The Latest Def Leppard News


Def Leppard Rocking Again With Self-Titled Album

Def Leppard entered the studio last year to write and record three or four new songs. At least that was the plan. "We'd been listening to everyone saying the album is dead," singer Joe Elliott said. "We said, 'Maybe we don't need to do an album, we'll just record a few songs and release them.' 

“Then all of the sudden things started flowing and we turned out 14 songs,” he said. “We were making a record without even realizing it. It was a fantastic experience.”

Def Leppard’s tour supporting the resulting self-titled effort includes dates at Jones Beach on Monday and in Holmdel on Wednesday.

“Def Leppard,” the English rockers’ 11th studio album, was released last October and hit No. 10 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. The disc is a solid set of the band’s signature melodic hard rock with pop sensibilities, full of arena-ready anthems like the opening one-two-punch of “Let’s Go” and “Dangerous.”

The songs’ huge, gang-vocal choruses recall 1980s hits such as “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Armageddon It.” Guitarist Phil Collen has said “Def Leppard” is the band’s best album since “Hysteria,” their 1987 mega-hit.

Elliott said the band doesn’t try to re-create the past, but also is proud of having crafted a signature sound. “We’re proud of who we are and we don’t hide that,” he said.

He added that Def Leppard also wears its influences on its sleeve. “We’re a hybrid of what we grew up listening to,” Elliott said. “On [“Def Leppard” song] “Man Enough” you can hear Queen. “Battle of My Own” is a bit Zeppelinesque.” “Forever Young” could sound like the Faces or Bowie.”

Def Leppard also includes longtime guitarists Collen and Vivian Campbell, and Elliott’s fellow original members Rick Savage on bass and Rick Allen on drums. Collen joined the band in 1982 while Campbell came onboard in 1992, following the death of Steve Clark a year earlier.

The band released its debut album, “On Through the Night,” in 1980. The album featured a raw sound that had more in common with heavy metal than melodic hard rock on highlights like “Rock Brigade” and “Wasted.”

Def Leppard began to define its sound on sophomore effort “High ‘n’ Dry,” which included the powerful melodic rocker “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.”

The band exploded into prominence with the release of their third album, “Pyromania,” in 1983. The record featured the No. 1 classic rock staples “Photograph” and “Rock of Ages” and has sold more than 10 million copies in America alone.

But the “Pyromania” era was also a scary time for Def Leppard. On New Year’s Eve 1984, Allen’s left arm was amputated following a car wreck. While many bands may have moved on with a new drummer, Def Leppard waited until Allen relearned to play drums with one arm using a custom electronic drum kit.

Three years later the band released its massive comeback, “Hysteria.” The No. 1 album included six Top 20 singles, including “Love Bites” (No. 1), “Pour Some Sugar on Me” (No. 2) and Armageddon It” (No. 3).

“Hysteria” hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and album sales have topped 12 million in America and 25 million worldwide. Follow-up “Adrenalize” (1992) also hit No. 1. The band’s later output includes “Euphoria” (1999), “X” (2002) and “Songs From the Sparkle Lounge” (2008).

Def Leppard was to have toured this past winter, but the shows, including a date in Brooklyn, were canceled after doctors ordered Elliott to rest his strained vocal chords.

The singer said his voice is back to normal and that he’s glad to be onstage again, especially now. “It’s always more fun performing this time of the year and playing outside,” he said.

Elliott said that he and his band mates’ camaraderie and modesty have helped Def Leppard to sustain their enthusiasm for making music and sticking together through tough times, including Allen’s injury, Clark’s death and Campbell’s recent bout with cancer.

“We’re not bothered about nonsense and we don’t follow any set rules,” Elliott said. “We’re musicians by accident and mates by default.”

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