Def Leppard is a British hard rock band formed in 1977. The band's name was originally spelled "Deaf Leopard," but was changed to Def Leppard so as to not make people assume they were a punk band. The original lineup consisted of singer Joe Elliott, guitarists Steve Clark and Pete Willis, bassist Rick "Sav" Savage, and drummer Tony Kenning. However, Kenning soon left the band, replaced by then-15-year-old Rick Allen.
Their first concert was in a room in a spoon factory in Sheffield, England. Only 6 people went to it. (thanks, Tom - Trowbridge, England) Their first paying gig was at Westfield School in Sheffield in 1978.
Due to a lack of interest, the band had to release their debut EP on their own label, Bludgeon Riffola Records. However, due to the EP's success, they were signed to Mercury Records, and released their first album, "On Through the Night," in 1980. Their follow-up, 1981's "High N' Dry," was produced by the legendary Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Lange would go on to produce the band's next three albums. During the recording sessions for their third album, "Pyromania," Pete Willis was fired from the band for his alcohol abuse. He was replaced by Phil Collen, a former member of the glam band "Girl."
The 1983 release of Pyromania caused Def Leppard to become superstars. The album was second in sales in the U.S. only behind Michael Jackson's "Thriller." It featured hits such as "Photograph," "Foolin'," and "Rock of Ages."
Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car accident on New Year's Eve, 1984. He re-learned to play a specially designed drum kit with foot pedals that allowed him to play the left-arm parts with his left foot.
In 1987, the band released their long-awaited fourth album: "Hysteria." It stayed in the charts for 18 months and spawned 7 hit singles: "Women," "Animal," "Hysteria," "Pour Some Sugar On Me," "Love Bites," "Armageddon It," and "Rocket." Def Leppard embarked on a lengthy world tour that featured the band playing on a round stage or "in the round."
Steve Clark died of a drug and alcohol overdose in 1991. The band continued recording their 5th studio album, "Adrenalize," as a four piece. However, when they embarked on the world tour supporting the album in 1992, they hired guitarist Vivian Campbell to join the band. He's been with the band ever since.
On October 23 1995, the band played three 45-minute shows on three different continents. One show was in Tangier, Morocco, another was in London, and the last one was in Vancouver, British Columbia. This feat set a Guinness World Record.
In 2011, the band released a CD entitled "Mirrorball: Live & More." It featured recordings of performances of most of the band's hits, and also new studio recordings including "Undefeated."
Guitarist Steve Clark was dubbed "The Riff-Master" because of his ability to make lots of catchy riffs for the band, many of which were not recorded to songs.
Clark and Collen were known as "The Terror Twins" (a reference to Aerosmith's Toxic Twins [thanks, matt - Lee's Summit, MO, for above 2]) because of their antics together.
Thomas Dolby played keyboards on the Pyromania album. He is credited as Booker T. Boffin.
Allen was once criticized by Queen Elizabeth because of the Union Jack boxers he wore onstage. The Union Jack is the flag representing the United Kingdom, and one of the logos of the band.
Before joining Def Leppard, Vivian Campbell played in Dio and Whitesnake. (thanks, Gavin - Colchester, England)
Rick Savage lives in the band's hometown of Sheffield. Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell as well as drummer Rick Allen all live in California. Joe Elliott lives in Ireland; the tax laws are much more favorable for entertainers there.
Def Leppard is only one of five bands to have two Diamond-certified studio albums in the U.S. (the other bands being The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and Pink Floyd)
- "Animal" (Live)
- "Bringin' On the Heartbreak"
- "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (Live)
- "Rock of Ages"
- "Love Bites