Originally formed in 1977 in Sheffield, England by five teenagers who really liked glam rock, Def Leppard became grouped with the NWOBHM before turning early-MTV pop-rock sweethearts. After kicking out a founding guitarist for too much drunken tomfoolery (Pete Willis), they released a well-received rock album (Pyromania
), lost another sixth of a member (Rick Allen's left arm), released a phenomenally successful pop-rock record (Hysteria
), which was essentially aiming to be "the hard rock version of Thriller
", then the other
original guitarist drank himself to death over the course of a few years (Steve Clark).
Best known for predicating a thirty-year career on the bawdy Chorus-Only Song
, "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and the terribly unfunny joke "What has nine arms and sucks?", they continue to release records (much more often than in their heyday) and do a world tour almost every year since 2003 despite becoming musical pariahs in the post-grunge
Recently the band have experienced something of a career resurgence with well received collaborations with Tim McGraw
and Taylor Swift
introducing them to a new audience.
They are one of only five bands to have two original (non-greatest hits or live) albums sell more than ten million copies each; the others being Van Halen
, The Beatles
, Led Zeppelin
, and Pink Floyd
. Musically, they are known for melodic dual lead guitarists, four-part harmonies both on record and live, and massively produced, Queen-esque albums.Members:
- Rick Allen plays drums on a custom kit built to bypass his disability.
- Vivian Campbell wrote and played the guitar parts on Dio's "Holy Diver" and moonlit (moonlighted?) as a member of Thin Lizzy.
- Phil Collen is in too good of shape for a man in his fifties.
- Joe Elliott never met a bad metaphor he didn't put in a song.
- Rick Savage used to be "the Cute One" (even getting name-checked to that end on Heroes).
- Steve Clark's playing style was largely influenced by Jimmy Page's playing
- Pete Willis who unfortunately let alcohol get the better of him and was fired. However he's since turned his life around and has said that the firing probably saved his life by making him face his problem.
"Rise up gather round burn these tropes to the ground":
Def Leppard were the subject of a Made-for-TV Movie
in 2001. Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story
follows the band's beginnings and rise to stardom, focusing especially on the alcoholism of both Pete Willis and Steve Clark and on Rick's accident. There's also a little something about Pyromania
in there somewhere.
This movie rocks the following tropes:
- The Alcoholic: Steve, so tragically much. Pete, not so tragically.
- The Determinator: Joe Elliott. Also "Mutt" Lange, once he shows up.
- Henpecked Boyfriend: Original drummer Tony Kenning is forced by his girlfriend to quit the band. In reality she was a factor, but not the only one or even the main one.
- How We Got Here: The film actually starts with the auto accident, then flashes back to the band's beginnings.
- I Meant to Do That: used no less than three times, all by Rick Allen:
- When first auditioning for the band, Rick plays in the style of several drummers, then falls off his drumstool. He's just imitating the drunken antics of Keith Moon.
- In a Call Back to the above: When first trying out his new electronic kit with the band after his accident, Rick can't get the timing right, gets frustrated and falls off his stool. He echoes the audition incident to reassure the band.
- Backstage at his first on-stage performance after the accident, Rick is practicing stick-twirls but drops the stick. After a dead silence falls over the room, Rick invokes the trope word for word.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The band's history is compressed into a tidy 90-minute package.
- Composite Character: Peter Mensch and Cliff Burnstein, the band's early managerial team, are compiled into one person.
- Satellite Character: Rick Savage is barely in the movie at all, and tends to just stand around when he is; he neither says nor does anything to drive the plot.
- Technician Versus Performer: played up with Steve and Phil's first guitar duel.
- Television Geography
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Steve, so tragically much.