Def Leppard was one if not the biggest band of the 1980s. They became a household name around the same time MTV was finding it’s footing in pop culture, and throughout the decade help usher in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
Formed in 1977, the band released their first two albums On Through the Night (1980) and High ‘n’ Dry (1981). One of the single released during that period was “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak”. Its video would be one of the first metal videos played on MTV. But it wouldn’t be until 1983, when things really exploded. Def Leppard released Pyromania, which would spawn the classics “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin”. The album sold over ten million copies in the US, where it peaked at number two behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
As the band prepared to record the follow-up, a mishap would occur. In 1984, drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in a car accident, and the fourth album (which would be titled Hysteria) would be delayed for over three years. But in that period, Allen famously overcome his injury, as his legs did some of the drumming work previously done with arms, and when Hysteria was finally released in 1987, it would make another huge splash, topping the US albums charts and yielding some the band biggest hits including the number two single “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and the chart-topping single “Love Bites”.
Tragedy struck Def Leppard in 1991 with the death of guitarist Steve Clark. However the band soldiered on with guitarist Vivian Campbell, and more albums followed including 1992’s Adrenalize (which became the band’s second number one album), 2002’s X, and 2008’s Songs From the Sparkle Lounge.
Def Leppard is regarded as one of the catalyst for the 1980’s pop-metal movement, and the most successful. Pyromania and Hysteria were both regarded as among the top 500 greatest albums of all time, according to Rolling Stone, and they are one of the five rock bands with two or more diamond-certified albums, joining the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Van Halen.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Def Leppard, eligible since 2005.