With more than 100 million album sold worldwide during that time they are one of the biggest rock bands of all time and are continuing to tour and release records.
It was back in 1977 at a school in Sheffield when Rick Savage, Tony Kenning and Pete Willis came together for the very first time as Atomic Mass; Savage was on bass, Willis guitar and Kenning the drums.
Not long after the band formed Joe Elliott tried out, originally as a guitarist, but it was soon decided that he would be better suited on lead vocals.
It was Elliott who suggested the band change their name to Deaf Leppard but it was Kenning’s idea to alter the spelling to Def Leppard and the band was born.
There were comings and going over the next couple of years as Steve Clark joined on the guitar but Kenning left and was eventually replaced by Rick Allen - while all this was going on the band were enjoying success with the release of Def Leppard EP.
The band released their debut album On Through The Night in 1980 and while it was a top fifteen hit there was some concern that the band were trying to appeal to a U.S. audience.
Despite that the band was grabbing the attention of people inside the industry as Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange agreed to work on the band’s next album High ‘n’ Dry.
But it was to be their third album Pyromania, which was also produced by Lange, that really put Def Leppard on the rock and roll map.
By the time they were recording the record Pete Willis had been fired and he had been replaced by Phil Collen.
Photograph was the first track to been released of Pyromania it was a huge hit on MTV and then Rock of ages and Foolin’ followed. The album has sold 10 million copies in the U.S. alone and is certified Diamond.
The band moved to Dublin to start writing their follow-up album and while Lange was initially expected to produce her stepped away from the project and was replaced by Jim Steinman, who was behind Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf.
It took three years for Def Leppard to record Hysteria and in that time Lange had returned to produce while Rick Allen lost an arm in a car crash.
But Allen remained dedicated to the band and wished to stay on as their drummer - Jeff Rich was brought in to help Allen during a string of live dates but when he missed a gig Allen showed that he was ready to once again drum on his own.
It was 1987 when Hysteria was finally released and Animal was the first single from the record to be released. The track went on to be the band’s first top ten hit in the UK.
The album went on to spawn six further singles and sold 20 million copies worldwide; topping the chart in the UK.
Off the back of the album the band embarked on a hugely successful tour that lasted fifteen months and saw them play in the round.
The band started on their fifth album almost immediately but Steve Clark was battling with alcoholism; he died in January 1991 from an accidental mix of drink and prescription drugs.
Def Leppard decided to carry on as a four piece and they continued to work on the new album Adrenalize; which was a huge hit upon release. The album topped the charts in both the UK and the U.S. and Let’s Get Rocked was one of the biggest hits off the record.
By the mid nineties the musical landscape was beginning to change with the rise of grunge bands but Def Leppard continued to enjoy success with singles When Love & Hate Collide and Miss You In A Heartbeat.
By the end of the decade they had another hit album under their belt as Euphoria topped the rock charts in the States where it went gold.
In September 2000 the band were inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood but their album X proved to be the least successful of their career to date.
The band continued to tour and they released a greatest hits record before putting out Yeah! a covers album in 2006.
In 2008 the boys were back with some new material as they released Songs From The Sparkle Lounge and while it received mixed reviews from the public it did enter the Billboard 200 at number five.
Since the release of the album the band have continued to tour as they have toured with the likes of Heart and Motely Crue as well as playing at some of the biggest festivals.
Over the years Def Leppard have been behind some of the greatest rock tunes and their harmonic vocals and great guitar riffs have made them as popular today as they were at the height of their fame.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw