Complete List Of Def Leppard Band Members presents the lineup changes of an English rock band formed in Sheffield in 1977 that quickly rose to become one of the most recognizable names in rock history. Initially founded by Rick Savage (bass), Pete Willis (guitar), and Tony Kenning (drums), the lineup would soon be bolstered by Joe Elliott (vocals) and Steve Clark (guitar). Rick Allen would later replace Tony Kenning as the band’s drummer. The group initially garnered attention with their self-released debut EP, eventually securing a recording contract with Mercury Records.
Their debut album, On Through the Night (1980), showcased the band’s raw energy and put them on the map in the burgeoning New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. However, it was their next releases, High ‘N’ Dry (1981) and Pyromania (1983), that catapulted them to international stardom. By this point, Phil Collen had replaced Pete Willis, solidifying the group’s most iconic lineup. Pyromania was a commercial smash hit, featuring chart-topping singles like “Photograph” and “Rock of Ages,” and setting the stage for the band’s subsequent successes.
The 1987 release of Hysteria proved to be Def Leppard’s magnum opus. A painstakingly produced album that took years to make, Hysteria featured hits like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Love Bites.” It solidified Def Leppard’s reputation as one of the biggest rock bands of the era, even as it nearly drained them creatively and financially. Tragically, the band’s history is marred by the untimely death of guitarist Steve Clark in 1991. Vivian Campbell would later fill Clark’s role, beginning a new chapter for the band.
The 1990s and 2000s saw Def Leppard adapt to the changing musical landscape. Albums like Adrenalize (1992) and Euphoria (1999) could not replicate the monumental success of their ’80s output, but the band remained a popular touring act. They experimented with their musical style on albums like Slang (1996) and X (2002), dabbling in alternative rock and pop elements.
DEF LEPPARD BAND MEMBERS
Rick Savage, commonly known as “Sav,” is an original founding member of Def Leppard and hails from Sheffield, England. He joined the band in 1977 and plays bass guitar. He has been part of every Def Leppard album, starting with their debut album, On Through the Night (1980), all the way to their most recent work. Aside from his primary role as the bassist, he also has contributed backing vocals and has even played rhythm guitar on some tracks. Notably, he co-wrote the hit song “Animal” from the multi-platinum 1987 album Hysteria. Outside of Def Leppard, Savage has been relatively quiet in terms of other musical ventures, focusing primarily on his work with the band.
Joe Elliott is another founding member of Def Leppard and serves as the band’s lead vocalist. He is also from Sheffield, England, and has been with the band since its inception in 1977. He has featured on all of Def Leppard’s albums and is the band’s primary lyricist. Some of the hit songs he has penned include “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Love Bites,” both from the album Hysteria. Aside from his role in Def Leppard, Elliott has been involved in side projects such as the Down ‘n’ Outz, a Mott the Hoople cover band.
Rick Allen joined Def Leppard in 1978 as the drummer, taking over from Frank Noon. He was just 15 years old at the time and hails from Dronfield, England. Allen played a pivotal role in shaping the band’s sound and has been featured on all their albums. He is particularly well-known for his resilience and adaptation after losing his left arm in a car accident in 1984. Utilizing a custom drum set, he continued to perform with the band and was a key contributor to their landmark album Hysteria. Allen has also been involved in various philanthropic activities related to veterans and amputees.
Phil Collen, originally from London, England, joined Def Leppard in 1982, replacing original guitarist Pete Willis. Collen made his debut on the band’s third album, Pyromania (1983), which was a commercial breakthrough for the band. He has been a part of every subsequent Def Leppard album and is known for his backing vocals and dual lead guitar partnership with Steve Clark until Clark’s death in 1991. Collen is credited with co-writing many of the band’s hit songs, including “Rocket” and “Armageddon It.” Outside of Def Leppard, he has been involved in other projects like the bands Manraze and Delta Deep.
Vivian Campbell hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and joined Def Leppard in 1992, filling the void left by Steve Clark’s passing. He made his album debut with the band on Slang (1996). Campbell’s guitar work has been featured on all subsequent albums and he has also contributed backing vocals. Prior to joining Def Leppard, Campbell had an illustrious career, being a member of Dio and playing with other notable acts like Whitesnake and Riverdogs. While being an integral part of Def Leppard, Campbell has continued other musical endeavors, including rejoining his original bandmates from Dio in a project called Last In Line.
Tony Kenning was one of the original founding members of Def Leppard, joining the band in 1977. Hailing from Sheffield, England, Kenning was the band’s original drummer. However, his tenure with the band was short-lived, as he departed before the release of their debut album, On Through the Night. While his impact on the band’s discography is limited, he was instrumental in the early formation and the band’s initial direction. After leaving Def Leppard, Kenning essentially dropped off the radar in terms of mainstream musical involvement, and there is little information about subsequent projects he may have been involved in.
Pete Willis, also from Sheffield, England, was an original guitarist for Def Leppard, contributing to the band’s initial sound and style. He played on their first two albums, On Through the Night (1980) and High ‘N’ Dry (1981). Willis was a vital part of the band’s early success, lending his skills in both rhythm and lead guitar. However, due to alcohol-related issues, he was fired during the recording sessions for Pyromania in 1982 and replaced by Phil Collen. After his exit, Willis played with the bands Gogmagog and Roadhouse but never achieved the same level of commercial success he had with Def Leppard.
Steve Clark, another Sheffield native, was one of Def Leppard’s original guitarists, joining the band in 1978. He was a prominent songwriter and was responsible for many of the band’s early hits. Clark played on the first four Def Leppard albums, including the massively successful Pyromania (1983) and Hysteria (1987). Known for his melodic solos and intricate guitar work, Clark co-wrote hits like “Photograph,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Foolin’.” Tragically, he passed away in 1991 due to alcohol poisoning, marking an end to his influential role in the band. His guitar work remains a significant part of Def Leppard’s legacy. Before joining Def Leppard, Clark played in a few lesser-known bands, but it was his work with Def Leppard that solidified his status as one of rock’s influential guitarists.
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