Thursday, 18th July 2019
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41 Years Ago DEF LEPPARD Play First Public Live Show In SHEFFIELD

Def Leppard 1978. Deaf Leopard 18th July 1978

Def Leppard played their first ever public live show in Sheffield, England 41 years ago on this day in 1978.

The band's incredible 40 year long live touring career started at 9pm on Tuesday 18th July 1978 in the Mosborough district of Sheffield.

The band had formed from the ashes of Pete Willis and Rick Savage's band Atomic Mass in November 1977 and soon adopted the name Deaf Leopard.

Joe Elliott had dreamt up the band name in art class in 1975 which was later changed to "Def Leppard" after a handful of shows in late 1978.

For this first show "Deaf Leopard" played a school disco event on the outskirts of Sheffield which had been arranged by a promoter called Bootleg Bill. Their only previous "show" was a small rehearsal concert at the Spoon Factory near Bramall Lane at Christmas time in 1977 for around six friends. They played five songs and got an encore.

In late June or early July 1978 the band took a holiday on the Norfolk Broads in East Anglia (Southern England). The location of this trip could have been influenced by Joe's love of David Bowie and the 'Life On Mars' lyric "From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads'.

Whilst there they decided to travel to nearby Ipswich and saw a concert by U.F.O. on Monday 3rd July at The Gaumont. This show inspired Steve Clark to demand that if the band did not stop their months of rehearsals at the Spoon Factory and play an actual concert he would quit.

Sure enough upon arriving back in Sheffield the band would make its public debut later that month. The number of audience members has been mentioned at various times to be between 50 to 150 students and they were paid five pounds by a teacher.

Featuring the early line-up of Steve Clark, Pete Willis, Joe Elliott, Rick Savage and original drummer Tony Kenning. They played six songs starting with the unreleased track 'World Beyond The Sky' and encored with a cover of Thin Lizzy's 'Jailbreak'. They have since gone on to play over 2,100 concerts in more than 50 countries around the world.

Joe Elliott is pictured below at Westfield School in the Mosborough district of the city in 1989 for the Rock Of Ages documentary. Sitting in front of the stage area. The school has now closed down. For more photos visit the 1978 show page.

Read a collection of show stories below including many from Joe's recent interviews and his own Planet Rock radio show.

Def Leppard 1978.

Read the full 'The First Show' story on the Lep History section.

This section will be expanded to include all major historical events and releases.

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