Def Leppard carried with them a lot of weight. It seemed like once the band got it’s wheels rolling, the wheels began falling off. In between the release of their second album “High And Dry” and their third, “Pyromania”, guitarist Pete Willis’ problems with alcoholism led to his dismissal. He looked on, as his former bandmates released one of the most successful albums of the 1980’s. Willis was little more than a contributing songwriter with some tracks recorded in various locations on the album. After it’s release, drummer Rick Allen was involved in an alcohol related accident that cost him his left arm. Tragedy would still haunt the band, as their level of success rose even higher with the “Hysteria” album.
When work began on their 5th album, Adrenalize, Steve Clark’s problems with the bottle were pointing him in the same direction as his old pal Pete Willis. The band gave Clark a 6 month leave of absence so that they could continue working on the album, and so Clark could get his health together. Unfortunately on January 8, 1991, Steve Clark passed away from a combination of alcohol and prescription medication.
The band was never the same, fans were crushed, and one of their founding members was dead. Steve Clark was a great guitar player. That fact seems to be diluted in their popular success. They came to our attention as part of the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal”, but within 3 years of their first album, they were on the American Pop charts, a feat that their contemporaries like Iron Maiden, Saxon and Motorhead would accomplish. Not that they’d want to. Longtime fans lambasted the band for turning their back in their harder sound for a more accessible pop sound. After seeing the band in 1981 opening for “Ozzy Osbourne and The Blizzard Of Ozz”, I became a fan. I bought Pyromania and Hysteria the day they were released.
Today, I’ll spend some time listening to Def Leppard. A band that my Mom liked, and even went to see in concert.. It should be noted, my Mom was a cool lady.
I miss listening to Def Leppard with my Mom, and today, I especially miss Steve Clark, on the anniversary of his passing.
Below, you can listen to their first album "On Through The Night" in it's entirety.