ones on the album. The song asks the right questions. No No No is next and an appropriate title as any for a track that could easily be labelled a filler at the end of the album.
This CD version of the album ends with the 1984 'remixes' of Bringin' On The Heartbreak and Me & My Wine. How adding synthesizers to a great rock tune can be dubbed a 'remix' is an interesting debate. Even more interesting is how the band would allow their work of art to be manipulated so badly. Fans would program these songs off their CDs' play list sequence. - Ali "The Metallian"