Def Leppard's most magical memories of being in Def Leppard

Def Leppard
(Image credit: Ross Halfin)

In issue 248 of Classic Rock we talked to all five members of Def Leppard about all things Def Leppard. It's been a rollercoaster ride through 40 years of triumph and tragedy, dotted with moments - like Rick Allen's triumphant comeback at Donington in 1986 - that will live forever amongst those fans who saw them.

But what of the band members' individual favourite memories? We asked he question:

If you had to choose one magical memory of being in Leppard, what would it be?

Joe Elliott

Truth be told, you’d need an entire magazine to answer this question fully, but if I have to pick one it would have to be the Don Valley Stadium gig, June 1993. Our home town, 50,000 joyous folk on a beautiful summer’s eve. I remember when I walked on stage, it hit me real hard. It was almost 15 years to the day since our first ever gig at Westfield school in front of a few bemused kids! That Don Valley gig was the day I believed we could do this for as long as we wanted to.

Phil Collen

There was one real moment. We never took time off. We’d go in the studio, heads down in this dark room. Then we’d be on tour and there’d be no breaks.

In 1999 we got honoured at the first Diamond Awards ceremony in New York. There were sixty-eight artists that had gone diamond – which is ten times platinum, ten million sales, in America. Metallica was with us. We went up to the podium, accepted the thing, and I looked down and there was Elton John, Billy Joel, Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour. This room was filled with all of these people. And it hit me what we’d actually achieved.

Rick Allen

I had my sixteenth birthday at Hammersmith Odeon, and I remember [AC/DC singer at the time] Bon Scott coming in with a big bowl of Smarties and wishing me all the best. Those were really golden moments, just finding myself in that kind of situation at such a young age.

Rick Savage

It’s all been a highlight, but there are peaks within the highlights. Like the day Steve ran into the rehearsal room and he’s got this idea for a riff in his head, and he picked the guitar up and started playing the riff to Wasted. It was like: “Where the bloody hell did that come from?” I remember seeing Rick’s face the first time he heard the middle section of Rocket. Moments like that, they’re special.

Vivian Campbell

My first gig was the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium [1992]. We’d played McGonagle’s, a nightclub in Dublin, three days before that, but for the world stage that was my first gig with the band. That was just huge, stepping on a stage like that with Def Leppard. I genuinely think the other four were more nervous than me, because Steve wasn’t there. 

I really felt for them. And stuff did go wrong. There were issues with the drum kit, and things like that jangling the nerves. But we got away with it. It was another of those big comeback moments for Def Leppard. The band’s been knocked down a few times and got back up again. There’s a boxer analogy there, I’m sure.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.