Monday, October 1, 2012

Steve Clark


January 8, 1991.

We just returned from Christmas Vacation.  I was in my first period class when I heared the news. The morning dee-jay had just played a block of Def Leppard when he came on and said Steve Clark was dead. WTF!!!  I knew it was a lie. They had just performed three nights here in November . I just heard on MTV (the early twitter and Facebook combined) that the new album was in the works. But, as we all know now, it was true.
Steven Clark was born April 26, 1960 in Hillsbrough, a suburb outside of Shettfield. From an early age, he showed a love for music. When he was 11, Steve asked his father for a guitar. He said yes, but one one condition, he had to learn how to play. And learn he did.

Around 1978, Steve met Pete Willis. At that time, he was playing in a cover band called Electric Chicken.  Pete and Steve struck up a instant friendship.  Pete told Steve of an open guitar slot in his band Def Leppard, but he would have to audition for the rest of the guys. Steve auditioned, playing 'FreeBird', by Lynard Skynard by himself in its entirety.  They voted Steve in.  As a member of Def Leppard, Steve would become a MAJOR force in the songwriting department.  Steve wrote or co wrote almost all of Def Leppards' songs between 1978 to 91. In 1980, 'On Through The Night' made its debut. The album, which peaked at #50 in America, was the beginning to what would later be called a British Invasion: Metal Style.  The song,'Hello America' would become a hit.
In 1981, the guys released 'High N Dry' to rave reviews. 'Bringin on The Heartbreak'(STILL the best song EVER), andHigh n Dry(Saturday Night)' were ground breakers for the band. It was during the recording however Pete Willis was replaced with Phil Collen. Steve and Phil hit it off. Not only musically, but off stage as well. The two became known as the Terror Twins. And the guys lived up to this name.

In 1983, Pyromania was released. This was the break through album. The anthem song 'Rock of Ages', was proof that Def Lepprd was here to stay. But it would be 4yrs before another album would be released.

Hystera was released in 1987. No one knew that this would be Steve Clark's last album. Steve's guitar work on 'Women' and, hell the ENTIRE album was classic.  'Pour Some Sugar on Me' was the biggest selling single for the guys. While the guys were reeling from the success of Hystera, and selling out arena after arena Steve Clark was begining his dissent into darkness. By the end of the Hystera tour, Steve was a full on alcoholic, and it was getting in the way of recording. During the recording of 'Adrenalize' Steve was put on a leave of absence. During this leave, it was expected that Steve Clark get clean and sober. This was not to be.

Steve Clark died of an accidental drug and alcohol overdose on January 8, 1991. He was only 30 years old. 

Steve Clark left behind a legacy of music. He was co writer on half of 'Adrenalize', which was released in 1992, and debuted at number 2. The song  'White Lightning ' was written as tribute to Steve, and his love for wearing white onstage.

Steve Clark was one of the GREATEST guitar players in hard rock. He wasn't Randy Rhodes, but he had a very distinct sound to his playing.  I still listened to Def Leppard, but it wasn't the same for me. When Steve Clark died, a piece of the band's sound,the sound that made them famous died too.


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