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Def Leppard

Def Leppard bio, timeline, discography, pics & more

Def Leppard band 2007

Def Leppard photo 2007
from left: Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Joe Elliott, Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen

Def Leppard Biography

Hard-Rock Pop-Metal band formed in Sheffield, ENGLAND in 1977 by lead singer Joe Elliott, guitarist Pete Willis, bassist Rick Savage and drummer Tony Kenning. The four guys soon started playing around local clubs; the following year, Steve Clark joined the group as second guitarist and Kenning was replaced by drummer Rick Allen.

The quintet recorded their first EP shortly afterwards; the set created enough buzz around the band and landed them opening spots for Sammy Hagar and AC/DC.
After signing with Phonogram in Europe and Mercury in the States, in the spring of 1980 Def Leppard released their debut full-length album, "On Through The Night", which was a hit in their homeland on the back of the single track "Hello America"; they supported the album's release with a promotional tour throughout the U.S. where the LP debuted at #51 on the Pop chart.

The second album, "High 'n' Dry", which was issued almost exactly one year later, not only climbed into the U.K. Top 40, but also crawled up to #38 on the U.S. Top 200 LPs & Tapes list; it included two Mainstream Rock charting singles: "Let It Go" and "Bringin' On The Heartbreak".

In the summer of 1982 Willis was fired from the band, Phil Collen replaced him, shortly before they released "Pyromania"; the group's third effort shot to #2 on the U.S. Pop Albums chart. On the heels of an American tour supporting Billy Squier, two songs, "Photograph" and "Rock Of Ages", entered the top 20 of the Pop Singles chart and also topped the Mainstream Rock chart; two more Mainstream Rock top 10 hits, "Foolin'" and "Too Late For Love" helped pump album's total sales to over 10 million copies.

The next year the quintet began working on the follow-up to "Pyromania" but on New Year's Eve, just outside Sheffield, Rick Allen's car overturns high speed and he is thrown clear, his left arm is severed, microsurgery failed to reconnect the limb.
Adapting a Simmons electronic drum-kit, Allen learned to drum one-armed and in early 1987 Def Leppard completed its fourth effort, "Hysteria"; the record went straight to #1 in Australia, U.K. and Canada as well as on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 Albums chart selling 12 million copies plus other 4 million outside the States. It generated a string of hit singles: "Animal", "Women", "Armageddon It", "Hysteria", "Love Bites" and "Rocket", all of which rose to the top 10 of The Mainstream Rock Tracks; "Love Bites" also topped The Billboard Hot 100 and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" crested at #2 on the same chart.

In January of 1991, tragedy struck the band with the death of guitarist Steve Clark, he died from an overdose of alcohol and drugs. Def Leppard finished their fifth effort as a four-piece in the fall of 1992; "Adrenalize" included two #1s Active Rock singles: "Let's Get Rocked" and "Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)", plus the top 3 hit, "Make Love Like A Man" and the #7 "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad", the latter also reached the #12 spot on The Billboard Hot 100. The album spent 5 weeks at the top of The Billboard 200 selling 6 million copies and took the band again to the top of the Canadian, British and Australian charts. The group's line-up was eventually reconfigured with ex-Whitesnake guitarist Vivian Campbell.

The band issued "Retro Active" in October of 1993, a collection of early-material and B-sides which entered the top 10 of the U.S. Albums chart and was certified double-platinum while the lead single, "Two Steps Behind", peaked at #12 on The Billboard Hot 100 and at #5 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks; this was followed by the American top 40 hit "Miss You In A Heartbeat" and the Active Rock top 20 hit "Desert Song".

Two years later Def Leppard issued another collection, "Vault"; the set contained their biggest hits and a new song, "When Love And Hate Collide", despite the track missed the U.S. Rock charts the compilation went on to sell nearly 4 million copies and peaked at #2 on the U.K. Sales chart.

In May of 1996 the quintet released their sixth studio-album of new material, "Slang", it reached the top 20 of The Billboard 200 spawning "Work It Out" which hit #6 on The Mainstream Rock chart.

The group returned in June 1999 with "Euphoria" and kicked off a tour in support of the new album which climbed to #11 in U.S. while the first single, "Promises", peaked at #1 on Mainstream Rock Tracks and "Paper Sun" reached the #11 spot on the same chart.

Another three years passed before Def Leppard finalized their tenth album, "X", as in the Roman numeral for 10; the record replicated its predecessor's chart performance and generated two Active Rock top 30 singles: "Now" and "Four Letter Word".

In May 2005 was released in North America, "Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection", a double-CD compilation which had 35 songs including a previously unissued cut, their interpretation of the Badfinger classic tune "No Matter What". The set went platinum in U.S. hitting #10 on The Billboard 200.

The quintet, then decided to record a covers album, "Yeah!", which was issued in May 2006; the disc opens up with the single of their rendition of the '70s cult hit "20th Century Boy".

An album of original material followed two years later; the CD, titled "Songs From The Sparkle Lounge", took the band back into the top 10 on the British and North American charts. Two singles were pulled from the LP: "C'mon C'mon" and "Nine Lives", a duet with Country superstar Tim McGraw.

June 2011 saw Def Leppard release their first ever live album "Mirrorball: Live & More", it was recorded across the world over the course of many of the band's sold-out dates and features all of the classic songs that have made Def Leppard one of the most respected and beloved power Rock bands in the world. "Undefeated", the set's first single, was one of three brand new studio recordings on the album which peaked at #16 on The Billboard 200.


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Def Leppard pictures:

  • Def Leppard band lineup early 80s Def Leppard  band lineup early 80s
    The band line-up early '80s
  • Def Leppard band 2002 Def Leppard band 2002
    Def Leppard 2002