Def LeppardDef Leppard is a British band that emerged in the late 1970s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Despite their heavy metal roots, the band is best classified in the rock genre. Rick Savage and Joe Elliott formed the band in 1977 in Sheffield (see 1977 in music). They began playing locally and soon added Steve Clark before recording the underground hit "Gotcha Rocks Off" for Bludgeon Riffola, their own label. Rick Allen was added as the permanent drummer, and they signed to Mercury Records.
Their major label debut was On through the Night (1980 in music), which was a huge British hit. High N' Dry (1981 in music) brought the band into the mainstream in the United States as a result of the single "Bringin' on the Heartbreak"'s creative MTV video. After switching Willis for Phil Collen due to Willis' alcoholism, Def Leppard released Pyromania, a huge international blockbuster aided by "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages".
The interim after the album's success, however, was difficult: In 1984, Rick Allen lost his left arm as a result of a car accident. Allen learned to play the drums using a custom kit designed for him.
Leppard's next album, Hysteria, was released in 1987 (see 1987 in music). Sales were slow until the second single, "Animal", became a hit. The album included a total of eight Top 20 singles. The band has noted that the album itself was stuck at #2 in the charts due to their bad luck of having to compete with Michael Jackson's Bad for the #1 spot.
In the interim following Hysteria's release, internal problems (including the death of guitarist Steve Clark from a drug overdose) resulted in a long delay before the follow-up could be released.
Adrenalize was finally released in 1992, the only album released by Leppard as a four-member band (Elliott, Collin, Savage, and Allen). The album entered the US charts at number 1. It remained there for five weeks, selling six million copies, and it's first single, "Let's get rocked," was on MTV's video countdown for a good period of time. It was also nominated for Best Video of the Year at the 1992 9th MTV Video Music Awards. However, it did not have the longevity of their previous albums, and in retrospect many fans consider it a failure by comparison.
Retroactive was released in 1993 and is a collection of songs which although not new were either rare or never previous released. This was followed by the release of Vault 1995, Def Leppard's Greatest Hits, which sold 3.5 million copies.
X, Def Leppard's tenth album, was released in 2002. The band has stated that they are quite pleased with this album, and that in many ways, they wish it had been the follow-up to Hysteria -- in terms of sound and style, it is a logical progression from their previous albums. It is also Elliot's finest album from a vocal standpoint, and the themes presented in the lyrics represent a maturing of the band members' outlooks on relationships.