The Vault: Why You Should Listen to Def Leppard

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Remember Space Jam? Remember Star Fox? Remember those treasures locked away in a dusty vault of nostalgia? Well we’re here to pull them out again, because let’s face it some of us college students are poor and can’t afford the new game or movie ticket.

Sam Shirk

Within the dark recesses of the vault behind the excellence that is the British Invasion is the amazing band who had groundbreaking albums, the band that created a lot of ‘hysteria’ for our parents. The band that is known as Def Leppard!

The legendary band known as Def Leppard, (yes that IS how you spell their name!), formed in Sheffield in 1977. The band was founded by Pete Willis, the band’s former lead guitarist, and Rick Savage, the band’s bassist.

Originally the band was named Atomic Mass, Joe Perry, the band’s lead singer, was the one who coined the name “Deaf Leopard.” The name was one he’d already thought of while writing reviews for imaginary rock bands in his English class. Willis and Savage changed the spelling of the name to “Def Leppard” in hopes that it wouldn’t be confused with a punk band.

A unique name like this one has to sound familiar to you. Like them? Don’t recognize them? Interested in learning more? Well then read on!

Quality Experience

Def Leppard was recognized very early on in their career. The band members all started out in their teens and at the start of their climb to fame they managed to gain a large public following before attracting the attention of Britain’s rock press. AC/DC manager Peter Mensch took them under his wing and added them to his busy roaster and secured them a contract with Mercury.

This addition to the busy roaster allowed the chance for them to play with numerous names in the rock business and quite a number of them were big named singers or bands. Def Leppard first toured Britain with Sammy Hagar and AC/DC and they played the 1980 Reading Festival. They also first toured the U.S. as an opening for Ted Nugent, Pat Travers, Judas Priest and, of course, AC/DC. They then were allowed to go on a second tour with Blackfoot, Ozzy Osbourne, and Rainbow. This worked out in their favor as they gained more coverage in the U.S.

A band with this many important opportunities must have gained lots of quality experience in their travels and that sound is reflected on their fantastic albums. Those albums are just one example of the many notable things about Def Leppard. Their first album, “On Through The Night”, was a huge hit in the U.K and it managed to rest at #51 on the U.S. album charts. It was their second album, “High ‘n’ Dry”, however that proved to be their first platinum album which paved the way for a long road of legacy with many album successes.


The thing that changed everything for Def Leppard was their best-selling “Hysteria” album. This album was the band’s fourth studio album and it was released on Aug. 3, 1987. It sold over 16 million copies worldwide and it topped the U.S. LPs chart for six weeks. In addition to this spot on the LP charts, the album also spun six Top 20 singles. Those six were “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Hysteria,” “Animal,” “Love Bites,” “Armageddon It,” and “Rocket.” All six of these are still famous today and on most Classic Rock stations they are still heavily played.

To date this album is still the band’s biggest selling album, in 2004 it was ranked #472 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” The fact that this album is one of the best is clear throughout the tracks. There is so much talent laced throughout as you listen and Elliot’s vocals are absolutely fantastic. It was one of the longest albums on one vinyl record at the time and it keeps listeners interested from start to finish.

Sadly, this was Steve Clark’s, the band’s former Co-lead guitarist, last album. He died from a drug overdose in 1991. If anything makes this album worth listening to, it would be his guitar playing. While his drug addiction worsened, his amazing talent and knowledge of how to play the guitar is evident throughout “Hysteria”. Each track consists of the richest guitar playing and it’s one of the many things keeping an audience interested. Clark was ranked No. 11 on Classic Rock Magazine’s “100 Wildest Guitar Heroes” and it’s clear that the album would not have been the same without Clark’s phenomenal guitar playing.


Def Leppard’s legacy is a strong one. They are one of the many highly influential bands to impact American Pop Music during the British Invasion. They have also helped shape Classic Rock music in their own right. They have contributed unforgettable albums to the rock genre and they continue to do so today. Not only that but they’ve had some pretty fantastic performances too.

Def Leppard’s performances are full of high energy and they definitely keep the audience wanting more. The execution of their songs is unbelievable and they feature a well balanced setlist. Not only is the setlist interesting but the way the instruments are played is quite the sight. Awhile back, Rick Allen, the band’s drummer, lost one of his arms because of a car crash but when you see him live, you’re breathless. Despite losing an arm, he still plays the drums in the most extraordinary of ways. He is hands-down one of the best drummers to exist. With a band as great as this, there is absolutely no room for boredom at those shows!

Along with unforgettable performances, inspiration is also a major thing for any band, especially one with a legacy. When a band is well-known and results in a strong following, they’ve accomplished their goal of making history. Some notable bands that were inspired by Def Leppard were Warrant, Motley Crue, and L.A. Guns. The influence from Def Leppard is clear in their own music because these bands have some similar aspects or a similar sound in their own music. A key aspect should be Def Leppard’s amazing thick vocal harmonies. A number of bands, including the ones mentioned, utilize this aspect in their music and it always helps make a song even more fantastic!

There’s no arguing Def Leppard’s impact on music as we know it. We may feel our music is good but we should learn to appreciate some of the music in our parents’ time as well. Some of the best groups formed when they were growing up and that fact is evident in the heavy radio play bands like Def Leppard still receive


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