Def Leppard started in 1977 in Sheffield, England. They were one of the most influential British heavy metal groups in the 80s. Pete Willis and Rick Savage formed the group when they were teenagers alongside Joe Elliot and Tony Kenning. However, there were several lineup changes throughout the years. One of the first was when the group fired Willis for excessive drinking during the album “Pyromania” recording sessions and replaced him with Phil Collen. According to the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “the band defined visual theatricality.” Every time Def Leppard took the stage, fans knew they’d see a show that featured not only amazing songs that ignited the arena but also visually impressive sets, including unprecedented pyrotechnics. Even with the ups and downs of the group’s career, nothing seemed to be able to stop them. Even after Rick Allen lost his arm in a car accident, he didn’t quit. Instead, he crafted a drum set altered for his disability and still ignited amphitheaters and stadiums. Artists from all genres of music, including Metallica, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga, all drew inspiration from this group. These are the 10 best Def Leopard Songs of all time.
10. Armaggeddon It
According to Genius, the title is a play on words. Armaggeddon it sounds much like the euphemism for sex “I’m-a-gettin’-it.” Throughout the song, there are other euphemisms, including “pull my trigger.” The song was the sixth single from “Hysteria,” and reached #3 in 1988. It was the group’s fifth single in a row to reach that number.
9. Let’s Get Rocked
Instead of releasing a collection of melancholy ballads after guitarist Steve Clark’s death, the group released this song alongside others on “Adrenalize.” Many critics didn’t like the feel-good camp twisted into the lyrics. However, fans absolutely love this song which is a tribute to everything great about rock and roll. Bart Simpson was the inspiration for the song, especially the first line; “I’m your average ordinary kid. Happy to do nothin’.”
This song dropped in 1983, part of the multi-platinum album “Pyromania.” It steadily rose to #9 on the Mainstream Rock chart and #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. Degrassi: The Next Generation named one of the episodes of the show after this song. Additionally, it’s one of the selections for the video game Rock Band 3.
7. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
Even though this song is one of the most well-known Def Leppard songs, it never made the charts. Undoubtedly, it’s because it dropped in 1981 when the band wasn’t very well know. “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” didn’t become popular until the 1987 Hysteria tour, when the group reintroduced the song with a completely different arrangement. Later, Mariah Carey covered the song on her 2002 album “Charmbracelet.” Despite it being a departure from the original, the group still thought it was an outstanding performance.
6. Love Bites
Initially, this title was intended for another Def Leppard song, “I Wanna Be Your Hero.” Some think the title was taken from a girl group in Midlands, England, by the same name. Additionally, the lyrics may have a double meaning. Not only does love bite, but the lyrics suggest biting during sex. Another point of contention is the final words of the song. Many people think it’s “Jesus of Nazareth go to hell.” However, it’s actually Mutt Lange saying, “yes it does, bloody hell.”
It took three years to finish this song. During that time, the group kept looking back on it and wondering what it needed to be complete. Initially, Phil Collen wrote and recorded this song as a demo. However, he feels it was Mutt Lange who provided the essential touches that completed it. After all, he was the one who suggested the group rework the song around the vocals instead of vice versa.
4. Rock of Ages
The opening song lyrics pay homage to another famous singer, Neil Young. Although the group had no trouble writing the accompanying music for the song, they struggled with writing the lyrics. One night there was a bible study group in the studio that left a hymnal open. The following day, Joe Elliot found it and used the hymn Rock of Ages as inspiration for this song.
During an interview with John Brenkus from The Brink of Midnight podcast, Phil Collen talked about this song and people’s misconception about losing your mind. However, it’s about finding yourself and discovering your thoughts about spirituality. Bass player Rick Savage co-wrote this song with Collen after a show in Dublin. One of the biggest standouts in the piece is the guitar solo. When Mutt Lange and Collen worked on the song in the studio, their biggest goal was to create something different from everything else on the radio.
“Pyromania” was Def Leppard’s third album, and this song was its first single. Much like other tracks from the group’s catalog Mutt Lange largely influenced this song, even coming up with the first line, “all I’ve got is a photograph.” The simple lyric inspired a song about a guy who can’t stop thinking about a girl, but a photograph is the only thing he has of her.
1. Pour Some Sugar On Me
According to Def Leopard Tours, shortly after the group finished writing “Armageddon It” for the album “Hysteria,” Joe Elliott started playing several guitar riffs which their producer Mutt Lange heard. Even though it was an improvisation, Lange knew it was the hit he was looking for on the next album. Moreover, the group’s next album had yet to find a standout song as its first single. Elliot and Lange started writing the stream of consciousness, each with their tape recorders. In the end, they came together and pulled different things they both liked and created this recording. It’s thought the title’s inspiration was a song by the Archies, “Sugar, Sugar.”