History & BiographyThe group was established as Atomic Mass in 1977. The name was changed in the same year. Early members were school-mates Rick Savage, Pete Willis and drummer Tony Kenning. Pete Willis then brought in Joe Elliot and Steve Clark, the former was someone he had met at a bus stop and who came in auditioning for the guitar position at first. Tony would later be responsible for changing of the spelling of the band’s monicker from Deaf Leopard to Def Leppard. The new name was something Joe had designed on a poster at art school. Tony would claim to have helped write eight early songs (Wasted, Rocks Off, etc.), but not receiving credit for doing so. The drummer would have a band called Shef Leppard, following a formation called Cairo, years later.
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. The group toured Great Britain with Magnum. 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. The band opened for Rainbow in Europe. The band would also open for AC/DC. Not coincidentally Mutt Lange would produce Def Leppard's High 'N' Dry. The man had produced AC/DC's Highway To Hell as the two bands shared management.
Phil Collen had replaced Willis with the former 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 sweepstakes. 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. Pyromania sold 10 million albums despite minor setbacks like Elliott calling El Paso residents "dirty Mexicans" and receiving more criticism in England.
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. Officially, he had mixed medicine with alcohol. He had been on a leave-of-absence from the band. Adrian Smith, at this juncture formerly of Iron Maiden and John Sykes formerly of Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy, auditioned for the guitar role. Campbell who had obtained the job was also formerly of Whitesnake and, coincidentally, would later be in Thin Lizzy too. Also coincidentally, Collen had joined Def Leppard after refusing an offer from Iron Maiden.
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 Leppard 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 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 released its first EP with replica art and picture cover on Record Store Day on April 22nd 2017. This was a 12-inch version of the EP playing at 45rpm. Def Leppard was planning to conduct a ‘special’ tour in 2018 at which it was to perform its ‘80s Hysteria album in its entirety. Def Leppard and Journey tour North America together in the spring of 2018. Def Leppard floated the idea of playing its Hysteria album. Phil Collen left the band's tour with Journey in order to handle a family emergency. Trixter's Steve Brown stepped in as a replacement in late May. Def Leppard and Tesla would tour Canada in July 2019. Tesla was to release an album called Shock through UMC in March. The album was co-written and produced by Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen. Def Leppard's second Las Vegas residency would take place in the summer of 2019 between August and September. Def Leppard was inducted by Queen’s Brian May into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in March 2019. The group released a limited-edition box set, called Def Leppard - Volume Two, on June 21 2019. This was the second of four volumes of the complete discography of the band. Def Leppard would release a CD/DVD package called London To Vegas in April. It was recorded in London, England in 2018. Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts postponed their The Stadium Tour of 2019 to 2020 to 2021 to 2022. Def Leppard, Duran Duran and Ricky Gervais were among the acts announced to perform at the second annual A Bowie Celebration on January 8th 2022. It coincided with the dead pop singer’s 75th birthday.
Def Leppard released a new album, called Diamond Star Halos, through Ume on 27.05.2022. The title referenced T.REX's Bang a Gong (Get It On) song. The album was recorded separately by the members in the UK, USA and Ireland. A single called Kick was available in advance. On the occasion of the release of its new album, Def Leppard performed an invitation-only concert at the Whisky A Go Go in in Los Angeles, California, USA for SiriusXM listeners on May 26th. The show was part of SiriusXM's Small Stage Series. Animal and Rocket were names for two Def Leppard songs from its Hysteria album and also names of two 2022 gins by merchandising company Brands For Fans. Genesis Publications would publish an authorized biography entitled Definitely: The Official Story Of Def Leppard on November 25th. Let’s Get Rocked – A Tribute To Def Leppard was a compilation of 16 songs with tracks from all the periods of the bands tracks released by FnA Records in 2022. The notable part of this compilation was that Original Def Leppard drummer Tony Kenning lent his talents to two tracks on this album with his band Shef Leppard. Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe were conducting The World Tour. This tour was to take the bands to South America followed by Europe in 2023.
Metallica and Def Leppard were among pop bands getting new graphic novels called Headshell from Vault Comics. Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard cancelled two concerts, one in Curitiba, Brazil and the other in Porto Alegre, Brazil for March 9 and March 11, 2023 respectively. The bands explained that it was a “logistical” issue.
Drastic Symphonies was the name of an album where Def Leppard worked with UK’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra melding its music with the sound of an orchestra. It was out in May 2023. Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen was outside at the Four Seasons hotel in Fort Lauderdale in the USA on Monday March 13th to smoke a cigarette when he was attacked by a crazed 19-year-old who was on a rampage. Def Leppard was in town for a concert. The band and Genesis Publications issued the biography, Def Leppard, Definitely: The Official Story Of Def Leppard. Prior to kicking off its arena tour of Europe, Def Leppard played a smaller one-off show in Sheffield, England where the act was formed originally in the spring of 2023 . The concert at The Leadmill, which seats 850, had its net proceeds donated to Music Venue Trust, which works to conserve live music venues in the UK. Journey and Def Leppard announced a tour of the USA for the summer of 2024. Heart, Cheap Trick or Steve Miller Band were to open select concerts. There was a concert in Toronto, Canada as well.
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"