Why Def Leppard Doesn’t Want The Public To See This Video

The Original Def Leppard, LIVE In 1980 Perform Almost The Entire On Through The Night LP

Def Leppard Was Once A Heavy Metal Band: Then They Started Writing Pop

What Happened?

Their Main Hard Rock Songwriter & Guitarist Was Fired

Can We Forget About The Past?

Here is Pete Willis and the original Def Leppard performing almost in its entirety, one of the ten greatest debut rock albums of all-time.

UPDATE JULY 8. 2020 – No surprise, you will not see the video. For now it has been pulled by original poster – FresnoMediaRestoration. I wonder why??? Hmmmmm.

UPDATE JULY 21 – The video is back! (For now…)

UPDATE JAN 2021 – Video pulled again. To hear the audio of this concert go to the end of this story. At least you can hear what it sounded like.

When Def Leppard recorded their first major label album, they were a heavy metal band though they never called themselves that.

l-r Rick Savage, Joe Elliott, Pete Willis, Rick Allen & Steve Clark c 1980

It was 1980 and Def Leppard had just been signed to a deal with Mercury Records. They were signed on the basis of what three years of honing and craft perfection had wrought – On Through The Night. Previously in 1979, the band printed its own EP and sold an astounding 18,000 copies.

Within the music industry, in order for any band to get a record deal, the band must put forth only their best material. And that is what On Through The Night is. Eleven mostly blistering songs played at a frantic pace with songwriting that displays an ear for catchy and memorable songs.

Here’s the most incredible thing about this video performance of that first album — singer Joe Elliott is 21, guitarists Steve Clark & Pete Willis are 20, bass player Rick Savage is 19 and drummer Rick Allen is – are you kidding me? — 16!!!!

The difference between this and most other debut albums is that they are performed with a  professionalism well beyond their years. First time you hear them the songs are in your head. It Don’t Matter, Answer To The Master, Satellite, It Could Be You, Wasted, Rock Brigade titles that belie their heaviness. Practically every song on the album is a tour de force of hook laden riffs, done in a hard rock / metal way.

Because of that hard rock metal edge, like a palimpsest, the band has tried their hardest to bury On Through The Night and rewrite their own important part in hard rock history.

It’s like it was never even recorded. Whenever the On Through The Night album is brought up by an interviewer, the band dismisses it and quickly changes the subject.

The “catchy song” part was the direction Def Leppard took and ran with. They mostly left the “heavy” part behind. With the help of superstar producer John “Mutt” Lange (AC/DC Highway To Hell; Back In Black; Foreigner; The Cars; Michael Bolton etc.) the band and its music was hijacked into pop rock. Hard pop rock, but still pop rock. It appears that is what Joe Elliott and the other members of the band wanted.

Def Leppard & Pete Willis, Heavy Metal Maniac

But what sort of Def Leppard was this group, the 1980 version? The co-founders of the band, were Pete Willis and bassist Rick Savage. Willis was a physically small, yet crazy talented guitarist with a skill for writing guitar parts in songs that were difficult to reproduce live. Willis invited singer Joe Elliott and guitarist Steve Clark to join his band.

Joe Elliott has been asked many times about Pete Willis. Most revealing are Joe Elliott’s comments from a 2000 interview with Philip Anderson:

Pete was a really nice guy when he didn’t drink, and he was a really good guitar player. Pete probably still is a really good guitar player, and he probably still is a really nice guy when he’s sober. The problem is that he was very rarely sober after 7pm. When he was drunk, he went from 5’2″ to 8’2″. He would be picking fights, setting off fire extinguishers, he’s be drunk before he’d go out onstage. He’d throw the best shapes you’ve ever seen, but played the lousiest guitar you’ve ever heard. He would start fights between the band. He would be obnoxious and uncooperative. Just generally hard work to be around. He’d alienate himself. We didn’t hang out with him until he was sober.

Pete, yeah, sometimes he was funny, most of the time he was annoying. He’s the only time I’ve come close to physically beating the shit out of somebody.

With Steve (Clark), he’d just fall over you, and started crying and hugging you, and telling you how much he loves you. I think Steve just had a real problem with the pressures. Pete had exactly the same problems, but he dealt with them in a way more obnoxious way. Nobody liked him. The management hated him, the record company hated him, people who met him hated him. He was drunk, then the next day they’d see him, it was, “Wow, he’s OK when he’s sober.” Yes.

He’s a self-destruct button. He brings it all on himself. He can’t blame the industry or bad luck or bad timing, which we can all do when things don’t work. Everything that went wrong was totally and utterly Pete’s fault, and he accepts that. But recently he’s been getting pissed off at being blamed as a bad guy. But as I kept saying, “You know what? You can’t unwrite history.” Attila The Hun and Adolph Hitler are never going to have good things written about them, because you can’t look back and tried to find a reason why they were the way there were. Nobody would want to read it. Nobody wants to know about Pete’s good stuff. Whenever I get asked about Pete, the only thing that I ever get asked is, “Was he as bad as he really was?”

Philip Anderson: Well, if you have something good to say, I would like to hear it.

Well I’ve said what there is good to say about him. When he’s sober, he’s really OK, he’s a nice guy. He was always the odd one out, but he was a nice enough guy. He was a great player, a fantastic rhythm player. He had a brilliant right hand. He could do “chuk-chuk-chuk” and never go out of time.

But Joe Elliott had to admit to some aspect of Willis’ immense talent. And he still got to dissing Willis. When discussing who took lead guitar duties Elliott said:

It was 50/50. It always was. You can tell the difference. Pete’s stuff is way more funky. Pete used to want to be Pat Travers. If you listen to the first album, there’s a lot of “wah” stuff in the Pat Travers’ style. The stuff that sounds like Brian Robertson and Jimmy Page is Steve. The open “wah wah,” the manic “wah wah,” that’s Steve. Like Steve does the solo in “It Don’t Matter,” which is great. The end solo, in “Answer To The Master,” there’s a breakdown section, that’s Steve, and the solo following that is Steve. The other lick is Pete. Pete wrote that. He wrote that and played it. Steve couldn’t play it. He would always say, “I can’t fucking play this shit.” That side of the songwriting that we were dealing with then, with Steve and Pete, was the side of the songwriting that none of us were really interested in.

Philip Anderson: That’s why it’s my favorite album. I could never figure out how to play half the stuff on that album back then. It was always a challenge.

Yeah, well the thing is, you can’t figure it out because it was written to be clever. What I mean by that is that Pete really wanted everybody to know what a great guitarist he was, not what a great songwriter he was. So, consequently, we had all these really difficult riffs, like the riffs to “Get Your Rocks Off.” Steve could never do that. He could play a version of it. His fingers just couldn’t get around it. I tell you, on the stage, and on the record, it wasn’t that important that those “diddly-diddly’s” were in there, but it was important to Pete. That’s all well and good, but it was detrimental to the song and detrimental to the furthering of the band. It was always a sticking point as to why everything has to be so precise in the riff department. It’s like, other riffs are all good and well, but “Smoke On The Water” is pretty simple to play and it’s the most memorable song. Things didn’t have to be so bloody complicated. We were verging on going jazz rock. It was like, “Fuck that!” I wanted to be Hanoi Rocks, not Santana.

Pete Willis has seven of the eleven songwriting credits for the music of On Through The Night. On the second LP High n’ Dry (1982) Willis has five of the ten songwriting credits.

After Willis was thrown out of the band during the recording of Pyromania, Def Leppard would achieve superstar status and go on to be one of the world’s most popular bands for the next decade. The hard and heavy music disappeared with Willis’ departure.

Pete Willis still has four songwriting credits on Pyromania including the blockbuster hits  Photograph and Too Late For Love and he played on every single song that made it to the finished LP. Willis did not agree with the direction Def Leppard was going in.

Willis’ problems with performing, alcohol, and most importantly Mutt Lange, led to Willis’s exit from the band. The band was concerned Lange would walk out during the Pyromania sessions.

One must go. It was either Willis or Lange. No problem. It would be Willis. After meeting with his bandmates, and conferring with manager Peter Mensch, Joe Elliott was told “You’re all big boys, do it yourself.”

Willis was fired from the band he founded. Ten years later, Steve Clark, the other talented guitarist with alcohol issues died in 1992 at age 30.

Def Leppard have virtually erased their earliest years. Adding it all up, Pete Willis co-wrote 16 of the songs on the first three LPs. Go to the official Def Leppard web site. Pete Willis is omitted in the biography section.

A Masterpiece – On Through The Night

I didn’t think any footage existed or if it did Def Leppard would ever allow it to be released. Yet here it is and it’s wonderful.

Apparently there are audio recordings from this debut tour. Def Leppard recently announced there soon will be an official release of a show done in 1980 at the Oxford Theatre. If there is any other live video from 1980, the band is sitting tight on it.

But to say Joe Elliott despises this album is an understatement. The singing. The songs. The performances. The producer of On Through The Night is Tom Allom. Joe Elliott even can’t stand the production. That’s pretty incredible when you realize this is the same producer who the same year produced Judas Priests’ most popular album, British Steel.

This is what Joe Elliott told Philip Anderson,

The fact of the matter is that we don’t like our first record. And I totally accept and appreciate anybody saying that I’m full of shit, but they have to accept my [opinion]. It’s my record. I made it. I don’t like it anymore. You buy a shirt and say, “I can’t wear this anymore.”and people think it looks really good on you. You’re sick of it. You don’t want it anymore. You want a new one. It’s the same with music. Maybe in three year’s time, we’ll all hit a spot where we’ll go, “Why don’t we do ‘Hello America’ or ‘Overture’ again?” We might all go, “Yeah, let’s do it.” But until that moment happens, it’s been jettisoned.

It was good for its day but it didn’t last. It didn’t stand up. It didn’t come close to Van Halen’s first album. It didn’t come close to Boston’s first album or the first Montrose album. It’s like, my singing is terrible, the production is weak. We speed up half way through the songs and change directions. It was out of our hands. We dropped out guard for a moment and let people dictate how it should be. We were signed to a big, major record label and we thought that’s the way it was. It was only afterwards that we thought, “Bullshit! We got this far on our own. We shouldn’t let these people take over.” We tried to get Mutt to do our first album but we couldn’t get him, but we managed to get him for the second. As soon as we got Mutt, the decision was, “Nobody interferes with this record except this guy.” That was it. If they don’t like it, we’ll take it somewhere else. We didn’t have to do that. To this day, we have never had an A&R man interfere with our music. They can bugger off.

Philip Anderson: I respect your opinion, but still I was wondering about that comment you made on VH1. (Joe had made reference to the fact that the band didn’t need the first album because it was “like a booster rocket” that dropped off and wasn’t needed anymore. Also he said that it wasn’t worth playing anything off of that album for “the 12 of you out there who like it.”)

The only way that I can really describe it is, and I know it’s not a good comparison, but imagine if you go on to your parent’s and your mom pulls out a school annual, from when you were 12, and there’s a review that you did, and you think, “Holy shit. This is really embarrassing.”

Philip Anderson: Yeah, but as a musician, I’ve got music from when I started playing that I may not like now, but I do think it’s workable and should be released just so that it’s out there.

Well, that’s where the comparison is equal. I can tell you right now that if the incentive, and I don’t mean financial, to rerecord that first album ever reared its head, I wouldn’t object. The only way that I would ever feel comfortable listening to that record, sober, is if I rerecorded all my vocals and we remixed it and all that kind of stuff. And I dare say that if they were both in the band, Steve and Pete would want to redo some of the stuff and Sav would want to redo some of the stuff, and Rick would want to redo the drum sound. I have rough mix tapes of that first album that shit all over that finished version, because Tom Allom tried to make it sound too American-radio friendly. He took all the power out. He just took all the energy out of the record. On “High And Dry,” we went probably over the top, because we were so intense on making a record that was so much more in the direction that we wanted to go. We wanted all the power there and all the energy of the guitars and the drums to sound massive and not polite. We didn’t want to sound like REO Speedwagon. We wanted to sound like “Kashmir” and “Rock And Roll.”

Philip Anderson: For your age at that time, you were a huge inspiration for all of us growing up.

Absolutely! I couldn’t agree more. The one good fact about that record is that it inspired a whole generation of people that it is possible for five kids 15 to 19 to actually make a conciseive attempt at an album with songs that were are original and very unique, as much as they may be faulted, they were very unique. There were bits that sounded like certain bands. There were obvious influences. You can hear Rush, UFO, Thin Lizzy, and Judas Priest. But overall it sounded like a new act. It was, for its time, what Nirvana was in 1991. It was very much based on previous works.

We all have to admit that if “On Through The Night” had been made by seasoned veterans of 32 years old, it wouldn’t have done shit. My point is that it does get judged for its youth, not for its content and how good it is.

My big argument back then is that back then people would always say, “God, you guys are so young.” I would get so annoyed at that. I would say, “That’s not the point. Listen to the music.” Then when people started saying, “You’re old.” I would say, “You know what? We had the same problem when we were young.” So, nobody’s listening to what we’re doing, they’re just looking at our birth certificates. That’s bullshit.

By the time Pyromania was released Def Leppard was saying On Through The Night is not the kind of a band we are. Don’t clump us in with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands.

Unfortunately they were right. Since the departure of Pete Willis, they have been an irrelevant pop band that alienated their original heavy metal fan base. All 12 of us.

Do they care? Hell no! Especially not Bowie and Mott The Hoople fan, Joe Elliott. Pop music pays the bills when you sell millions of albums.

Without Pete Willis, Def Leppard went onward and upward with Mutt Lange selling over 100 million albums with more pop.  Pyromania was the mass market breakthrough. Hysteria and Adrenalize netted the band (and Lange) millions of dollars and security for life. Hysteria had an unprecedented nine songs that were top 40 hits on American radio, a feat never previously accomplished and never since duplicated.

But don’t ever confuse quantity for quality.

Remember this: pop music sells. It sells big time. Joe Elliott must be right, because as of December 2019 there’s less than 7,000 views for part one and two of this concert which plays nine of Def Leppard’s debut album’s songs.

Mention the name Def Leppard to a music fan under 30. Most likely they’re only familiar with Leppard hits like Pour Some Sugar On Me. That’s the Def Leppard people know and that’s the only Def Leppard the band wants you to know.

Now just cross your fingers that Def Lep’s lawyers and publishers don’t force the video off YouTube.

Until the video returns , here is the audio from that show (until this gets taken down too…) –

23 thoughts on “Why Def Leppard Doesn’t Want The Public To See This Video

  1. Chris N, stoke. England

    When you want to be the best rock band in the world as its your dream (as they were for about 18 months) by the end of the 80,s….
    You can’t have a drunk, odd one out, violent guitarist in a band bankrolled by label and be any risk to the business of selling records and for the band getting the artistry kicks- yes the money and rest of it great but not all they are still doing it for.
    Yes there’s still a needle and there always is when someone leaves especially before the real hearing big and payday. He turned up to do a guitar solo and could barely stand up if hold the guitar lest play it with the world’s best producer at the time and massive investment at the time and pressure on the band. He’d had a year of grace hanging on with his antics. Collen was told a year before no hold fire we are ok.
    He’s been humble about leaving said it was for the best etc. It did save his life I think.
    I’m truly grateful for all he did and let’s not forget if the lads are such… a bunch of so and so,s why his all his guitar backing still on pyromania and as far as I know he’s fully paid to this day on royalties, performance credits etc. Please tell me whatever other bands have ever done that. Ozzy would have re recorded, ronnie did screwed him over money wise.
    The guy also was causing delay with fire extinguishers in a studio when recording.. come on.
    As for the claims the music was better it’s the same brainless people who say maiden should have kept Paul Diano. Yes first album production was crap but they have gone on record saying they were always after Queen acdc hybrid it was supposed to be their version of a night at the opera. Second records better, a melodic acdc but mutts stance was on that so to say he was apart of changing the line up is a load of tripe his job was to sell records. I can listen to the first two albums as a fan of def leppard if I wanted to listen to lots of shieking guitar and diddly diddlys then that’s easier found on the net but it’s outdated. Def leppard are successful and selling stadiums have a great record and have survived far more than life without Pete. If he was so good a musician or songwriter he would be still touring to critical acclaim with roadhouse and still in the industry if he had the people skills and sense not to think he can record on half a bottle if brandy. But he’s till apart of this legacy.

  2. Al

    This blog is spot on. Pete Willis made Def Leppard a real hard rock/NWOBH band. Check out his other band, Roadhouse, who released a really good melodic hard rock album in August 1991.

  3. meandmywine

    Pete was fired not because of his guitar work or writing skills. The band, Elliott & Lange, didn’t like the fact that Willis was a short, pimple faced guy who’s physical image did not fit those two character’s idea of the ideal rock band. I personally think High n Dry is their best. Totally rocks!

  4. Simon

    Hi Gregory, great blog post. I absolutely loved the early Def Leppard stuff, although it wasn’t until 1983 when Photograph was released that I first heard them. Immediately went and got my hands on the earlier albums. I could never understand why their sound changed so much after that. Now I know! Anyway, I noticed your embedded video has been switched to private. Perhaps replace it with this one: https://youtu.be/aI_2SchPjks. Cheers!

    1. B.P. Post author

      Thanks for pointing out the take down of the video. No surprise that eventually it would be done. Kind of diminishes the impact of the article if you cannot see Willis playing. There is no replacement video. P.S. Gregory made the comments. I wrote the post.

    2. John Najat

      Musicians are artists and art is subjective. No matter how you slice it On Through the Night is an Awsome piece of work hooks and all. It is easy to sit back years later and say well this or that isn’t right from a technical perspective. You guys were young, talented, and prolific. Being prolific as a group of artist takes constitution and ability. Rock On


  5. TheOneder

    Poor Pete. Bunch of Bullocks. Pete Willis never played as much lead guitar as some people remember that he did. And now that the ’79 & ’80 videos have recently surfaced, most can tell it’s the tall guy playing lead & rythm guitar on most, yes most, of On Through the Night was named Steve Clark. Interesting to see Willis add a few nice fills here & there in concert, that cannot possibly be mistaken as lead guitar. I like Willis’ playing a lot, but will not give undue credit to him for things he never played. There never was a Pete Willis era. All of them could play & play damn well. What did Pete Willis’ genuis guitar playing bring us after 1982? Nada. What does that tell you?? The next Randy Rhads he was not. The most underatted Leppard is easily Rick Savage. He can sang very well, plays bass & guitar & writes much of the music & lyrics. He is & always has been the glue. Without Sav, there was No Leppard, amazing how people can’t see this.

    And damn them all the Lep’s for scoring a Top Ten hit with “Photograph”! Nobody wants to be popular, sell records, or headline their own tour. That’s just, just..”Selling out brah”. Idiots. David Lee Roth & Edwaad VH were out there pimping “Dance the Night Away”. Of course I’d love to hear Robster or Howard, explain right here, exactly were the Rock music is in Dance the night away. Any guitar solo? Nope. Just Dave & Ed’s Bebop style music. “Lack of musical integrity” on “Dance” Howie? How about “Parental Guidance” or “Turbo Lover” by Judas Priest? Where are those 2 songs on your “Musical integrity” scale? I’d bet good money both you & Robster gave “VH Enterprises” a pass for that song in ’79, their second album, VH II. Shooby doo wah.. Yeah, you don’t want to hear David Lee Roth NOT multilayered. Unless you want to scare an Owl out of a tree or chickens out of their coop. Same with Priest, Maiden etc., all multilayered.

    What sells music? People want to hear it, period. Has nothing to do with “Slick production” or your view of what you think it SHOULD sound like. Who didn’t use layed & multilayered recording in the 1980s, besides the band nodpbody remenvers? This isn’t “Robster’s recording & BBQ shack”. This is Def Leppard recording Pyromania. And Pyromania is a phenomenal album by most real Rock fans standards. Bunch of wankers whining because hot women actually liked the song Photograph. “Hey Jeolousy”…some grunge band, long forgotten…like Disco.

    1. trying to "Let It Go"

      Ahem – you done?

      I’m a guitarist who has been in the recording studio, etc. Def Leppard stopped being a two guitar band (despite Joe and everyone else’s insistence) after Pyromania. It’s an accepted fact that Steve Clark was inconsistent in the studio due to alcohol during the Hysteria sessions (some articles have said “he was largely not present except live during the “Phil Collen era”). I believe Pete was fired from DL because of musical differences mostly. Steve and Pete BOTH were a problem alcohol wise. Only Pete was a founder and leader of the band. They kicked him out in favor of “6th Leppard Mutt” – who for the first time co-wrote songs with them (k-ching, royalties!!) and brought in Thomas Dolby of “She blinded me with Science” fame to add keyboards. Would a Pete Willis led band allow this? Um, no. Why did Steve Clark? Alcohol. Also, if Steve was the heart and soul of the band after Pete was ousted, why would the new guitar player who replaced Pete (who played on every rhythm track on Pyromania – so don’t tell me Pete was not also very important during the early years) be highlighted and take the solo on the lead single “Photograph”. Maybe Steve was too wrecked, or Joe had other plans (both)?

      Joe Elliott has ragged on Pete Willis for decades – why is this? He just brings it up all the time. They HAVE to have a non-disclosure agreement because dam, everyone in DL says the same thing about Pete and then like hypocrites, just let Steve die in the ditch of alcohol consumption while on “sabbatical” from the band (yes, the sad intervention – PLEASE). Pete never defends himself. And poor Phil had to play BOTH guitar parts on Adrenalize (shouldn’t have been too hard, because there are hardly any damn guitars on that and Hysteria, which has his stamp all over it). And yes, Vivian Campbell is a gun for hire – an amazing guitar player just wasted in this secondary role behind an inferior player (but he’s getting PAID). This proves who is who in the band – Phil Collen replaced BOTH guitar players in 1982 (as Steve was a shadow of himself).

      Remember who was the producer for AC/DC on their breakout – Highway to Hell (Mutt Lange). For the follow up, AC/DC mythologized Bon Scott as a “mate” and great friend – all accounts say he was an “employee” to the Young brothers and they would never have broken up the band because of the loss of Bon (see how Brian Johnson was treated – employee). Yeah, they carried on “because that was what Bon would have wanted”. Sounds like Back in Black producer “Mutt” was giving some advice, or something. Same thing with DL on Pyromania – they ditched Pete for Mutt, a poppier sound, and SYNTHESIZERS! and kept Steve for optics and I assume – the expectation that he would deliver all the goods he had before. But make no mistake – Phil Collen, with his non-bluesy, non-Page guitar style of playing was more fitting for the new direction of the band. If you like that, great. But all this crap about Steve being the heart of the band is musically non-sensical at this stage of DL. His best work was with Pete Willis as a guitar tandem where they shared the spotlight. And yes, Steve took a lot of leads – BECAUSE PETE AS A LEADER WAS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF THE BAND. Joe said himself in interviews that Steve could not play the things Pete could. Pete wanted to rock, and he liked Steve’s lead playing. Steve couldn’t play Pete’s rhythm parts – too complicated (which irritated Joe, who wanted things to be basic) If you had ever been in a band and spent five years of your life putting something awesome together and then have it ripped from you at the edge of stardom, well … you might never do “nada” again. You sir are ignorant of how things work. Pete also got married a few years later and was RICH as he co-wrote 16 of the songs on the first three albums (pyromania is his song, as is Let it go and many others – has his musical signature on it).

      Pete Willis and Steve Clark were the heart of this band, period. THAT tandem. If you liked Hysteria, great. I doubt Steve really played that much on the album (he clearly didn’t have as much of an influence as Phil – who I have no problem with, but his guitar style was brought in to be “flashy”, not soulful, like Steve and Pete). I believe a lot of the terror twin’s stuff was exaggerated to add to the mythology of “brother in arms”, fallen at the altar of rock. These cunts abandoned him and used him for their own end. They really don’t care about Pete either – the RHOF invites who THEY think are worthy, not the band. Joe never wanted Pete there – just like he’s not in their “archives” of past members. Disgraceful (the founder of the band!).

      So – there was a “Pete Willis era”. I was alive and listening when it happened. All of my musician friends were pissed when we heard Pete was ousted. We sort of liked Pyro but after that, nah. There was no internet then, so yes, I thought from the weekend concert videos you would see that Pete was the lead guitar – there was a lot of emphasis on him because he was the FOUNDER AND LEADER of the band. Didn’t realize how many solos Steve took – love his stuff. But make no mistake, all of that ended with Pyro. I can’t recall a Steve solo on that record that was anywhere NEAR “Bringing on the Heartache” – because that direction died when Pete was ousted. Some say Steve was the saddest rock star ever – probably because the band died when Mutt and Joe sold out …. (and they did, friend)

      Just some thoughts ….

      Oh – and your Rick Savage points were dumb. And the Van Halen stuff too.
      And Joe Elliott looks like a trans women now (not that there is anything wrong with that)

      1. Al

        Pete Willis’s other band Roadhouse was so much better than the post-Pete Willis Def Leppard. Their 1991 release (on Youtube) put the Hysteria/Adrenalize albums to shame. Joe Elliot must have sh*t a brick when hearing this album. Better vocals, lyrics, songwriting, guitar work and much harder rocking than the post-Pete Willis Def Leppard. Let’s encourage Roadhouse to reunite and enjoy the success they should have had in 1991 (Grunge ruined that chance).

      2. No Newsom

        Totally agree. First three albums were the best by far…I bought Hysteria with excitement and found it to be a crushing disappointment. I thought it was just another pop album and gave it away. I just checked Def Leppards website and can’t believe they make no mention of him under “members”. They can’t just say it is for “current” members because Steve Clark is there. It is like they wiped Pete Willis out of existence. What a bunch of a-holes. Would it have killed them to put him in a category of “past band members” like most bands’ bios?

        1. steve

          i bought the first three albums multiple times cassetts dozen and cds over dozen and now i listen to all three over and over everyday digitally for the last few years feeling that pete white Hamer explorer today, just to keep that sound in my head to play it.

  6. Lee Hutchinson

    An absolutely brilliant piece of writing.

    You have somehow magnificently transcribed my thoughts and opinions of Def Leppard into words

    Thank you

  7. Robster

    Elliot is right to criticise the production on the first album, it was overly polished and American sounding. But the songs were fantastic and along with those on the second album piss over anything else the band did thereafter. I totally get why they fired Pete Willis and it probably saved his life but I can’t blame him for getting the hump with Mutt Lange.

    Once Pete left it was a different band, the rawness and electric riffs were jettisoned for a slick pop sheen and multiayered vocals. It’s fanciful thinking but I’d love to have seen what they would have become if he’d ben able to keep his drinking under control.

  8. bob lee

    This whole article is horseshit. I prefer the earlier material as well but the band invited Pete to the Rock Hall induction. Also, releasing an early years collection.

  9. Kodee

    Pop music sells because the gp likes simple weak music . Joe Elliot is a washed up typical sell out. Thank you Pete and Steve for the first 3 albums of music. Thanks Joe for the weak pop drivel that followed.

  10. Howard

    Dude, I dig your article. I am a big fan of “On Through The Night” and “High and Dry”. Very few folks were aware of Def Leppard at the time. When “Pyromania” was released I immediately bought it due to the previous releases. Extremely underwhelmed. Then I saw the video for “Photograph” and saw Phil Collen had replaced Pete. I was disappointed and my following of Def Lep ended. Elliot is such an ass. Which is his right to be. Notice his hair in this live show and his hair style in the “pop” era. He just wanted to be popular and fuck having any musical integrity. I get annoyed by Elliot’s dismissive attitude toward the Pete Willis era. Oh well, I still listen and enjoy the first two albums to this day. I will always remember Pete and his contribution.


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