defleppard4Def Leppard

Arguably the hard rock act most emblematic of the 1980s, Def Leppard has sold more than 65 million records behind such powerhouse works as "Pyromania" and "Hysteria." The Sheffield, England, band surfaced in the late '70s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. But the quintet really flourished as an early juggernaut of the MTV era by utilizing its collective good looks and melodic spin on heavy metal -- a potent combo once dubbed "stainless steel."

"I could probably go on all day because we've done so many gigs over the years. The first one that springs to mind is the Narara Festival in Australia in '84. I've never seen rain like it. It was like biblical, Noah's Ark, baseball-sized drops. It covered the place up. There was a crowd of about 35,000. Everyone left. There were only 3,000 people left in the mud, honestly, three-feet deep in this mud and rain. And we thought, 'Shit, we've come all the way from wherever we were at -- it was our first time in Australia -- we're going on!' It wasn't a bad gig, actually. It was pretty triumphant.


"Another one that springs to mind was in Switzerland, and the audience all just left at the same time. We thought, 'What the fuck is going on?' Then we got hit with tear gas. Someone had let tear gas off at the gig, then it got to us at the stage. I don't know if you've been tear-gassed, but it's not very cool. You can't see. They brought in cold towels and stuff to wipe our eyes. But I don't remember if we went back on. ... It was just some idiot in the audience goofing around. ... It was a mass exodus, immediately. Bizarre."

— Phil Collen, Def Leppard