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DEF LEPPARD

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

1977 to 1979

With the global success enjoyed by DEF LEPPARD in the late 80s and continuing into the 90s it's almost hard to believe that the group owes its roots to a school band. Originally titled ATOMIC MASS, formed when guitarist Pete Willis joined forces with bassist Rick Savage and drummer Tony Kenning at Sheffield's Tapton comprehensive school in 1977.

As DEF LEPPARD, the name given to the band by newly hired vocalist Joe Elliott, the fledgling outfit performed its first gig in December 1977 to a gathering of friends playing THIN LIZZY and DAVID BOWIE covers plus an original composition in 'Misty Dreamer'. The band then added a second guitarist, Steve Clark, who Willis had met at college, in January 1978. The band made its official live debut playing Westfield School in Sheffield on July 18th 1978, for which they are often reported to have earnt the princely sum of £5

1978 demos would include formative tracks such as 'Warchild', 'Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday', 'Beyond The Temple' and 'Got To See The Lights'. The band's now legendary 'Getcha Rocks Off' EP was recorded in November 1978 following an inaugural batch of just seven gigs and featuring with new drummer Frank Noon. Kenning had been given an ultimatum by his then girlfriend of choosing the band or her, Tony quit DEF LEPPARD and then would split up with the girl not long after.

Frank Noon had previously been a member of NEXT BAND who had released a 1978 single 'Never On A Win' on the Gannet label. But Noon was to be quickly replaced himself (eventually joining ex NEXT BAND colleague guitarist Rocky Newton in LIONHEART), by Rick Allen in late November after the release of the record.

The recording costs of the 'Getcha Rocks Off' EP came to the sum of £148.50. Selling out quickly of it's initial pressing of 1000 (issued in January 1979 on their own Bludgeon Riffola label) the band pressed up more to satisfy demand, although only the first 150 examples are known to have been released with a picture cover and lyric sheet.

Local interest in the EP led to a management interest from record shop owner Tony Martin and PR man Frank Stuart-Brown. The decision was taken to re-issue the EP due to public demand, interest having now spread to London and highly supportive features in 'Sounds' penned by the paper's chief Metal guru, Geoff Barton.

Eventually, and after a further re-issue, the EP was to reach number 84 in the British charts and sell over 24'000 copies. By now sessions with local station Radio Hallam followed and the band secured the interest of head of Phonogram A&R Rodger Bain, after a showcase gig in Retford Porterhouse, Notts that had been attended by a dozen or so other label A&R representatives.

The band signed to Phonogram in mid 1979 with Allen's father present at the signing of contracts due to the drummer's tender age. By the autumn DEF LEPPARD found themselves undertaking a successful British tour supporting SAMMY HAGAR (although the first show in Newcastle was reported to have been slightly marred by a pre-gig fist fight between Joe Elliott and Tony Martin). The band released the 'Wasted' single, which regrettably was hampered by a lacklustre production courtesy of Nick Tauber. Following the SAMMY HAGAR dates the band supported AC/DC on their 'Highway To Hell' tour, who, as coincidence would have it, were managed at the time by one Peter Mensch of Leber / Krebs.

Aware of the buzz on DEF LEPPARD, Mensch was extremely interested in managing the group, especially so once the band had made a point of requesting his assistance due to the quintet increasingly experiencing difficulties with Martin and Stuart-Brown. Mensch made a point of opening up a legal battle in order to take over full-time management duties with his friend Cliff Burnstein.

1980 to 1982

For the recording of their debut album DEF LEPPARD were placed in the studio with Tom Allom to piece together what would become 'On Through The Night'; the album being released during 1980. A further bout of touring ensued in April 1980, this time as headliners, with MAGNUM as main openers.Local supports included EXPOZER in Hanley, DAWNTRADER in Derby, HERITAGE in Sheffield, QUARTZ in Leicester,  JAMESON RAID, in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and TYGERS OF PAN TANG in Newcastle, Manchester and London.

DEF LEPPARD signed over their business affairs to Leber/ Krebs management in New York. The band found themselves on tour in America in May 1980 and the group would wind up supporting PAT TRAVERS, JUDAS PRIEST, TED NUGENT and AC/DC. They returned to Britain to find that many fans had deserted them seemingly under the misapprehension that DEF LEPPARD had deserted their home country.

However, at the Reading Festival in August that year, DEF LEPPARD received such a poor reception that throughout the set missiles were hurled at the band. This unfavourable reception was largely believed to have been stoked up by castigating reports on the band's American endeavours in the British press. Not least from Geoff Barton who claimed that the group had been taking too much notice of what the record industry wanted them to do and had, indeed, sold themselves out to America.

The band soldiered on by touring Europe before lining up another British tour for later in the year. However, gigs were poorly attended and, by this point, DEF LEPPARD were in limbo awaiting the services of their chosen producer for the second album, Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, who was working on the latest FOREIGNER album. Recording finally began in May 1981 and the album, titled 'High n' Dry' was released a few months later, DEF LEPPARD clearly having benefited from waiting for Lange, the album finding the band in hard hitting mood.

Having sat around idle for a good few months prior to recording the album, DEF LEPPARD were raring to hit the road and the band set out on another bout of American tour dates opening for RAINBOW, BLACKFOOT (who renamed their guests 'Dikk Likker') and OZZY OSBOURNE. The band also had their first taste of the power of the newly launched cable TV channel MTV when the video for 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak' received heavy rotation, catapulting the album back into the American national charts. The band was still suffering at home, although they were able to play a tour of City Hall venues during the year whilst the profile in America just grew and grew..

Returning to the studio with Mutt Lange to begin recording the band's third album, it became clearly obvious within the inner sanctum that a parting of the ways was about to occur with Pete Willis. He was asked to leave midway through recording as the guitarist's drinking had got out of control. DEF LEPPARD were quick to recruit longtime friend Phil Collen, previously with DUMB BLONDES and GIRL, who joined in July 1982. Collen added some finishing touches to the record on which keyboard contributions were provided by noted popster THOMAS DOLBY, but under the pseudonym of Booker T. Boffin!

'Pyromania' was to become recognised as one of the greatest Hard Rock albums of the 80s, Lange's production surpassed all expectations and set new standards in the field.

1983 to 1984

New guitarist Phil Collen performed his first gig with DEF LEPPARD at London's Marquee in February of 1983. A British tour, starting in Belfast, followed. However, the reaction of British fans was still only lukewarm with many gigs being less than half full. On the other side of the Atlantic it was to prove a different story, DEF LEPPARD's management team of Mensch and Burnstein having now split from Leber/Krebs to form their own Q-Prime stable.

DEF LEPPARD's 1983 American tour proved the turning point of their career, pushing sales of 'Pyromania' through the roof. The tour began with dates supporting BILLY SQUIER, but by March the band were headlining above KROKUS and JON BUTCHER AXIS. Third spot was then taken up by GARY MOORE, then a rejuvenated URIAH HEEP.

The tour was not without its problems though. Elliott pronounced onstage that the residents of El Paso were 'greasy Mexicans' and the band was duly banned from performing in that town again despite the singer's apologies.

By the end of the year 'Pyromania' had sold a staggering 9 million copies, having lodged itself in the American charts for no less than 92 weeks. 'Pyromania' took only ten weeks to reach platinum status. On average the album had been clocking up weekly sales of 100'000 copies throughout the year.

DEF LEPPARD still however found success eluding them outside America, although the band's first world headline tour finally came to a close in Bangkok in February 1984.

The follow up to 'Pyromania' was dogged by problems during recording. Pre-production began with Mutt Lange during 1984. Lange decided however that a well deserved break from the studio was needed and went on a sabbatical, leaving the band to try their hand with another producer. JIM STEINMAN, veteran of multi-platinum MEAT LOAF albums and associations with BILLY SQUIER and BONNIE TYLER, was drafted in but after a stormy two months of recording the tapes were scrapped and DEF LEPPARD started again from scratch with 'High n' Dry' engineer Nigel Green.

1985 to 1990

Tragedy struck the band out of the blue in January 1985 when Rick Allen had an horrific accident. The drummer crashed his Corvette Stingray just outside his home town of Sheffield resulting in the loss of an arm. Specialist microvascular surgeons made an attempt to sew it back on but this failed. Many thought that Allen would have to retire, but after contemplation both he and the band carried on. With DEF LEPPARD being in the position where they needed to capitalise on the enormous success of 'Pyromania' the band's determination to stick with Allen showed they were made of stern stuff. Allen had a purpose built electronically aided kit built and the band once again resumed recording. However, once more these recordings were shelved and in the summer of 1985 Lange returned to produce over the next two years what would be the band's biggest selling album; 'Hysteria'.

Unfortunately Allen's injury would mean that a prestigious offer to join Bob Geldof's mammoth 'Live Aid' benefit had to be turned down. Around this period a record titled 'First Strike' was released. A collection of early demos, the band quickly placed an injunction on the label that had released it thus withdrawing it from sale.

As work continued on 'Hysteria' the band opted to return to live work in 1986 having already agreed to play at the European 'Monsters Of Rock' festivals. The original intention had been to draft in STATUS QUO drummer Jeff Rich to complement the still recovering Rick Allen. However, after doubling up for a few low-key shows Rich's schedule with STATUS QUO and DEF LEPPARD (both were on tour at the same time) resulted in him collapsing of exhaustion at a LEPPARD gig in Waterford. Allen had to go alone and performed well enough for Rich's services to be no longer required; Rick going on to play the 'Monsters Of Rock' shows without the need for back-up.

Back in the studio, further delays recording 'Hysteria' ensued with Elliott contracting a dose of mumps as 1986 drew to a close. The year ended badly when Mutt Lange suffered a car crash on the way to the studio. To the relief of all concerned by January 1987 the album was finally finished, although further mixing and recording of additional tracks saw the release delayed until August, a staggering four and a half years after it's illustrious predecessor.

The band resumed touring on the eve of 'Hysteria's release by performing three low key shows in Holland before embarking on their world tour proper with a Dublin show on August 27th 1987.

The first American single, 'Women', proved a bad choice and the album - released at a time when competition was strong from acts such as WHITESNAKE, MÖTLEY CRÜE and POISON - was slow to sell at first. However, with the successful release of the second American single 'Pour Some Sugar On Me', 'Hysteria' finally began to show it's sales potential taking a long climb of over 49 weeks to claw it's way up the American charts to number 1. The album re-charted globally, even making it to no.1 in Australia a full two years after it's initial release, and clocked up over 15 million sales!

The American tour, lasting until November 1988, was noted for it's duration and the first full scale tour use of a central 'In The Round' stage.

1991 to 1993

Just as DEF LEPPARD now reached the dizzy heights of truly global success the band took another hard blow. Steve Clark, battling against alcohol and substance abuse, died in his sleep in London on 8th January 1991 having mixed anti-depressants and painkillers with drink. A subsequent inquest determined the guitarist had ingested 250mg of alcohol and his body contained traces of morphine, valium and painkillers. With the group having commenced work on new album 'Adrenalize', Clark had known to have been in rehabilitation programmes in a bid to cure his problem to no avail.

At first the band carried on as a quartet, determined to complete the new record, an album that had found them with no desire to wait for Mutt Lange to finish producing BRYAN ADAMS' 'Waking Up The Neighbours' set. Instead they opted to use 'High n' Dry' and 'Hysteria' mixer Mike Shipley as producer, although he was to suffer the misfortune of being struck with Hepatitis in the final stages of recording. Collen took time out to produce the 'On The Edge' album for Australian Rockers BB STEAL.

DEF LEPPARD finally released 'Adrenalize' in March 1992 (it debuted in the US charts at number 1, staying lodged there for five weeks and soon racked up over six million sales) a month before announcing the identity of Steve Clark's replacement.

Much rumour mongering in the press predicted that ex TYGERS OF PAN TANG, THIN LIZZY and WHITESNAKE guitarist JOHN SYKES or Phil Collen's erstwhile GIRL colleague GERRY LAFFY would get the job. However, in reality DEF LEPPARD had got the candidature down to two men, former MAGNUM / DAVID BYRON guitarist ROBIN GEORGE and ex SWEET SAVAGE, DIO, WHITESNAKE and SHADOWKING guitarist Vivian Campbell. It was the latter who secured the position, George walking off with an expensive guitar as consolation prize.

DEF LEPPARD broke Campbell into live work with a discreet club show at Dublin McGonagles on April 15 1992 prior to performing at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert at Wembley three days later.

LEPPARD's subsequent British tour, highlighted for the first time in the country by the 'In The Round' stage set and support act GUN, was preceded by low key European club dates. The band would then hit America again in earnest later in the year. The 'Adrenalize' tour lasted some fifteen months in total and including a triumphant return to British shores in June 1993 with a hometown show at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium supported by THUNDER, UGLY KID JOE and TERRORVISION.

Amusingly, at a show in Germany in May the band got into an altercation with Glenn Danzig of US outfit DANZIG with tales of blows being exchanged after the singer was alleged to have verbally insulted Vivian Campbell's wife.

Whilst on the road the band had been asked to contribute a song for the soundtrack to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie 'Last Action Hero'. Unable to make time to record new material the band contributed an old British single B side, 'Two Steps Behind', which soon became another hit single in America.

The success of 'Two Steps Behind' saw DEF LEPPARD's enthusing over the release of 'Retroactive', a collection of former single B sides and rarities. Although a stop gap release 'Retroactive' still sold over two million copies after its release in October '93.

A lengthy break followed the last 'Adrenalize' show in Mexico during September 1993 punctuated by Elliott and Collen's performance at a benefit concert to remember Joe's hero, ex SPIDERS OF MARS guitarist MICK RONSON.

1994 to 2007

1994 started with a further hit for the band, although not an original. DEF LEPPARD's rousing cover of the SWEET track 'Action', from the band's collective 'best of' release 'Vault', charted world-wide. Joe Elliot took time out to contribute a vocal to a new MICK RONSON single 'Don't Look Down', the singer having earlier lent his weight to a tribute concert at Hammersmith Apollo.

In July DEF LEPPARD began recording 'Slang' in Spain, a record that eventually surfaced two years later and found the band taking on a totally contemporary vibe. Despite showing a marked maturity in the songwriting department in terms of raw sales it was paradoxically to be their undoing. However, one place where DEF LEPPARD was continuing to make strides was far flung India with 'Work It Out' reaching number 3 in the charts following up on 'When Love And Hate Collide', which reached number 2.

The band undertook a hugely ambitious feat on October 23rd 1995, scoring a coveted entry in the Guinness Book Of World Records. Within a duration of just 24 hours, no less than three continents - Africa, Europe and North America - hosted the group for a live performance, setting an unequalled record. All three concerts reached the hour mark at least, while accounting attendance figures of a modest 200 or in excess. Initial proceedings kickstarted at 12.23am in Morocco, then a jet flight to honour the London commitment, eventually concluding in Vancouver, Canada on the very same day at 11.33pm.

VIVIAN CAMPBELL founded a side project titled CLOCK in 1997 with former NO SWEAT keyboard player P.J. Smith, bassist Mark Browne and FOREIGNER drummer Mark Schulman. Both Alvarez and Browne exited after initial demos, the bass position then being handed to Sasha Krivstov, a veteran of multi-platinum Russian band VERESENIA. CLOCK issued a very limited edition self-titled record in 1998.

1999 had DEF LEPPARD coming full circle with the 'Euphoria' album. Not only did its title hark back to past glories but the sleeve graphics by Andi Airfix were resurrected as were most importantly the trademark snappy Pop-Rock formulas that had made the band a multi-platinum force to start with. One unexpected feature of the album though was the inclusion of former Formula One world champion Damon Hill adding a guitar solo to the first track 'Demolition Man'. Ricky Warwick of THE ALMIGHTY also guested. The record also included the Campbell composition 'To Be Alive', actually a re-work of a track from his CLOCK project. 'Euphoria' sold exceptionally well and DEF LEPPARD soon re-secured sales and chart placings that they had become accustomed to.

Campbell took time out to add guest guitar to GRAHAM BONNET's 'The Day I Went Mad' album and also found side project L.A. ZOO for the 2000 album 'Led Boots'. Meantime Collen and Elliott founded the MICK RONSON tribute act CYBERNAUTS together with DAVID BOWIE compatriots drummer Woody Woodmansey and bassist Trevor Bolder, the latter a present day URIAH HEEP man. Collen would also divert himself by performing on a version of 'Back In Black' for an AC/DC tribute album.

The same year the bandwagon of tribute albums finally reached the DEF LEPPARD camp with Deadline Records issuing 'Leppardmania', performed in the main by WARRANT men bassist Jerry Dixon and guitarist Eric Turner, L.A. GUNS guitarist Tracii Guns and MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Randy Castillo.

As the world awaited a new DEF LEPPARD outing it emerged that Campbell had also taken time out to reunite with ROB LAMOTHE and his other original RIVERDOGS cast for a reformation. Campbell would also guest on ROB LAMOTHE's 2001 solo album.

DEF LEPPARD were resume live action with a one-off show at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul in Korea on the 12th of November as part of the lead up to the Football World Cup Festival. However, these gigs would be cancelled at the eleventh hour. The same month it would be announced that Vivian Campbell had formed a studio alliance with Lemmy of MOTȪRHEAD and KISS drummer Eric Singer to record a version of KISS' 'Shout It Out Loud' for a movie soundtrack.

DEF LEPPARD's latest album, 'X', arrived in late July 2002, British and Japanese variants boasting two extra tracks in 'Kiss The Day' and an acoustic take on 'Long, Long Way To Go'. The album saw production credits going to an unusual number of personnel in Pete Woodruffe, Marti Frederiksen, Andreas Carlsson, and Per Aldeheim. Included on the record would be the track 'Unbelievable', penned by the hit Pop songwriting axis of Aldeheim, Carlsson and Martin. British journalist would be in for a treat quite literally as promotion copies came supplied with a free tin of DEF LEPPARD 'Xtra strong' mints!

'X' broke into the Billboard album charts at no. 11, shifting over 70'000 copies in its first week of release. That same week DEF LEPPARD's combined global album sales passed the 45 million sales mark and 'Vault' went to no. 1 in the Billboard catalogue charts. Quite incredibly 'Vault' had remained lodged in the top twenty for over seven years. After a run of introductory North American dates in September that band put in Japanese dates during November. Further exposure for the band would be lent from the unlikely source of MARIAH CAREY, the Pop Diva recording a cover version of DEF LEPPARD's 1981 hit ballad 'Bringin' On the Heartbreak' for her 'Charmbracelet' album.

DEF LEPPARD had a lengthy run of Japanese dates during November, supported by THE ALMIGHTY frontman RICKY WARWICK. UK shows would be set for February 2003. That summer the band received another burst of exposure from an unlikely source when American dance act QED took on 'Love Bites' as a cover version. Back on North American soil DEF LEPPARD proved they could still compete by pulling in healthy audiences to an extended Summer trek. A short break in early September preceded a two week run of Canadian gigs before a further lengthy batch of US shows into early October and another UK headline tour. Much to fans glee DEF LEPPARD was joined by QUEEN's BRIAN MAY for a take on the QUEEN classic 'Tie Your Mother Down' during the finale of the band's performance at the London Apollo Hammersmith. The concert, held on Rick Allen's 40th birthday of 31st October, would also be marked by the drummer's mother, who wandered out on stage to present her son with a cake to the strains of 'Happy birthday' from the London audience. The DEF LEPPARD extravaganza then rolled on with European shows taking in Russia in late November.

A further surprising DEF LEPPARD cover arrived in early 2004 when Italian symphonic Power Metal band SKYLARK, led by female singer Kiara, tackled 'When Love And Hate Collide' on their 'Wings' album. Joe Elliott took time out in early 2004 to collaborate with DAVID BOWIE touring guitarist EARL SLICK on his 'Zig Zag' album, guesting as vocalist on the track 'Psycho Twang'. The covers saga continued as DEF LEPPARD themselves crafted a whole album's worth of classic 70s Rock standards as their next offering. An "Exclusive" internet report purported to have the band ambitiously tackling THIN LIZZY's 'The Rocker', QUEEN's 'Sheer Heart Attack', SLADE's 'Lock Up Your Daughters', MOTT THE HOOPLE's 'Thunderbuck Ram', DAVID BOWIE's 'Heroes', BADFINGER's 'Icicles', GARY GLITTER's 'I'm The Leader Of The Gang', SWEET's 'Ballroom Blitz', GEORDIE's 'Under The Roof Of Love', BRYAN FERRY's 'Let's Stick Together', MUD's 'Hypnosis', ROD STEWART's 'It's All Over Now' and T-REX's 'Slider'. However, Joe Elliott subsequently shot down this track list as it would be revealed the first letter of each track title in fact spelled 'This Is Bullshit'!

On March 12th both Joe Elliott and Rick Savage donated their services to the 'Sincerely Sheffield' charity gig in their hometown. As the band persevered with their new album another unexpected cover version came to prominence as Country & Western band MALIBU STORM tackled 'Photograph'. Their version promptly landed at No. 10 on the Billboard Country Singles Sales chart in its first week of release.

August of 2004 saw the Recording Industry Association of America certifying the 1983 'Pyromania' album with Diamond status in recognition of 10 million US sales. Shortly after it would be revealed that a compilation was to precede any new studio album. Entitled 'Best Of Def Leppard' for Europe and 'Super Vault' in the USA, this collection would comprise a different track listing for each territory. Some variants also added a newly recorded cover version of THE KINKS 'Waterloo Sunset', the band subsequently acknowledging they had also tried out 'You Really Got Me' and 'All Day And All Of The Night'. Naturally a DVD would accompany this release. Within just two weeks of sales 'Best Of' had attained gold sales status in the UK. A subsequent North American release, in May of 2005, saw the collection re-billed 'Rock Of Ages'.

On 21st November Joe Elliott made a surprise appearance with the SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND at the Boardwalk in Sheffield. During the encore, the band and Joe performed 'Boston Tea Party', this being taped and filmed for future release. The singer put in another impromtu showing in December, as he joined singer Emm Gryner at her show at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin for a duet on DEF LEPPARD's 'Pour Some Sugar On Me'. Meantime, Vivian Campbell made a recording guest appearance with New York based female singer/songwriter CASH CASIA, on the album 'From The Mouth Of Babes'. Rick Savage had more fiscal concerns on his mind, putting his Sheffield mansion Holmwood House on the market for a cool 2.45 million.

In early 2005 DEF LEPPARD revealed they had put down 22 cover songs for the 'Yeah!' album. The list included ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA's '10538 Overture', T-REX's '21st Century Boy', THIN LIZZY's 'Don't Believe A Word', DAVID BOWIE's 'Drive In Saturday', BLONDIE's 'Hanging On The Telephone', SWEET's 'Hellraiser', JOHN KONGOS' 'He's Gonna Step On You Again', BADFINGER's 'No Matter What', FREE's 'Little Bit Of Love', DAVID ESSEX's 'Rock On', THE FACES 'Stay With Me', ROXY MUSIC's 'Street Life', MOTT THE HOOPLE's 'The Golden Age Of Rock & Roll', THE KINKS 'Waterloo Sunset', TOM PETTY's 'American Girl', JOBRAITH's 'Heartbeat', SLADE's 'How Does It Feel', MC5's 'Kick Out The Jams', THE POLICE's 'Roxanne', QUEEN's 'So Dear Friends', McGUINNESS FLINT's 'When I'm Dead And Gone' and LINDISFARNE's Winter Song'.

A brand new DEF LEPPARD related project, MAN-RAZE, initiated during July 2004, was founded by guitarist Phil Collen and his former GIRL colleague bassist Simon Laffy together with Paul Cook of the SEX PISTOLS on drums. A debut album would be recorded during early 2005. Meantime, Vivian Campbell entered the recording studio in April to cut a Blues based solo album, working with Terry Bozzio on drums, Mark Browne on bass, Michael Fell on "Mississippi saxophone" and Tor Hyams on keyboards.

DEF LEPPARD joined forces with BRYAN ADAMS for Summer 2005 dates across the US, novelly avoiding the regular concert venues and instead seeing the co-headlining stint journeying through America's ball-park stadiums. Released beforehand would be the compilation 'Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection', this release including the cover of BADFINGER's 'No Matter What'. The record sold over 64,000 copies in its first week of US sale to debut at no. 10 on the Billboard charts. That same month the Recording Industry Association of America revealed DEF LEPPARD had sold over 33 million albums in the USA and by July the Recording Industry Association of America bestowed a gold sales award on 'Rock Of Ages' for shipments in excess of 500,000 copies. Meantime, Nu-Metal band TAPROOT sampled DEF LEPPARD's 'Foolin' for their latest single 'Calling'.

Further US gigging into June witnessed dates supported by TESLA. DEF LEPPARD, sharing the stage with LINKIN PARK and BON JOVI, would also be chosen as one of the leading US Rock acts to appear as part of Bob Geldof's global poverty awareness concerts, entitled 'Live 8', on in Philadelphia.

In July details surfaced on VIVIAN CAMPBELL's debut solo album. The Blues orientated 'Two Sides Of If', issued in September, comprised Blues standards such as WILLIE DIXON's 'I Ain't Superstitious' and 'Spoonful', FLEETWOOD MAC's 'Like It This Way' and 'Willin' For Satisfaction', RORY GALLAGHER's 'Calling Card' and MEL LONDON's 'Messin' With The Kid'. Studio guests included ZZ TOP's Billy Gibbons, singer Joan Osbourne, and former FRANK ZAPPA and MISSING PERSONS drummer Terry Bozzio. Meantime, Joe Elliott featured as a guest of DEEP PURPLE vocalist IAN GILLAN's 40th anniversary album 'Gillan's Inn'.

A major change behind the scenes saw DEF LEPPARD notably parting ways with Q-Prime Management, the partnership of Peter Mensch and Cliff Bernstein that had represented the band for over two decades, moving over to Trudy Green at HK Management. US DEF LEPPARD gigs in September saw RICKY WARWICK as support. A second leg of dates in partnership with BRYAN ADAMS followed in October.

Band members participated in a world record breaker with an act of charity later that year. In response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster BRYAN ADAMS initiated the signing of a white Fender Stratocaster guitar by a host of guitar legends and Rock stars. Amongst the fellow signees would be LED ZEPPELIN's JIMMY PAGE, Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC, BRIAN MAY of QUEEN, Ritchie Blackmore of RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards from the ROLLING STONES, ERIC CLAPTON, DAVID GILMOUR, JEFF BECK, Pete Townshend of THE WHO, Mark Knopfler, Ray Davies, Liam and Noel Gallagher of OASIS, Paul McCartney, Sting, and BRYAN ADAMS himself. Quite incredibly the instrument was auctioned in November for a staggering $1.6 million dollars, proceeds of which went to the 'Reach Out To Asia' foundation.

Word arrived in January 2006 that Joe Elliott was featured as guest singer on RONNIE MONTROSE's album 'Ronnie Montrose and Friends: 10x10'. Meantime, 'Rock Of Ages' hit the platinum sales marker in March. The band performed at the first annual VH1 'Rock Honors' televised show, to "salute the groundbreaking bands of rock, the once-in-a-lifetime events and the influential people who made a lasting mark on the history of hard rock", held on May 26th at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Events Center to pay tribute to the achievements of KISS, QUEEN, DEF LEPPARD and JUDAS PRIEST. THE ALL AMERICAN REJECTS delivered their rendition of 'Photograph' before DEF LEPPARD got onstage for 'Rock Of Ages' and 'Rocket'.

Summer US shows witnessed a co-headliner with JOURNEY. Dates quickly sold out and a further leg was quickly announced. Upfront promotion for the 'Yeah!' album found DEF LEPPARD taking a modern route, issuing the 'Rock On' single only via download through i-Tunes then issuing an EP, hosting non-album tracks, exclusively through Wal-Mart stores. This release included demos TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS 'American Girl', performed by Joe Elliott, Vivian Campbell and Mark Danzeisen, THE STOOGES 'Search And Destroy' by Phil Collen, DAVID BOWIE's 'Space Oddity' by Joe Elliott, QUEEN's 'Dear Friends' by Rick Savage and JOBRIATH's 'Heartbeat' by Joe Elliott accompanied by a piano and cello player.

In addition, i-Tunes carried a further bonus track 'How Does It Feel' whilst Target Records copies were bolstered by exclusive cuts 'Action (Live 2005)' and 'When I'm Dead And Gone' and people purchasing 'Yeah!' from Best Buy stores scored a version with another variation of extra material 'No Matter What (Live)' and 'Winter Song'.

Unfortunately, 'Yeah!' entered the UK charts at a paltry number 52, the band's worst ever chart placing in their homeland. It fared considerably better in the USA where the album sold over 42,000 copies in its first week of sale to land at number 16. However, the band's co-headline tour with JOURNEY pulled in healthy audiences and a further run of dates was extended into late October to cope with demand.

VIVIAN CAMPBELL also featured on a metalized version of THE BEATLES 'Revolution' for the Restless Records tribute album 'Butchering The Beatles' released in October 2006, this track also involving guitarist Billy Gibbons from ZZ TOP, Mike Porcaro of TOTO on bass and Gregg Bisonnette of the DAVID LEE ROTH band on drums.

As the co-headline tour with JOURNEY rolled on as one of the most successful US tours of the year, DEF LEPPARD took time out to perform the hit 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' on October 13th prior to a show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. For the encore performance of 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' that night they would be joined by Country & Western star TIM McGRAW.

2007 touring plans signalled package dates with STYX across North America. In March Joe Elliott revealed an album working title of 'Sparkle Lounge'. Their US tour unfolded on June 27th in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Riverbend Music Center and spread all the way through until late September.

On 7th November 2008 the band featured on the successful TV series 'CMT Crossroads' collaboaring with Country star Taylor Swift. Filmed in front of a standing-room only audience in Nashville, Joe Elliott and Swift duetted on 'Photograph', 'Hysteria', 'Pour Some Sugar On Me', 'Picture To Burn' and 'Love Story'. That same month the group performed in Australia and New Zealand.

DEF LEPPARD received three first-round CMT Award nominations in April 2009, being nominated for its performance of 'Photograph' with TAYLOR SWIFT, from 'CMT Crossroads: Def Leppard and Taylor Swift'; one for 'CMT Performance Of The Year' and the other for 'Wide Open Country Video Of The Year'. Their collaboration with Tim McGraw on 'Nine Lives' also received a nomination as the 'Wide Open Country Video Of The Year'. The group was also named as performers, along with KEITH URBAN, TAYLOR SWIFT, SUGARLAND, BRAD PAISLEY, RASCAL FLATTS and TOBY KEITH, for the 2009 'CMT Music Awards' which premiered live on Tuesday, 16th June.

Summer 2009 US shows had the group packaged with POISON and CHEAP TRICK. These dates defied all industry trends to report back exceptionally strong ticket sales, and a second leg of shows was duly added. However, the group was scheduled for third leg, to commence on 22nd October, but then put out a statement curtailing the tour, explaining this as "Due to unforeseen personal matters" and "We know how truly blessed we are to have such committed fans," said the band in a statement. "That's why we've agonized over this decision. Even if just a single concert, we don't take cancelling shows lightly, but unfortunately life's commitments need to be the priority."

Garry Sharpe-Young

Copyright Musicdetector Websites 2009

Discography

Album


SONGS FROM THE SPARKLE LOUNGE 2008

YEAH! 2006

X 2002

EUPHORIA 1999

SLANG 1996

RETROACTIVE 1993

ADRENALIZE 1992

HYSTERIA 1987

FIRST STRIKE 1985

PYROMANIA 1983

HIGH N' DRY 1981

ON THROUGH THE NIGHT 1980

Single/EP


Yeah! EP 2006

Long, Long Way To Go 2003

Now 2002

Goodbye 1999

Promises 1999

Slang (Single) 1996

All I Want Is Everything 1996

Work It Out 1996

Breathe A Sigh 1996

When Love And Hate Collide 1995

Tonight 1993

Two Steps Behind 1993

Action 1993

Heaven Is 1993

Make Love Like A Man 1992

Have You Ever Needed Someone 1992

Let's Get Rocked 1992

Stand Up 1992

Rocket 1989

Rocket (Lunar Mix) 1989

Armageddon It 1988

Women 1987

Love Bites 1987

Pour Some Sugar On Me 1987

Hysteria (Single) 1987

Animal 1987

Llevarlo En La Desilusion 1984

Bringin On The Heartbreak 1984

Rock Of Ages 1983

Photograph 1983

Too Late For Love 1983

Foolin' 1983

Me And My Wine 1982

Bringin' On The Heartbreak 1981

Let It Go 1981

Rock Brigade 1980

Wasted 1979

Def Leppard EP 1979

Hello America 1979

Getcha Rocks Off 1979

Ride Into The Sun 1979

Visual


CMT CROSSROADS - TAYLOR SWIFT & DEF LEPPARD 2009

LIVE IN JAPAN - EUPHORIA TOUR 2009

ROCK POWER DOCUMENTARY UNAUTHORISED 2009

ROCK OF AGES (DVD) 2009

HYSTERICAL PYROMANIAC INTERVIEWS 2007

ROCK BRIGADE (DVD) 2005

ROCK OF AGES - THE DVD COLLECTION 2005

PYRO-GRAPHIC 2004

BEST OF THE VIDEOS 2004

CLASSIC ALBUMS - HYSTERIA 2002

HISTORIA / IN THE ROUND IN YOUR FACE 2002

VISUALIZE / VIDEO ARCHIVE 2002

HYSTERIA - THE DEF LEPPARD STORY 2001

VIDEO ARCHIVE 1995

VISUALIZE 1993

IN THE ROUND IN YOUR FACE 1989

HISTORIA 1988

Compilation


ROCK OF AGES - THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION 2005

BEST OF 2004

LIVE IN SINGAPORE 1996

VAULT 1995

Promotion


Rock On 2006

Now (Promo) 2002

Day After Day 1999

Slang (Promo) 1996

When Love And Hate Collide (Promo) 1995

In The Clubs...In Your Face 1993

Let's Get Rocked (Promo) 1992

Photograph (Promo) 1992

Elected 1992

Animal (Promo) 1987

Love Bites (Promo) 1987

Women (Edit) 1987

Def Leppard (Demo 1979) 1979