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1984 – 1989 / Mass Hysteria

After the success of Pyromania Def Leppard moved to Dublin. Mutt Lange joined up for songwriting sessions but had to bow out as Def Leppard's producer and Def Leppard brought in Jim Steinman.

Classic lineup, 1982 - 1991: Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Joe Elliott, Steve Clark and Phil Collen
Def Leppard's "classic" lineup
1982 - 1991: Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Joe Elliott, Steve Clark and Phil Collen

Unfortunately the methods of Steinman clashed with Def Leppard so they had to look elsewhere. Nigel Green took the reigns of Def Leppard production but didn't accomplish much.

Rick Allen lost his left arm in a terrible car crash in 1984 but was still set on being the drummer. With only one arm he had to do some of the drumming with his legs and went to work wit Simmons in getting a custom electronic drum kit.

Def Leppard was inspired by his fortitude and did not even look for a replacement. Mutt Lange returned as producer and Rick played at the 1986 Donington Monsters of Rock festival with an emotional ovation.

Hysteria launched the band into stardom in the UK which was something that was missing from their success story.

The US didn't warm up to Hysteria until "Pour Some Sugar On Me" hit the charts climbing to #2. "Love Bites" made it to the top spot on the Billboard 100 and "Armageddon It" made it to the Top 5. All total the album had 7 singles in the US Hot 100 - "Love Bites" (#1), "Pour Some Sugar On Me" (#2), "Armageddon It" (#3), "Hysteria" (#10), "Rocket" (#12), "Animal" (#19), and "Women" (#80). This is a rare feat and the album stayed on the charts for 3 years selling 18 million copies.

The 15 month Hysteria tour gave the fans a unique view as the performed "In The Round".

The American Music awards gave Def Leppard "Favorite Heavy Metal Album" and "Favorite Heavy Metal Artist".

Def Leppard sold more records in this decade than any US rock group despite Guns N' Roses and Bon Jovi popularity.


Def Leppard wanted to get back to work on a new album but Steve Clark couldn't seem to get his act together. He was in and out of rehab centers and eventually took a 6 month hiatus from Def Leppard. He died of an overdose in 1991. Phil simply covered his guitar riffs and the band continued with 4 members.

Adrenalize hit the US and UK charts at #1 and hung on to the US #1 for 5 weeks. Smash hit "Let's Get Rocked" got the 1992 MTV Best Video of the Year Award. The album produced 6 hit singles and sales were over 7 million.

In 1992 Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard and made his live debut at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. Vivian played for Dio & Whitesnake before joining Def Leppard. The world tour was a smash hit but alternative rock & grunge began taking center stage taking the spotlight off Def Leppard. "Miss You In A Heartbeat" became one of Def Leppard's biggest Canadian hits. The album sold over 3 million copies.

1993's Retro Active was a compilation of unreleased b-sides. "Two Steps Behind" was a hit from the movie Last Action Hero.

Vault: Def Leppard Greatest Hits (1980–1995) was the 1st of Def Leppard's greatest hits compilations and sold over 8 million copies. Japan, North America and the UK received alternate track listings.

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