Def Leppard

Def Leppard

Def Leppard Biography

Def Leppard had their origins in a Sheffield-based group that teenagers Rick Savage (bass) and Pete Willis (guitar) formed in 1977. Vocalist Joe Elliott, a fanatic follower of Mott the Hoople and T. Rex, joined the band several months later, bringing the name Deaf Leopard with him. After a spelling change, the trio, augmented by a now-forgotten drummer, began playing local Sheffield pubs, and within a year they had added guitarist Steve Clark to the lineup, as well as a new drummer. Later in 1978, they recorded their debut EP, Getcha Rocks Off, and released it on their own label, Bludgeon Riffola. The EP became a word-of-mouth success, earning airplay on the BBC. The group members were still in their teens.


Following the release of Getcha Rocks Off, Rick Allen was added as the band’s permanent drummer, and Def Leppard quickly became the subject of the British music weeklies. They soon signed with AC/DC’s manager, Petter Mensch, who helped them secure a contract with Mercury Records. On Through the Night, the band’s full-length debut, was released in 1980 and instantly became a hit in the U.K., also earning significant airplay in the U.S., where it reached number 51 on the charts. High ‘n’ Dry followed in 1981 and became the group’s first platinum album in the U.S., thanks to MTV’s strong rotation of ‘Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.’ .

As the band recorded the follow-up to High ‘n’ Dry with producer Mutt Lange, 1983’s Pyromania, became an unexpected blockbuster, due not only to Def Leppard’s skillful, melodic metal, but also to MTV’s relentless airing of ‘Photograph’ and ‘Rock of Ages.’ Pyromania went on to sell ten million copies, establishing Def Leppard as one of the most popular bands in the world. Despite their success, the band was about to enter a trying time for their career. Following an extensive international tour, the group re-entered the studio to record the follow-up. One month into recording, Allen lost his left arm in a New Year’s Eve 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 began learning to play a custom-made electronic kit assembled for him. The band soon resumed recording, and Def Leppard finally completed their fourth album, now titled Hysteria, early in 1987. The release of ‘Animal’ helped the album gather steam. The song became Def Leppard’s first Top 40 hit in the U.K., but more importantly, it launched a string of six straight Top 20 hits in the U.S., which also included ‘Hysteria,’ ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me,’ ‘Love Bites,’ ‘Armageddon It,’ and ‘Rocket,’ the latter of which arrived in 1989, a full two years after the release of Hysteria.

Adrenalize was released in the spring of 1992, debuted at number one and contained several successful singles, including the Top 20 hits ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ and ‘Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad,’.

Continued Success

In 1993, Def Leppard released the rarities collection Retro Active, which yielded another Top 20 hit with the acoustic ballad ‘Two Steps Behind.’ Slang arrived in the spring of 1996, and Euphoria, which was released in June of 1999. The two-disc Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection arrived in 2005, followed in 2006 by Yeah!, a strong collection of covers. In 2008, the band released their ninth studio album, Songs from the Sparkle Lounge.


Hit songs include:

  • Animal
  • Pour Some Sugar On Me
  • Armageddon It
  • Love Bites
  • Rock Of Ages
  • Photograph
  • Foolin’
  • Bringin’ On the Heartbreak
  • Let’s Get Rocked

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