Def Leppard are an English rock band from Sheffield, who formed in 1977 during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Largely on the strength of their albums Pyromania and Hysteria, Def Leppard became one of the top-selling rock bands throughout the 1980s, selling over 65 million albums worldwide, including over 35 million in the United States alone.
Rick Savage (bass), Pete Willis (guitar), and Tony Kenning (drums), all students at Tapton School in Sheffield, formed a band called Atomic Mass in 1977. Following a chance meeting with Willis after missing a bus, 18-year old Joe Elliott tried out for the band as a guitarist. During his audition, however, it was decided that he was better suited to be the lead singer.
Soon afterward they adopted a name proposed by Elliott, “Deaf Leopard”, which was originally a band name he thought up while writing reviews for imaginary rock bands in his English class. At Kenning’s suggestion, the spelling was slightly modified in order to make the name seem less like that of a punk band. In January of 1978, Steve Clark joined the band. According to Joe Elliott, he successfully auditioned for the band by playing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” in its entirety.