Throwback Video of the Week!

Throwback Video of the Week!

Throwback Video of the Week!

British rock band Def Leppard performing at the Channel 4 Christmas Show, UK, 12th December 1983; they are Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen, Steve Clark. (Photo by Rogers/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

True to its industrial roots, Def Leppard has always been a hardworking band. Between 1976 and 1979, the band steadily built a loyal following among Great Britain’s new wave of hard rock and heavy metal fans. Forty years later, they were named to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019. Let’s look at how Def Leppard got there with another edition of the Throwback Threesome.

Atomic Mass… Chemical Reactor… Deaf Leopard…

Forged in the UK’s steel-making city of Sheffield, the group was originally called Atomic Mass. In 1977, they briefly tried the name Chemical Reactor on for size. It was lead singer Joe Elliott who eventually proposed the name Deaf Leopard. That quickly evolved into Def Leppard.

Unlike most groups with long histories, Def Leppard went through relatively few lineup changes over the years. On their first two full-length albums, On Through the Night (1980) and High ‘n’ Dry (1981), the band featured Joe Elliott (lead vocals, backing vocals), Steve Clark (lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals), Pete Willis (lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals), Rick Savage (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Rick Allen (drums, backing vocals).

During the recording of 1983’s Pyromania album, Phil Collen replaced Pete Willis on guitar and backing vocals. A well-documented car accident cost drummer Rick Allen his left arm in 1984. It could have been the tragic end to a brilliant career, but Allen adapted to a new playing style and came back. The roster of Elliott, Clark, Savage, Allen, and Collen remained intact on 1987’s Hysteria.

Def Leppard Perseveres

Tragedy truly did strike when guitarist Steve Clark, who had been suffering from alcohol addiction since 1989, died in January 1991 while on leave from the band. Def Leppard’s 1992 release, Adrenalize, was recorded with only Elliott, Savage, Allen, and Collen. However, former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell joined soon after, in time to play on the compilation album, Retro Active (1993).

In 1992, Def Leppard solidified its current lineup of Rick Savage (bass, backing vocals), Joe Elliott (lead vocals), Rick Allen (drums), Phil Collen (guitar, backing vocals), and Vivian Campbell (guitar, backing vocals). Since then, the band has released seven studio albums, six compilation albums, and four live albums. They continue to sell out stadiums all over the world. As I said, they’ve always been a hardworking band.

Throwback Threesome: Def Leppard

  • Bringin' On The Heartbreak (1981)

    This power ballad was the second single from Def Leppard’s 1981 album High ‘n’ Dry. The video is a live recording of the band performing the song at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool, England. It was originally filmed as part of Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert television series which aired on ABC. Mariah Carey recorded a cover of “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” for her 2002 album, Charmbracelet.

  • Photograph (1983)

    The lead single from the band’s third studio album (Pyromania), “Photograph” was Def Leppard’s first song to top the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. Since its release, the song has been performed on every one of their tours. It’s usually the final song of the encore. According to Songfacts, lead singer Joe Elliott has sometimes dedicated “Photograph” to Marilyn Monroe when performing the song live. The video features several appearances by a Marilyn look-alike.

  • Pour Some Sugar On Me (1987)

    Released as the third single from Hysteria (1987), “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is considered Def Leppard’s signature song. It reached number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1988, and was ranked #2 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the 80s” in 2006. The video (below) American fans remember was recorded in concert at the former McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado. There’s also an earlier UK version which shows the band playing inside a mansion in Dublin, Ireland as it’s being demolished by a wrecking ball and sledgehammer-wielding female construction workers.

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