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You Wanted the Best...Number Two

usablesavviv_wm.JPGOur top ten glam band countdown continues. Here’s what we’ve got so far:

10) Badlands
09) Winger
08) Twisted Sister
07) L.A. Guns
06) Bon Jovi
05) Poison
04) Guns n' Roses
03) Hanoi Rocks

In the second spot...Def Leppard.

While I literally flipped a coin to determine number two and number one on this list, you can’t deny the mighty Leps importance to glam. From the roots of Girl thanks to Phil Collen to the unbelievable success of Pyromania and Hysteria, Def Leppard are massively important for so many reasons.

My sweet Def Leppard formed in Sheffield, England at the end of the 1970s. In the beginning, Def Leppard was known as Atomic Mass, featuring bassist Rick Savage, guitarist Pete Willis and drummer Tony Kenning. Joe Elliot auditioned and won the lead singer position. In a 1980s interview with MTV, Rick Savage explained how the band went from Atomic Mass to Def Leppard. In short, it was Joe Elliot’s dream to have a band named Def Leppard. The young Elliot even made posters for his imaginary band. The other guys agreed on the name, and Def Leppard was born.

Changes occurred when guitarist Steve Clark joined the band and Tony Kenning quit. With the help of a session drummer, the band released The Def Leppard EP which forever remains on my dream record list.

Drummer Rick Allen joined shortly before 1979, and guitarist Phil Collen replaced Pete Willis after the release of On Through the Night and High n’ Dry.

By now, the world knows that super producer Mutt Lange joined up with the band to work on Pyromania. After that record hit, Def Leppard were superstars. A phenomenally good album, it contains two essential glam tracks no Metal fan should be without: “Too Late for Love” and “Die Hard the Hunter.” Yes, “Photograph” and “Foolin’” are also considered essentials, but sometimes deeper cuts are the way to go.

In the time between the Pyromania sessions and the release of Hysteria, the band experienced massive highs and lows. The members were millionaires, but Steve Clark was slipping deeper in alcoholism and there was the pesky crash that took Rick Allen’s left arm. It was during this time that Def Leppard proved to be an ultimate glam band: they stuck together, giving the world a lesson in true friendship.

Hysteria, while highly commercial, is the end result of years of studio work. Most people love to slag Hysteria. That’s all well and good, except that it’s the soundtrack for a generation. For this alone, they deserve an induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

You might not believe this, but I listen to at least one song from Hysteria every single day. It’s great for the gym and cheers when me I’m down. My favorites are “Love and Affection,” “Hysteria,” “Gods of War” and “Animal.”

Somewhere along the way, music snobs decided it was uncool to have a massively successful single like “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” While it’s acceptable for the rest of us to have career defining moments, forget about a Metal band producing commercial rock.

Thanks to Hysteria, Def Leppard is forever cemented in the history of glam as one of the most important acts of the genre. Even after the death of Steve Clark in 1991, Def Leppard forged ahead. Guitarist Vivian Campbell joined the band about a year after Clark's death.

Just like Poison, Def Leppard is always consistent live. They put on a great show and know their audience. Yes, we want to hear the big hits but we also want to hear some of the really early songs too. Plus, Rick Savage ranks just above Bobby Dall on my hot list. (Yes boys and girls, my entire “hot list” is comprised of glam bassists).

Here’s Def Leppard performing “Wasted” live in 1983.

Don't agree with my choice? Come back tomorrow and see who lands at number one on the ten best glam bands of all time list.


Reader Comments (13)

Yes! I was right on #2!

I'll give you that the Leps had a touch of glam in them, especially with the Hysteria release but they were a solid NWOBHM band for their first 3 records. That's how I prefer to remember them.

Heavy Metal Addiction
I couldn't agree more with everything you said here. I too listen to at least one song off of Hysteria every day. Especially "Love And Affection". That album is one of my absolute "all-time" favourites.

I miss Steve Clark so much.

My "hot list" is mostly made of glam bassists as well, hehehe.
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie
Lep is a great band and deserves this spot. I of course would have Kix number one on my list, but I would assume Motley comes in at number 1, which is also a great pick.
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKixRules
I could take or leave Def Leppard. But, I beleive they put on a great live show. I also admire how they productively forged on through so much tragedy.
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
If I were a guessing man.....

Motley Crue will be #1. Yea!
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRob Rockitt
wheres my old band?? pretty boy floyd. lol

im looking for a new band..anyone need a drummer???
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterscotti d
Def Leppard kinda falls in the Bon Jovi category for me. They appear to be ashamed of their glam past, looking to the adult contemporary crowd nowadays. And they were LAME the last couple times I saw them live.
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
I know that Mötley is going to be nr1, you have totaly forgotten Cinderella, they are mutch bigger and better then Badlands?
Shame on you!
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterVince
My list

10.Easy Action
9.Bon Jovi
8.Def Leppard
7.W.A.S.P(well they are glam/shockrock)
4.Hanoi Rocks
3.Guns N Roses
2.Newyork Dolls
1.Mötley Crüe
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterVince
I would take out WASP and Easy Action and replace them with Britny Fox and RATT
December 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBillyKiss
Allyson, you are doing good job with your list. Def Leppard is a good pick.

I'll make a list of my own too:

10) Def Leppard
9) Whitesnake
8) Guns N' Roses
7) Ratt
6) Twisted Sister
4) Cinderella
3) Bon Jovi
2) Poison
1) Motley Crue

December 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
I'm on the fence about classifying Def Leppard as a "glam" band, as I am about labelling them as "hair metal," but when you've got a band that's more focused on belting out the hits than an image, it's just flat-out good ol' rock and roll to me! However, their glam roots do run much deeper than Girl. They are all huge fans of the founding era, just take a mere glimpse at their 2006 covers album <i>Yeah!</i>. Joe Elliott has the biggest hard-on for Bowie and Mott, and everyone knows it! I think that is their biggest contribution to glam, and that is giving back to the forefathers. Love them though. They should be at least #2 on many lists.
December 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterlesh
While I appreciate your love of Lep, being a die hard Lep fan myself, Lep was not glam. Yeah, they did the big hair.. but they weren't glam.
December 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTyk

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