Def Leppard

Joe ElliottVocals1977-
Pete WillisGuitar1977-1981
Rick SavageBass1977-
Rick AllenDrums1979-
Steve ClarkGuitar1977-1991
Phil CollenGuitar1981-
Vivian CampbellGuitar1992-
Tony KennerigDrums1977-1978

Def Leppard Artistfacts

  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Matt - Lee's Summit, MO, for above 2
  • 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.
  • Their first concert was in a room in a spoon factory in Sheffield, England. Only six people went to it. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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."

Comments: 26

  • Peter from Sheffield, EnglandThe first gig Def leppard played was at a school not a Spoon Factory and they allegedly smuggled alchohol in by stashing it in the drum kit.
    Rick Allen lost his arm when racing his Corvette on a road outside Sheffield actually near Ladybower resevoir, he went through the windscreen and the seatbelt severed his arm.
  • Tabitha from IllinoisAnthony from Colorado Springs, actually you are WRONG. According to both Rick Allen and the police officer that found Rick at the accident scene, he was NOT riding a motorcycle, but rather driving a CAR that he brought over from the United States. The accident was featured in both the movie Hysteria and the Def Leppard's Behind the Music episode on VH1
  • Tania from Brisbane, AustraliaI do enjoy listening to Def Leppard, but some of their stuff sounds like it was recorded by Led Zeppelin. Ironic considering how Led Zeppelin likes to plagiarise!
  • Anthony from Colorado SpringsFirst Rick Allen was driving his new high end motorcycle, when he lost his arm while leisurely riding his new toy. your mostly likely to lose your arm in motorcycle accidents, due to the fact that when you hit the ground, first reaction is to put your arms down. He flew out a windshield, he would be dead, or neck spine broken. in fact they just shot the video at a theater for rock of ages and fooling, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on New Year's Day, and all were exhausted from partying all night and shooting the 2 videos. They were just about to go on their 1st American tour, in a 2 weeks, that's why they were in America.
    Rick had his new 6 figure motorcycle shipped all the way from England to the states, because he wanted to see America from the road. Before going on their US. Tour Rick drove the US interstate highways crashing off route 84 in Pennsylvania from a truck that accidentally cut him off. They cut their US tour in half and had a studio drummer play for their tour, but used theater tricks of concealment s hiding the drummer in a hat and wearing Rick's signature underwear on stage, so nobody noticed. It wasn't until they got back to England that the report was out that it happened in England, But not to hurt their new American audience, and to help concealment their lie of who 2as playing on tour in the state, they said it happened in England with some rock and roll edge to it that he was racing and being the rock star he is. It sells, and help made Hysteria, a great. Thanks to the bands determination, and their recording agency, for taking a chance , and their PR team, that took a tragedy and made it the biggest success.
  • Garrett Skelton from Big Spring , TxOMfg this the best band i have ever heard. i believe that i was ment to be born in the 80's
  • Steve from Cambridge, United Kingdomim a led zeppelin fan and i saw them in about 81 at cambridge uk and i fell asleep leaning on the stage -i was right in the centre of the crowd-out my head on some sort of substnaces with friends and it was so boring withi minutes of them coming on stage i was asleep with my head on the stage itself-i thought they were poor obviously and nothing like the quality that is led zeppelin-i had voted to see the undertones -the band voted best live act of that period in time-but i was out-voted by my mates who were also led zep fans of course
    i can see they are very much a led zep tribute band and i did half like about 3 singles by them but i think they were released after i saw them and i always rate it as the most boring live performance i have ever been to and the second most boring was a david bowie concert in 82-ish at m/keynes
    the best was a leonard cohen concert and a genesis 1973 stage-show re-enactment tribute band called the musical box and also the jam were very good live.
    ive also seen led zep at knebworth and the stones twice and zep and the stones were all boring too-but much better than def leopard -i just hope no one on earth actually thinks they r better than zep-if they do let me know-cos i would find that fascinating lol
  • Hannah from Ottawa, OnLoved the album: Pyromania. I've seen them in concert many times. Excellent!
  • Shane from Bangor, MeI am also only 14 but i love Def Leppard I started listening to them when i was only 4 or 5 and i love them, long live Steve Joe Rick Rick Phil and Vivian
  • Philippe from Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaDef Leppard sold the most albums in the U.S. than any other British bands in the 80's
  • Heather from White Bear Lake, Mni love def leppard! joe elliott and phil collen are the sexiest rockers ever! rick allen is a rock god! R.I.P. steve clark. we all miss you! i almost got to see def lep at the minnesota state fair back in 05.
  • Kane from Escondido, Cadrummers a gimp!
  • Samantha from Missouri, MoDef Leppard i awesome!!im only 14 and not many concert come to my little town but , i love 80's music and Def Leppard is the band that really got me into it! R.I.P STEVEN CLARK
  • Milagros from Lima, PeruAmo esta banda,me parece muy cool y buena,ni ke decir de sus canciones,son rockeronas y tambien baladas,DL es la mejor banda,no solo de Reino Unido,sino del mundo,son los mejores,los amo y los amare por siempre!!!Viva Def Leppard!
  • Sean from Nashville, TnSorry folks, but a few errors need to be cleared up.

    First, Rick Savage lives in Sheffield, England--the only member to still live in England full-time.

    Also, it wasn't a lack of interest that made Def Leppard create their own label for their debut record. They were still just a young "garage band." That little self-financed album (Joe's dad lent them the money) sold through the roof, resulting in a bidding-war between major labels.

  • Randy from Colerain Twp., Oh Umm...Patricia, I hate to burst your bubble, but 'Def Leppard' is the name of the band, not the lead singer...Just like 'Led Zeppelin' isn't the lead singer's name of that group. So, in answer to your question, I bet it is a big NO. And BTW, Jethro Tull isn't the name of the lead singer/flutist of that group either.
  • Patricia from Devils Lake, NdToday is 11/04/06 and I just discovered Def is from England. My family was also from England and our last name is spelled Leppard. I have often wondered if we were related but didn't realize he was from the same Country as my family. It might be fun to know if we are related.
  • Aditya from Ottawa, Canadadef leppard is the greatest band ever. I'm 16 and began discovering their music a year ago. Photograph, Animal and On through the night are my fav songs
  • Keegan from ....., United Statesi played gold with rick savage, and i've been to a couple concerts
  • Lisa from No City, WalesUnfortunately i have not had the chance to see Def Leppard live but as soon as the opportunity comes my way i am going to grab it because they are the best band in the world. Phil Collen is the greatest and sexiest guitarist ever.
  • Nigel from Ontario, CanadaI've been a fan from the very early eighties. Def Leppard are the one and only true band that are able to belt out a rock and roll song to cause an earth quake and then follow it up with a rock ballard that can silence an audiance of thousands.
  • Brad from Pittsburgh, PaWent to their concert here in the 'Burgh recently. They rock out loud!
  • Mimi from Bennington, Vtdef leppard is one of the greatest bands of all time.I have been lucky enough to see them 3x and they are awesome....rock on
  • Ben from Rotherham, EnglandHi. I think Def Leppard are one of the greatest bands of the hit and miss genre that is Pop-metal. I'm actually from Rotherham that is just north-east of Def Leppard's home city of Sheffield. They're my home-town rock heroes!
  • Ismael from Tangier, Moroccothe pole vault pre-tour in Tangier. I was there!! the preshow after diner with the band and the gnawas was epic in its proportion(Rick Allen on a gnawas bassdrum). the concert in the hercules caves was simply magnificent.
  • Bryan from Colorado Springs, CoNever miss a chance to see them. They are great in concert. Nice bunch of guys.
  • Tom from St. Louis, MoGreat band, they write hard rock songs just as well as power ballads! From Pour Some Sugar On Me to Love Bites, it's all great!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Kristian Bush of Sugarland

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Tom Keifer of Cinderella

Tom Keifer of CinderellaSongwriter Interviews

Tom talks about the evolution of Cinderella's songs through their first three albums, and how he writes as a solo artist.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pam Tillis

Pam TillisSongwriter Interviews

The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.

Charles Fox

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.

Timothy B. Schmit

Timothy B. SchmitSongwriter Interviews

The longtime Eagle talks about soaring back to his solo career, and what he learned about songwriting in the group.