Our top ten glam band countdown continues. Here’s what we’ve got so far:
08) Twisted Sister
07) L.A. Guns
06) Bon Jovi
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.