Def Leppard was formed in Sheffield, England in 1977 by bassist Rick Savage and guitarist Pete Willis. Vocalist Joe Elliott joined a few months later. After going through a couple different drummers, they settled on 15 year old Rick Allen. Guitarist Steve Clark was added a few months after that. After an EP the group recorded their debut On Through The Night in 1980. They were part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.
Success And Turmoil:
After their 1981 album High 'N' Dry guitarist Pete Willis was fired due to his drinking problem. Phil Collen replaced him. In 1983 the group's breakthrough album Pyromania was releasesd to rave reviews and commercial success. While recording the follow up album, drummer Rick Allen was in a car accident and lost his right arm.
Triumph And Tragedy:
Even without one arm, Allen designed a drum kit to allow him to play, and they finished recording Hysteria. It was one of the best selling albums of all time, with a slew of hit singles and MTV videos. Released in 1987, singles from the album were still charting in 1989. But after this great success came great tragedy. In 1991 guitarist Steve Clark died of an alcohol and drug overdose.
The Next Chapter:
After Clark's death Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard. They have never reached the success of Hysteria, but have released several successful albums and continue to tour and record.
Current band members and their side projects/former bands:
Joe Elliot - Vocals (Cybernauts)
Phil Collen - Guitar (Cybernauts, Dumb Blondes, Girl, Lucy, Tush)
Vivian Campbell - Guitar (Dio, Riverdogs, Shadow King, Sweet Savage, Trinity, Whitesnake)
Rick Savage - Bass
Rick Allen - Drums
Pete Willis - Guitar (1977-1982)
Steve Clark - Guitar (1978-1991) Died in 1991
Tony Kenning - Drums (1977-1978)
Frank Noon - Drums (1978)
Def Leppard Discography:
1980 On Through The Night (Mercury)
1981 High 'N' Dry (Mercury)
1983 Pyromania (Mercury)
1987 Hysteria (Mercury)
1992 Adrenalize (Mercury)
1993 Retroactive (Mercury)
1995 Vault (Mercury)
1996 Slang (Mercury)
1999 Euphoria (Mercury)
2002 X (Mercury)
2006 Yeah! (Island)
2008 Songs From The Sparkle Lounge (Island)
2011 Mirrorball: Live And More (Island)
Essential Def Leppard Album:
This is the best Def Leppard album. It has plenty of hit singles, but isn't as slickly produced as some of their later releases. It's a good mix of harder edged rock and more pop oriented metal.