November 1997 sees the first ever Def Leppard rehersal take place in a spoon factory in Sheffield, England. At first named Deaf Leopard (after a drawing by Elliot), the young band consists of guitarist Pete Willis, drummer Tony Kenning, bass player Rick Savage & singer Joe Elliot. They perform their first gig for their friends. The folowwing year Steve Clark joins the band and, after months of rehersals insists that they go out and play. In November of that year Tony Kenning is replaced by 15 year old Rick Allen. "The Def Leppard EP" is released by their own label 'Bludgeon Riffola' and is well recieved enough for Polygram Records to sign up the young British band. First single "Wasted" is released in 1980 and later that same year the album "On Through The Night" also see the light of day. The band are labelled as part of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) that includes Iron Maiden, Saxon etc., however Def Lep would later move away from the sound. In order to support the album, they tour with AC/DC, Ted Nugent & Judas Priest although at home they are critisized for "selling out" to the American Dollar! Across the Atlantic, all welcomes are warm. Work on the next record "High & Dry" starts in 1981and it is the first with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, unofficial sixth Leppard and future husband of Shania Twain. After the release of the LP in 1982, the Leps tour with Rainbow & Ozzy Osbourne and the video for "Bringing On The Heartache" gets heavy rotation on Mtv, contributing to excellent record sales.

Later in 1982, during the recordings for the third album, Pete Willis leaves the band and London based Phil Collen, formerly of the band Girl joins up. He would soon form one of the most harmonic and complementary lead guitar duo with Steve, as was evident in their first album together 1983's "Pyromania". With smash hit singles "Photograph" (whose video practically called Mtv it's home) and "Rock of Ages", the album sold millions. Media insiders says that had it not been for the fact that a certain Mr.Michael Jackson releasing "Thriller" in late December 1982, "Pyromania" would have been the undisputed #1 album of 1983. Their first world tour as headliners also helps US sales of the album, which reach 7 million and after a major U.K. headling tour the band are accepted as stars in the U.K as well. After an exausting tour, the band relocates to Dublin, Ireland and start work on the fourth album in the spring of 1984. Initially "Mutt" did not work on the album as he was exhausted with recording work done for other artists and Nigel Green is choosen to produce the follow up to "Pyromania". No one knew that it would be nearly 4 years when the record would finally see the light of day. On New Year's day 1985, just outside Sheffield, drummer Rick Allen's car overturns at high speed and he looses his left arm in the accident. Microsurgery fails to re-connect his arm.


Everyone expects the accident to signal the end of Rick's drumming and rock career. However M/s Allen and Def Leppard are made of different stuff that the rest of the music industry. In a show of determination, courage and guts to look adversity right in the face and not back down, the rest of the Leps stuck with Rick who learns to drum with one arm on a new kit (which is a hybrid of an electronic system and regular drums) that was set up with extra foot pedals to mimic the same movements he would have played with his left arm. In the summer Lange returns to the band and they srap everything and start all over again. In 1986, taking a break from the mammoth recording sessions, Def Leppard perform at the European Monsters of Rock tour, bringing Status Quo drummer Jeff Rich along. During a warm-up mini tour of Ireland, when Jeff Rich misses a concert, the band realise that Allen can now drum on his own. The following shows are fantastically recieved by the crowds who take the band to their heart.

PHIL COLLEN                                                                                                     RICK SAVAGE
By February 1987, the album tracks, plus a few to be used mainly as B-sides, are recorded and "Hysteria" is released. A world tour kicks off in the U.K. World wide sales would go past 17 Million albums (with 12 million in the U.S. alone) and seven singles are certified as hits - "Women", "Rocket", "Animal", "Hysteria", "Pour Some Sugar On Me", "Love Bites" & "Hysteria". The world tour, with the band performing "in the round" on a stage setup in the center of arenas, officially takes 2 years (227 shows) to finish and Def Leppard are established as one of the world's biggest bands ever. After a well deserved rest, the guys meet up to start another album. But like it's predecessor, the new album would also take a while to come out. After intial recordings taking place in Amsterdam, Holland the band once again relocated to Dublin. On January 8, 1991 Steve Clark died after mixing alcohol with the painkillers prescribed to him for broken ribs he had suffered in an accident. He was only 30 years old. The entire music world was shocked and the band were devastated. After talking and discussing among themselves, the remaining Leps decided to continue and dedicated the new album "Adrenalize" to Steve.

"Adrenalize" and first single "Let's get Rocked" (with a fantastic breakthrough video) is realsed in 1992 and the album stays at #1 for 5 weeks. Because Def Leppard songs are two guitar based, they decided to bring in Irish guitarist Vivian Campbell as the newest memeber. Viv had recorded succesful albums as a member of Dio and also had a spell as guitar player in Whitesnake. His official introduction was at Wembley (what a venue for an introduction) at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and is quickly accepted by the Lep fans. "Make Love, Like A Man", "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" & "Heaven Is" are also released as singles with stunning videos to boot and in several countries the album is the biggest by Def Leppard to date. But for me the best track was "White Lightning" a more serious song, which Joe Elliot later admitted was about Steve Clark. In the US however it sells 6 Million, half of "Hysteria"s sales. Once again a massive tour undergoes playing "in the round" and finished 18 months after it stars with 241 shows played. In 1993 the makers of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Last Action Hero" approach Def Leppard for a song to be played during the end credits. As they are in the midst of their world tour and cannot write a new song, the Leps chosed "Two Steps Behind" a B-side track. The soundtrack was released and "Two Steps Behind" went racing up the charts. In the meantime, the band are proud to play the inaugural show at the new Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield, for 40,000 rock fans.
A six month break followed the end of the tour, to write new songs and ideas before going to on to record the next album. During this time, their label, Mercury Records approach the Leps with the idea of releasing a Greatest Hits record. Although at one time the band were against such a release, the fact that they were now going for a more back to basics less of a big sound and more emphasis on the lyrics, makes the choice of such an album seem reasonable and sound. "It's our 'Thank you, good night" to that sound", said Joe Elliot in an interview to Metal Edge magazine. So in 1995 the highly successful "Vault", containing most of the big hits from "Hysteria", Adrenalize" & "Pyromania" plus a new song, was released. The new song was "When Love & Hate Collide" which was actually a new recording of a song that was created at the time of "Adrenalize". As the band explains, they did not want two love ballads in the album, so they tossed to choose between "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad" and "When Love & Hate Collide". As we all know "Have You..." won the toss and was included in the album (going on to be the biggest hit in the US charts from that album). The latter was shelved and when the greatest hits album was compiled they included the song as well. "When Love & Hate Collide" was released as a single from "Vault" and surprise, surprise it goes on to become the band's biggest ever hit in the U.K., peaking at #2! Then Def Leppard went onto create a world record for playing three shows in 24 hours - in three different continents. The cities choosen were Tangiers, Morroco (Africa), London, U.K. (Europe) & Vancouver, Canada (North America); 5,845 miles in a day.
January 1996 sees the band move back to Dublin for the completion of "Slang" the 8th album put out by the band. In April the first singles are released - "Slang" in the U.K. and "Work It Out" in the US. Many fans complained about the songs and claimed the album to be a big dissapointment. Everyone I talked to here in India as well, delegated "Slang" to "the worst album" status of Def Leppard's and even of 1996! I did not agree as there as some good songs in it; one of my fav tracks ever of Def Lep is "All I Want Is Everything" - a song about a man who knows he is dying...of AIDS. Subject matter that is alien to previous works by Lep, but a great song nevertheless. Also "Work It Out" and "Breathe A Sigh" are good stuff as well. In the following months, the band tours Asia, the US before heading for Europe. They hit South Africa, performing before 47,000 fans in a stadium in Johannesburg and also go to South America and Mexico.

Work on the next album starts once the tour ends in 1997. Once again, Dublin is the place where they head off to. On May 24, 1999 "Promises" the first single of "Euphoria" is released and the album follows two weeks later. The album sees a change again in the sound which is a mixture of "Pyromania" and "Hysteria". The three legs of the "Euphoria" tour sees them criss-cross Europe, Asia, US & Canada with the tour ending at the end of September, 2000.

All pics & Biography compiled from web and magazine articles.