Today is the birthday of Steve Clark, guitar player for Def Leppard.
This band's catchy, guitar-driven pop-oriented hard rock was one of
the most imitated styles of the '80s. Leppard's hit albums were
polished syntheses of heavy guitar riffs, memorable pop melodies and
simple teen-oriented lyrics. Originally the band was associated with
the new wave of British heavy metal bands, releasing two albums that
made a small impact in the US. Then Mutt Lange produced High 'n'
Dry which contained the seeds of the signature Leppard sound.
Their third album, Pyromania released in 1983 was a monster
success, selling over six and a half million copies in the United
States. The album showcased the refinement of Def Leppard's twin
guitar attack, where both parts worked together to create a huge sound
instead of merely repeating the riff. In 1984 the band made two
attempts to record a follow-up, one with the exhausted Lange and the
other with Jim Steinman, both ended up with the dismissal of the
producer. On New Years Eve, Rick Allen lost his left arm in an auto
accident. Despite this, the band wanted to keep him in the group and
he was equipped with a customized electronic drum kit to ease his
playing. On 1978 Hysteria was released, reaching number one.
Recording for the follow-up to Hysteria was underway, when
Clark was found dead in his apartment after a drinking binge in 1991.
Def Leppard continued the album with Phil Collen playing all the
guitar parts. Adrenalize shot to the top of the charts upon its
release in April 1992. Vivian Campbell, a former guitarist for
Whitesnake was announced as Clark's replacement in the spring of 1992.
It is also the birthday of Roy Orbison, Captain Sensible (Damned).