10 Best Def Leppard Songs
Def Leppard are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet with sales in excess of 100 million albums. The U.K. rockers crossed over to the masses with their successful 1983 album Pyromania and shot through the stratosphere with the subsequent 1987 smash Hysteria, which sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. With a tremendous catalog of 10 albums featuring nearly 20 top 10 hits, it is difficult to narrow down the band’s 10 best songs. As fans may imagine, the large majority of the tunes on our countdown come from the 1980s, when the band was selling out arenas and bridging the gap between metal and pop. Below are the 10 Best Def Leppard Songs:
“Animal” was the second of seven hit singles peeled off the band’s 1987 album Hysteria, which has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. The song features the catchy chorus: “And I want / And I need / And I lust / Animal.” The track shows off the slick and heavily produced and processed sounds represented on Hysteria, the band’s best-selling album.
With its slick guitar riffs and great vocals, “Promises” is a stand out track on the band’s 1999 album Euphoria. The song topped the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and marks the group’s last No. 1 hit. The track brilliantly and successfully features the band harkening back to their signature sound and features a killer guitar solo from Phil Collen.
From it’s opening line “Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen” to the cowbell drum intro to its classic lines like, “I’ve got something to say / It’s better to burn out then fade away” and the chants of “I want rock ‘n’ roll,” “Rock of Ages” is a Def Leppard classic. The track was the second single peeled off of 1983’s Pyromania. The song topped the rock charts and followed the success of their previous No. 1 hit “Photograph.”
“Armegeddon It” was the fifth single released off Hysteria back in 1988. The song’s title is a play on words with frontman Joe Elliott singing, “Are You Getting It? “I’m a Getting’ It.” The classic Def Leppard song features a tasteful guitar solo from the late-Steve Clarke, which is preceeded by the classic line delivered by Joe Elliott, “C’mon Steve get it.” The video for the song is very similar to “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and features the band at soundcheck, performing live in the round and backstage.
“Too Late For Love” is a classic track from Pyromania. The power ballad starts with a killer guitar riff and some ominous and compelling vocals from Joe Elliott. The song takes off when the band kicks in and doesn’t turn back. The track was released as the fourth single off Pyromania in 1983 and remains a fan favorite.
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” is one of Def Leppard’s biggest hits. The crossover smash peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1988 and catapulted the band’s Hysteria album to astronomical sales figures in excess of 20 million copies. The song was inspired by a riff that Joe Elliott came up with on the guitar. Producer Mutt Lange and Elliott later were having some tea and Elliott asked if he wanted one lump or two and Lange responded, “I don’t care, just pour some sugar on me,” and the song was born. The video for the song captures the era brilliantly with Joe Elliot’s shredded jeans and Def Leppard tank top. The clip received a ton of play on MTV and shows off the band’s spectacular Hysteria tour in the round.
“Foolin’” was a huge hit for the band back in 1983. The power ballad has a chill-inducing acoustic intro and classic crunchy riffs. It builds and builds before the band kicks into high gear in the pre-chorus. Phil Collen’s high-octane speedy guitar solo inspired many people to take up air guitar.
“Hysteria” is the title track from the band’s 1987 album. The ballad has a laid back groove and features heavily layered clean sounding guitar work, with lots of processing -- including reverb and chorus -- thanks to Mutt Lange’s studio magic. The radio friendly track hit the Top 10 on both the pop and rock charts.
“Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” is the standout track on 1981’s High ‘n’ Dry. The song set the standard for the slew of hard rocking '80s power ballads that followed. The track opens with the classic dual harmony guitar riff and features an outstanding solo from the late-Steve Clarke. As the song begins to fade out it flows into “Switch 625,” a brilliant instrumental featuring killer guitar work from Steve Clarke and Pete Willis, who was replaced by Phil Collen on the band’s third album Pyromania.
“Photograph” was Def Leppard’s first No. 1 hit and made the band a household name. The song was the first single released from 1983’s Pyromania and was an instant smash. The iconic crunchy guitar riff and anthemic chorus, featuring the band’s now signature sound using arpeggiated chords, make the song an '80s classic. The David Mallet-directed video was on high rotation on MTV throughout 1983. It’s the first clip to feature Phil Collen, who lays down an intense and memorable guitar solo on the track.