Def Leppard is an English rock band, They were formed in 1977 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. The founding members were bassist Rick Savage (born in 1960 in Sheffield, United Kingdom), drummer Tony Kenning (1960, Sheffield, United Kingdom), guitarist Pete Willis (1960, Sheffield, United Kingdom), and lead singer Joe Elliott (1959, also Sheffield, United Kingdom).
Savage, Kenning, and Willis went to the same high school in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. They decided to form a rock band at age 17. Their lead singer Elliot originally tried out to be a guitarist after he met Willis by chance, but he was given the role of the vocalist instead. At the start, they went by the name “Atomic Mass”, but they soon changed it to “Def Leppard”, an alternative way of spelling “Deaf Leopard”, at Elliot’s suggestion. A year later, they were joined by guitarist Steve Clark.
In 1978, their single “Getcha Rocks Off” became a massive hit among British punk and metal fans, even receiving substantial air time on BBC Radio by DJ John Peel. Soon enough, they were signed by the major label Phonogram/Vertigo, and even went on a Def Leppard concert tour opening for the legendary Australian rock band AC/DC on their UK tour.
The Def Leppard debut album came out in March 1980, with the title “On Through the Night”. It became quite a hit, peaking at the #15 spot on theOCCchart in the UK, while also breaking into the famous Billboard 200 chart at the #51 spot over in the US. At this point, the band consisted of three of the four founders, Savage, Elliot, and Willis; as well as Clark on the lead and rhythm guitars and Rick Allen on the drums. The single “Bringin' On the Heartbreak” off of their second album from 1981 became one of the most popular music videos on the newly launched music-themed American TV channel MTV. They’ve also put a lot of emphasis on ambitious visual effects during their live Def Leppard concert shows as well.
Since then, Def Leppard has released 10 more full studio albums, thus they have 12 in total. The best selling one among them is “Hysteria” from August 1987, which sold around a whopping 20 million copies worldwide. Meanwhile, the latest new Def Leppard album came out in May 2022, with the title “Diamond Star Halos”.
The biggest hits in the Def Leppard setlist to date are “Pour Some Sugar On Me” (1987), “Hysteria” (1987, same title as their album), “Love Bites” (also 1987), and “When Love & Hate Collide” (1995). Their current line-up has been consistent since 1992, with two out of four founders still on board: Elliot as the lead vocalist, and Savage on the bass and keyboards, joined by Allen on the drums, and Vivian Campbell on the lead guitar and backing vocals. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.