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Def LeppardDef Leppard, in many ways, was the definitive hard rock band of the '80s. There were many bands that rocked harder, and were more dangerous, than the Sheffield quintet, but few others captured the spirit of the times quite as well. Emerging in the late '70s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the group actually owed more to the glam-rock and metal of the early '70s — their sound was equal parts T. Rex, Mott the Hoople, Queen and Led Zeppelin. By toning down their heavy riffs and emphasizing melody, Def Leppard were poised for crossover success by 1983's Pyromania, but skillfully used the fledgling MTV network to their advantage. The group was already blessed with photogenic good looks, but they also crafted a series of innovative, exciting videos, which made them into stars. They intended to follow Pyromania quickly, but were derailed when their drummer lost an arm in a car accident, the first of many problems that plagued the group's career. Def Leppard managed to pull through such tragedies and they even expanded their large audience with 1987's blockbuster Hysteria. As the '90s began, mainstream hard rock shifted away from Leppard's signature pop-metal and towards edgier, louder bands, yet the group maintained a sizable audience into the late '90s and were one of only a handful of '80s metal groups to survive the decade more or less intact.
Def Leppard is a band from Sheffield, England, that emerged in the late 1970s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Rick Savage and Pete Willis formed the band in 1977 in Sheffield (see 1977 in music). Joe Elliott joined as the vocalist, and brought the name of the band with him. Elliott had thought of the name Deaf Leopard in school and the band changed the name to Def Leppard based on the way Led Zeppelin spelled their name. They began playing locally and soon added Steve Clark and drummer Tony Kenning before recording the underground hit "Getcha Rocks Off" for Bludgeon Riffola, their own label. Rick Allen was added as the permanent drummer, to replace Kenning. They signed to Mercury Records.
Their major label debut was On through the Night (1980 in music). High 'N' Dry (1981 in music) was their first album to be produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. From it, "Bringin' on the Heartbreak"'s video was one of the first "metal" videos played on MTV video. Phil Collen, former guitarist from band "Girl", replaced Pete Willis who was fired on July 11, 1982 due to alcoholism. This personnel change took place during the recording of their next release, Pyromania (January 20, 1983). Lange was again the producer. Aided by the singles "Photograph", "Rock of Ages", and "Foolin'", Pyromania sold six million copies in 1983 & 84.
All Events by Date
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 1, 2014
|Xfinity Center - MA
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 2, 2014
|Boardwalk Hall Arena - Boardwalk Hall
Atlantic City, NJ
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 3, 2014
|Susquehanna Bank Center
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 5, 2014
|Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Saratoga Springs, NY
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 6, 2014
|Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 8, 2014
|Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach, VA
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 9, 2014
|Toyota Pavilion At Montage Mountain
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 10, 2014
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 12, 2014
|Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 13, 2014
|Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Darien Center, NY
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 15, 2014
|Alpine Valley Music Theatre
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 16, 2014
|First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Tinley Park, IL
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 17, 2014
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 20, 2014
|Wells Fargo Arena - IA
Des Moines, IA
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 22, 2014
|Klipsch Music Center
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 23, 2014
|DTE Energy Music Theatre
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 24, 2014
|First Niagara Pavilion
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 26, 2014
|Blossom Music Center
Cuyahoga Falls, OH
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 28, 2014
|Verizon Wireless Amphitheater - MO
Maryland Heights, MO
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 29, 2014
|Kiss & Def Leppard||Aug 31, 2014
|The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Artist Biography - Def LeppardThe period after the album's success, however, was difficult: on December 31, 1984, Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car crash in which his Corvette veered off the road into a concrete wall. While recovering in the hospital from his accident, Rick was committed to continuing his role as Def Leppard's drummer. He practiced drumming with pillows, and realized that he could use his legs to do some of the percussive work previously done with his arms. He then worked with Simmons to design a custom electronic drum kit.
Leppard's next album, Hysteria, (yet again produced by Lange), was released in 1987 (see 1987 in music). The first released single, Women, was not very successful. Album sales were slow until the fourth single, "Pour Some Sugar On Me", became a hit. The album included a total of six Top 20 singles. The seventh and last single to be released from this album was Rocket in early 1989 (see 1989 in music).
Much of Leppard's success in the 1980s is credited to their producer, Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, who was considered by the band to be its sixth member.
After Hysteria 's release, internal problems (including the death of guitarist Steve Clark from a drug and alcohol overdose on January 8, 1991) resulted in a long delay before the follow-up.
Adrenalize was finally released in 1992, the only album recorded by Leppard as a four-piece (Elliott, Collen, Savage, and Allen). The album entered the US charts at number 1. It remained there for five weeks, selling six million copies, and the first single, "Let's Get Rocked," was on MTV's video countdown for a long time. It was also nominated for Best Video of the Year at the 1992 9th MTV Video Music Awards. However, it did not have the longevity of their previous albums, and in retrospect many fans consider it one of their weakest albums.
Retroactive was released in 1993 and is a collection of songs which, although not new, were either rare or never previously released. Some of this album's songs were written as B-sides for Hysteria singles. Retroactive was followed by the release of Vault 1995, Def Leppard's Greatest Hits, which sold 3.5 million copies.
In 1992, guitarist Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard. (Vivian had been a member of Dio from 1983 - 1986, and a member of Whitesnake in 1987 and 1988.) He collaborated in the songwriting for Slang, which was released in 1996. Next came the album Euphoria in 1999.
X, Def Leppard's tenth album, was released in 2002. The band has stated that they are very satisfied with this album, and that in many ways they wish it had been the follow-up to Hysteria -- in sound and style, it is a logical progression from their previous albums. It is also Elliott's finest album as a vocalist, and the themes presented in the lyrics represent a maturing of the band members' outlooks on relationships.
Def Leppard's career has been overwhelmingly fraught with tragedy and hardship. And yet, the band has never called it quits or let misfortune take their drive and spirit.
Still, no matter what Soundscan says, Def Leppard deserves the highest accolades for continuing on through the hell they've been through. And not only have they survived it, they've flourished in spite of it all.
Def Leppard tickets will be a classic hit in the summer of 2009 as the hard rockers join Poison and Cheap Trick to create havoc in arenas and amphitheaters in 40 cities. The tour begins in Camden, New Jersey at the Susquehanna Bank Center and ends on September 6 at the San Manuel Amphitheater.
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