Despite an average age of only 18, Def Leppard burst onto the heavy metal scene in 1980 like a group of seasoned veterans. “This band frequently transcends the mundane through sheer musical energy and playing ability,” wrote Jim Schwartz in Guitar Player. In a genre known for cliched riffs and monotonous beats, these heavy metalheads have created a sound of their own while becoming one of the top-selling groups in rock ‘n’ roll. Tragedy has plagued the group throughout its 20-plus year history, but the band continues to write and record, finding success with almost every release.
The group’s five original members, Joe Elliott, Pete Willis, Steve Clark, Rick Savage, and Rick Allen, all lived in the steel-producing town of Sheffield, England. Before employment as a van driver, lead singer Elliott used to dream about forming a band in school, creating song lists, logos, and band names while others in his class were studying. “I figured out fairly early that I wasn’t gonna be a brain surgeon or a nuclear physicist,” he told Rolling Stone,“so I fantasized about rock and roll.”