Formed in England, their name was originally spelled Deaf Leopard. They got the idea to alter the spelling from Led Zeppelin.
Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car accident on New Year's Eve, 1984 when he was racing his Corvette on a road in Sheffield, England. He flew through the windshield and his arm was ripped off by the seat belt. He quickly expressed his desire to stay with the band, and learned to play with a specially designed, computer-assisted drum kit.
Guitarist Steve Clark died of a drug and alcohol overdose in 1991.
Joe Elliott started a Mott The Hoople cover band in 2009 called the Down 'n' Outz. In his Songfacts interview
, Elliott said that recording and performing in this band freed him from the expectations that came with any new Def Leppard material. It was also a way for him to introduce some of his favorite Mott/Ian Hunter songs to a new audience.
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)
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.
Their first concert was in a room in a spoon factory in Sheffield, England. Only six people went to it. (thanks, Tom - Trowbridge, England)
Mutt Lange produced Def Leppard's second album, High 'n' Dry. As he had done with AC/DC and Foreigner, Lange infused their songs with pop appeal while building on their Rock foundation. His contributions were so significant that when he produced their next two albums, Lange was credited as a co-writer on every song.
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.
Before joining Def Leppard, Vivian Campbell played in Dio and Whitesnake. (thanks, Gavin - Colchester, England)
Phil Collen joined Def Leppard after the dismissal of founding member Pete Willis. Collen had previously been a member of a glam band named "Girl." (thanks, Michael - San Diego, CA)
While some individual members had serious problems with drugs and alcohol, the band was quite tame when they toured, avoiding the typical rock mayhem and excess. Said Elliott: "Since rock bands discovered accountants, they don't throw TVs out of windows at 500 quid a time."
Their two biggest albums, Pyromania and Hysteria, were released around the same time as Michael Jackson's Thriller and Bad, and spent a lot of time at #2 on the album charts as a result.
Many British bands move out of England when they become famous to avoid the heavy taxes, which is known as becoming a "Tax Exile." Def Leppard did this in 1984, moving to Ireland so they could keep more of their money.
It wasn't until their 1987 Hysteria album that they broke out in their home country of England. Their biggest success was in America, where Pyromania sold almost 7 million copies, but just 60,000 in England. Early on, they took a lot of stick in the British press, which left a mark on the band. "We don't worry about England anymore," Elliott told Sounds in 1982. "We're just trying to put across the point that everybody's missed out and that is that we've been s--t on and people have said things about us that are a lot of bulls--t."