[UPDATED NOVEMBER 2018]
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:
Though Def Leppard is currently a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee (the official decision will be made in December), this still brings into question the Hall of Fame’s nomination and selection process. The argument below about Hall of Fame validity and worthiness — especially in the case of Def Leppard vs. Bon Jovi — remains.
Def Leppard / Bon Jovi Touring Together:
Def Leppard will “support” Bon Jovi for select European tour dates in 2019:
- June 11, 2019 Sonderborg/Kær Vestermark, Denmark (Slagmarken)
- July 3, 2019 Dusseldorf, Germany (Merkur Spiel-Arena)
Tickets Available Here
- July 5, 2019 Munich, Germany (Olympic Stadium)
Tickets Available Here
As for what “support” means remains to be seen — co-headlining makes a lot more sense — and the comparisons below between the two bands is all the more relevant and applicable… Who REALLY deserves to be the headlining act???
Def Leppard’s international 2018/2019 tour also continues. Tickets are available here:
Def Leppard Tickets (Ticket City)
Def Leppard Tickets (StubHub)
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this article…
I’m sure you might have a particularly noteworthy band that hasn’t been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yet, and it’s been soooo long you no longer care.
That’s pretty much where I stand.
But it really bothers me that Bon Jovi has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…while Def Leppard had been snubbed.
What’s added to this irritation were articles stressing — or attempting to validate — why Bon Jovi’s accomplishments deem them more than worthy.
But after reading through their rationale and all the contributions they cite for the band, I’m only further convinced that Def Leppard should already be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Bon Jovi’s Achievements are “Slippery When Wet” Compared to Def Leppard
Here are some excerpts from articles I’ve seen defending Bon Jovi’s induction…
- “Their blending of arena-rock largesse, pyrotechnic riffing and good-time vibes…led to some of the most pleasure-inducing rock hits of the Eighties and Nineties.”
- “‘Born to Be My Baby’… is peak synth-metal, an attempt to reach the grandiosity of their contemporaries Def Leppard.”
- “Their widespread appeal and hooky anthems helped them become one of the standard-bearers for Eighties hard rock…the American counterpart to the British rock fortress-builders Def Leppard.”
- “Their induction into the Rock Hall in April will help enshrine one of the biggest musical movement of the Eighties…”
- “Their Rock Hall induction is a populist victory for a genre that depends on the unadulterated pleasures of its listeners.”
- “No listener…can resist a good pop song”
- “Always existed outside the ’80s ‘hair metal’ zeitgeist”
- “They crafted euphoric stadium rock anthems that blended masterful guitar work with unshakeable pop hooks.”
- “These songs have transcended generations and kept them an active touring juggernaut for more than 30 years.”
- “Bon Jovi enjoyed their unquestionable commercial peak in the ’80s, but the next two decades proved their resilience as the rock world underwent massive tidal shifts.”
- “Still sell out arenas around the world”
- “Pumped out feel-good karaoke staples that defined an era.”
What Is The Criteria For The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
The article goes on to say that, “The Rock Hall determines an artist’s eligibility based on ‘influence on other performers and genres; length and depth of career and catalog; stylistic innovations; or superior technique and skills.'”
Does Bon Jovi Really Outshine A Snubbed Def Leppard?
Before I continue, I want to make it clear that my main issue isn’t ultimately with Bon Jovi.
This argument can apply to other artists already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the many other acts whose fans feel are continuously snubbed. Some examples include Boston, Iron Maiden (lead singer Bruce Dickinson’s opinion of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame includes his belief that, “It’s run by a bunch of sanctimonious bloody Americans who wouldn’t know rock ‘n’ roll if it hit them in the face…”), Motley Crue, T-Rex, The Monkees, and so on. To each their own.
My issue is specifically with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s selection/voting process. The inconsistency in the “rock & roll” artists they’re nominating and inducting is baffling and borderline ridiculous.
It makes you wonder — are they nominating just to nominate? Is it their goal to reach a certain number of nominations annually just to fill a quota instead of truly considering worthy rock & roll acts — after all, this is the ROCK & ROLL Hall of Fame — who’ve earned it, regardless of how many nominees there are in a particular year?
Rise Up, Gather Round!
Let’s take a closer look at Def Leppard’s accomplishments.
Def Leppard is one of only five rock acts that has two or more albums that are Diamond certified (10 million U.S. copies sold). The other rock acts in this elite club that have achieved this feat in their careers are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Van Halen. Def Leppard accomplished it with back-to-back albums!
But if you were to compare Bon Jovi vs. Def Leppard — have a band “face-off,” if you will — it’s quite interesting to look at each band’s two biggest selling albums.
Oh, and before we begin, saying that Bon Jovi led the way with their style of music doesn’t fly — the band formed in 1983. Def Leppard started in 1977, and for the record, “Slippery When Wet” came out 3 YEARS after “Pyromania.”
Let’s get to the nitty gritty!
First, “Slippery When Wet” vs. “Pyromania”…
Slippery When Wet
(3rd studio album)
(3rd studio album)
|U.S. Sales:||12x Platinum||10x Platinum|
|Peak Album Chart Position:||#1||#2 (second only to Thriller)|
|Popular Songs:||“You Give Love A Bad Name”||“Rock of Ages”|
|“Livin’ on a Prayer”||“Photograph”|
|“Wanted Dead of Alive”||“Foolin'”|
|“Never Say Goodbye”||“Too Late for Love”|
|Other Notable Tracks:||“Let It Rock,” “Raise Your Hands,” “I’d Die For You,” “Wild in the Streets”||“Rock Rock Til You Drop,” “Stagefright,” “Billy’s Got A Gun,” “Die Hard the Hunter”|
And now… “New Jersey” vs. “Hysteria”…
(4th studio album)
(4th studio album)
|U.S. Sales:||7x Platinum||12x Platinum|
|Peak Album Chart Position:||#1||#1|
|Popular Songs:||“Bad Medicine”||“Animal”|
|“Born to Be My Baby”||“Hysteria”|
|“I’ll Be There For You”||“Love Bites”|
|“Lay Your Hands On Me”||“Pour Some Sugar On Me”|
|“Living in Sin”||“Armageddon It”|
|Other Notable Tracks:||“Blood on Blood,” “Wild is the Wind,” “Stick to Your Guns”||“Women,” “Gods of War,”
“Love and Affection”
Do these album face-offs leave you thinking that Bon Jovi’s slate of songs overpower Def Leppard?
Better yet, is it even a fair fight to compare “New Jersey” to “Hysteria”!?!
If anyone wants to bring up early Bon Jovi tracks like “Runaway” or “In and Out of Love,” I’m happy to match and raise you a “Rock Brigade,” “Wasted,” “Let it Go,” “High N’ Dry (Saturday Night)” or “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.” Take your pick!
“Is Def Leppard In The Rock Hall Of Fame?” Shouldn’t Even Be A Question These Days…
Much can be said about Def Leppard’s legacy…
- Their quintessential album and biggest tour was accomplished AFTER the band re-emerged with a one-armed drummer. Just a fact, not a sympathy vote. Talk about groundbreaking perseverance!
- Riffs and multi-layered productions remain Def Leppard’s calling card, and something many have copied.
- Robert John “Mutt” Lange. ‘Nuff said.
And the band plays on! Def Leppard continues to produce some GREAT songs. They may not top the charts anymore — the music industry has changed drastically over the decades — but the quality is still there.
“Adrenalize” and “Euphoria” had their share of favorites from “Let’s Get Rocked,” “Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion),” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad,” to “Promises,” “Demolition Man,” “Back in Your Face,” and “To Be Alive.”
“Slang” had some wonderfully written compositions like “All I Want is Everything” and “Where Does Love Go When It Dies,” not to mention other great tracks like “Turn to Dust” and “Pearl of Euphoria.”
Poppy (and, admittedly, unpopular to some) “X” had “Unbelievable,” “Long, Long Way to Go,” “Everyday,” and one of the catchiest choruses they’ve ever written with the underrated “Torn to Shreds.”
“Songs from the Sparkle Lounge” had “Tomorrow” and “Love,” which I believe could have been one of the band’s greatest epics, if only one more verse was added to the song’s second half to balance it out a bit more. (Just my humble opinion!)
Their album “Def Leppard” includes a plethora of good songs, including “Let’s Go” and “We Belong,” a track which remains in heavy rotation on my own personal playlist. This album has so many different flavors, there’s literally something for every fan.
And I haven’t even mentioned the numerous single-ready, high-quality B-sides the band has put out over the years (for example, “I Wanna Be Your Hero” or the original version of “Tear it Down”) or one-off tracks they included in compilations and live albums (like “Fractured Love,” “Desert Song,” “Kings of the World” and so on…and so on).
The band has continued to churn out new music and appease long-time fans with their relentless touring. Most recently, the band enjoyed a massive, successful co-headlining tour with Journey, hitting arenas and stadiums throughout the country.
BREAKING NEWS: Brand New Def Leppard Releases
On October 12th, the band announced several new releases (and new music):
“We All Need Christmas” (NEW song)
“The Story So Far: The Best of Def Leppard”
This brand new greatest hits compilation will be released on November 30. It features many classic tracks PLUS Def Leppard’s new cover version of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” You can pre-order this set right now — there are multiple configurations, including a: 2-CD Deluxe Set, 1-CD Set, 2-LP vinyl Set, Amazon digital version and iTunes standard and deluxe versions. (When you pre-order the digital version of the album, you immediately get the “Personal Jesus” track, which is also currently available separately.)
“Hysteria: The Singles” Box Set
A limited-edition 10-disc vinyl box set that includes all the singles (and B-sides) from the “Hysteria” album, plus a booklet featuring a complete discography, and an introduction written by Joe Elliott. Available for pre-order right now.
All the while, after all these decades, there haven’t been public spats or break ups in the band, and no money-grabbing “Farewell” tours (that aren’t even really farewells) or subsequent “Reunion” tours.
Over the years, their music and influence has also crossed over. Country star Tim McGraw performed on the song “Nine Lives.” Speaking of country, Taylor Swift’s first choice was to perform with Def Leppard on CMT’s Crossroads concert. Mariah Carey even remade “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.” And do you remember the musical and the movie Rock of Ages? Well, after reading some of the film’s reviews, maybe you purposely forgot about it.
One Direction’s song “Midnight Memories” caught the attention of many who instantly recognized it as a ripoff of “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” The only question was whether Def Leppard would sue them…but they didn’t.
And let’s not forget all the copycat 80’s bands who unsuccessfully tried to sound like Def Leppard. I’m not even going to bother naming any of them, but I’m sure you can think of a few.
Yes, both Bon Jovi and Def Leppard have sold an enormous amount of records. But it’s about so much more than that; it’s about the mark they leave behind.
“Hysteria” marked its 30th anniversary in 2017 and still sounds just as fresh today. Of course, I’m biased, as it’s also my favorite Def Leppard album. (Read more about the 30th anniversary of “Hysteria” here.)
By the way, if you ever want to read more about the band’s earlier years, leading up to the “Hysteria” album release, I highly recommend the rare, out-of-print book “Def Leppard: Animal Instinct” by David Fricke. It was originally released in 1987 and features many interesting, candid stories about each band member, including legendary, original guitarist Steve Clark. It also includes a very insightful look into drummer Rick Allen’s car accident — the tragedy and, ultimately, the resulting triumph — and so much more. The book is a gem any Def Leppard fan would treasure.
Def Leppard’s Songs Stand The Test Of Time
Guitarist Phil Collen looked back on “Hysteria” and talked about its impact and legacy:
“Especially when you have guitar geniuses like Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai and Brian May actually saying to you, ‘That is amazing guitar work.’ Y’know, Prince has mentioned it, Stevie Wonder has mentioned it. Alice Cooper actually said to me, ‘Whenever I go into the studio, I throw ‘Hysteria’ on, just to hear how the room sounds.”
I Don’t Want Your, I Don’t Need Your… Hall of Fame Induction!
Originally, lead singer Joe Elliott flat out said, he’d “politely refuse” if Def Leppard were asked to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Ironically, Jon Bon Jovi offered him Hall of Fame advice after Def Leppard was nominated.)
Phil Collen shared a similar view saying, “I don’t know [if we will ever get inducted] and I don’t care, really.” He added, “The way I look at it, I’ve got two diamond albums sitting on my mantelpiece…That means the fans went out and bought it, so that means a lot more to me.”
What’s Taken The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame So Long?
What I know for sure is that Def Leppard’s achievements and contributions to rock n’ roll music are indisputable, Hall of Fame or not.
But don’t tell me Bon Jovi is more deserving of being inducted first between the two bands.
It’s just not true.
Pour Some Sugar On Me…mories
Regardless of when — or if — Def Leppard’s Hall of Fame induction happens, the memories of blasting their music on the radio while cruising around, or rushing home to catch MTV’s “world premiere” of their latest music video, or getting in line at a record store to purchase one of their albums — on CD, cassette, or collectible vinyl — will remain cherished.
Pleasant memories can never be taken away, just like when:
- Are you a fan of A-ha’s song “Take on Me”? If so, you MUST check out the amazing acoustic version of the classic song. You’ll likely love it just as much as the original!
- Watching TV didn’t cost SO MUCH money every month! Here’s how you can easily cut the cord and eliminate costly cable/satellite TV bills.
- There was nowhere near as many TV reboots on the air as there are today. Read post here about how networks have jumped the shark with so many poor reboots and need to give them the boot!
- Savings accounts actually paid interest! (Read post here about how you can EASILY (and safely) still earn substantial interest on your savings starting today.)
It was also very welcomed news that Def Leppard’s entire catalog was FINALLY released digitally! (You can check out the band’s digital catalog here.)
Hopefully, a whole new generation will enjoy some great music from what this Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-worthy band.
What Do YOU Think?
If you agree with the argument made above, please spread the word via Facebook!
Do you think Bon Jovi deserved to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame before Def Leppard, not to mention so many other overlooked, worthy artists?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.