"There were two bands in 80's struggling to be considered the leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal – Def Leppard and Iron Maiden", musician and actor Jack Black once said. However, Def Leppard have done well in this competition, becoming one of the most successfull rock bands throughout the 1980's, selling over 65 million albums worldwide. Moreover, Def Leppard is one of only five bands with two original albums selling over 10 million copies each in the U.S. (the others are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Van Halen).
The band was formed in 1977 by Rick Savage, Pete Willis and Tony Kenning under the name Atomic Mass. Later, Joe Eliott joined them, suggesting the name Def Leppard (spelling was distorted as an indirect homage to Led Zeppelin). Ironically, Eliott started as a guitarist, but later it was decided that he was better suited to be lead singer. After the release of their first albums, On Through the Night and High 'n' Dry (accordingly in March, 1980 and in June, 1981), the band developed a loyal following among British hard rock and heavy metal fans. But the next two albums, Pyromania (released in January, 1983) and Hysteria (released after a long break in August, 1987), brought them world-wide popularity, both selling over 10 million copies in U.S. By the release of these albums, the band developed a distinctive sound featuring heavy drums and effects-laden guitar sounds overlaid with a multi-layered wall of husky, harmonised vocals.
During the recording of Adrenalize album (released in March, 1992), the band's guitarist Steve Clark died from an alcohol poisoning (he was replaced by Vivian Campbell, formerly of Dio and Whitesnake). Next album, Slang (released in May, 1996), marked a musical departure for the band by featuring darker lyrics and an alternative rock edge. It received a very cold reaction from fans and critics, so the band returned to its classic sound with the album Euphoria (released in June, 1999). On September 2000, Def Leppard were inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame in Hollywood by their friend Brian May of Queen. Despite of it, their next album, simply titled X (released in July, 2002), was considered to be a step towards pop and further away from the band's hard rock roots, becoming the Def Leppard's least successful release. After the failure, Def Leppard released an all-covers album titled Yeah! in May, 2006. The disc consisted of classic rock songs of their childhood, originally recorded by ELO, Sweet, The Kinks, Blondie, Badfinger among others.The band's tenth album Songs From The Sparkle Lounge was released worldwide on April 2008. The first single was entitled Nine Lives and featured country singer Tim McGraw. In 2009 the album titled Pyromania (Deluxe Edition) was issued. It contains songs from Pyromania (1983) and records from band’s 1983 concert.
The band's latest album, entitled Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, was released worldwide on April 2008. The first single was entitled Nine Lives and featured country singer Tim McGraw.