13 Amazing Bands Similar To Def Leppard

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Def Leppard has been rocking the airwaves since 1976 and were part of the heavy metal movement of the British music scene during the early 1980s. Their sound—a blend of hard rock, glam metal, and of course, heavy metal—caught the loyalty of fans worldwide.

If you are a die-hard Def Leppard fan searching for more music like theirs to rock out to, look no further! In this blog post, we’ll dive into 13 amazing bands like Def Leppard, sharing the same electrifying energy and irresistible sound. Learn who they are by reading on!

Def Leppard by Kevin Nixon (CC BY-SA 4.0)

1. Whitesnake

Formed in 1978 by lead singer David Coverdale, rock band Whitesnake grew in popularity alongside Def Leppard and also shares their roots in England.

With impressive hits such as “Here I Go Again,” “Is This Love,” and “Here I Go Again ’87,” Whitesnake has become synonymous with sizzling guitar solos and powerful rock ballads that mesmerize audiences today.

Over the years, they’ve had a few breaks in their career—in 1990, 1994, and 1997—reforming back in 2003. To the delight of fans, Whitesnake has since then continued making music.

Interestingly enough, guitarist Vivian Campbell played in Whitesnake and Def Leppard before joining the latter permanently in the early 1990s; this connection further emphasizes their musical affinity.

2. Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi is among the most prominent and successful bands in the hard rock music genre, whose fame has made them a natural fit on the list of 13 greatest groups similar to Def Leppard, particularly with their glam metal, hard rock sound.

Bon Jovi’s impact on rock music history and the broader music industry is undeniable, with their status firmly cemented through features in notable lists like Rolling Stone‘s “50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time.”

Bon Jovi has maintained its standing as one of the most enduring figures in hard rock and glam metal. Their impressive string of chart-topping singles illustrates their influence over time on this musical genre classification.

3. Mötley Crüe

Another legendary rock and heavy metal band with sounds reminiscent of Def Leppard’s is Mötley Crüe. Formed in 1981, they continue to capture the hearts of music fans with their electrifying stage performances and unforgettable anthems.

Touring has been pivotal to Mötley Crüe’s success throughout their four-decade-long career. They co-headlined a North American tour with Def Leppard in recent years—a testament to their enduring appeal in the music industry. Best of all, more tours together are planned.

Despite changes within the lineup—such as Mick Mars’ departure after 41 years—the original members have left a lasting mark on rock history with classic hits like “Kickstart My Heart” and “Dr. Feelgood.”

4. Scorpions

Another band that has shared the stage with Def Leppard is Scorpions. Hailing from Hanover, Germany, Scorpions has been rocking stages since the 1970s and are considered one of the titans of rock music.

Scorpions’ hard-rock sound is similar to Def Leppard’s, creating a perfect match for fans who enjoy loud guitar riffs and powerful vocals. If you’re looking to explore their discography, check out their hits “Send Me an Angel” and “Wind of Change.”

In addition to their successful career in the music tour industry, Scorpion’s latest is Rock Believer, which showcases their ongoing presence in the heavy metal scene.

5. Guns N’ Roses

Formed in Los Angeles in 1985, Guns N’ Roses gained substantial popularity in the late 1980s and ’90s. The original lineup included Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler.

Like Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses rose to fame during the late 1980s when rock music was thriving. They experienced commercial success and enjoyed widespread popularity with their respective albums—Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, and Def Leppard’s Hysteria are regarded as landmark albums of the era.

Sadly, internal conflicts plagued Guns N’ Roses, leading to lineup changes and periods of inactivity. Despite these challenges, the band’s influence on rock music remains significant.

In recent years, they have made a comeback, with Axl Rose and Slash reconciling and reuniting for a successful tour. This reunion has delighted fans and reignited interest in their music.

6. Poison

Emerging from Pennsylvania in the early 1980s, Poison, recognized for their lively music and glam metal flair, quickly made a name for themselves. They became an integral part of the glam metal movement of the era, known for their flamboyant image and larger-than-life performances.

In 1986, Poison took the world by storm with their debut album, Look What the Cat Dragged In. They followed this up with several more high-charting album releases, like Open Up and Say… Ahh! And Flesh & Blood.

Poison is known for their similar musical style to Def Leppard. Both bands have shared stages and toured—in 2012, 2017, and Def Leppard’s latest North American tour in 2022.

7. Aerosmith

When speaking of hard rock and heavy metal music, Aerosmith will always be mentioned. This legendary rock band has existed since the early ’70s, and like Def Leppard, their music is characterized by heavy guitar riffs and high-energy, powerful vocals brought to you by frontman Steve Tyler.

Each year, the band never fails to give fans high-charting hits to rock to. In the ’70s, they dropped “Sweet Emotion.” The 1980s saw the Grammy-winning “Janie’s Got a Gun.” Then in the ’90s, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” rocked the world, followed by “Jaded” in 2001.

Fans of Def Leppard will never go wrong exploring Aerosmith’s discography. There’s plenty to choose from and enjoy!

8. Van Halen

American band Van Halen makes it on this list as one of the music groups spearheading the rock music scene. With the iconic Eddie Van Halen on guitar, they’ve gained widespread popularity with their hard rock sound and heavy metal influences—just like Def Leppard.

In a career that lasted 47 years, Van Halen produced multiple hit albums—like 5150, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and OU812, among many others—selling over 3 million units each.

Sadly, with Eddie’s passing in 2020, the band retired. Nevertheless, their impact on music will forever be celebrated. For fans looking for similar bands to Def Leppard, Van Halen should be on your list as they share many similarities musically.

9. Journey

Journey emerged from the San Francisco music scene in the early 1970s. Since then, they have become a staple in the rock world. The band’s lineup features amazing musicians like Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboard), and Steve Smith (drums).

Though Journey does not have the glam and heavy metal influence of Def Leppard, they’re well-known for their hard rock sounds. Their musical evolution also showcases an array of other styles, from progressive rock to arena rock.

Journey’s epic ballads, such as “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Open Arms,” have become classics that continue to resonate with listeners of all generations. The songs’ anthemic quality makes them timeless pieces that should be on rock lovers’ playlists.

10. KISS

A must-listen for any Def Leppard fan is KISS. Formed in New York City in 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and Ace Frehley, KISS is known for its unforgettable stage shows and signature makeup designs.

KISS’s music can be categorized as hard rock and heavy metal, much like Def Leppard. They gained popularity with their self-titled debut album in 1974, which featured fan-favorite, classic tracks like “Strutter” and “Black Diamond.”

Beyond their music, KISS revolutionized the concept of a rock concert by giving stage shows with elaborate pyrotechnics and amazing visual elements. The band members’ iconic personas, including Stanley’s Starchild and Simmons’ Demon, added an extra layer of mystique and theatrics to their performances.

11. Warrant

Los Angeles glam metal band Warrant gained popularity in the late 1980s. With their upbeat and hard-hitting sound, they quickly became one of the most successful bands of this genre.

Warrant achieved commercial success with their second studio album, Cherry Pie, released in 1990. The album’s title track was inspired by Def Leppard’s iconic track “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” which showcases how much influence Def Leppard had on other bands in the same genre. The song also became Warrant’s most recognizable hit.

While Warrant experienced success during their early years, internal conflicts and changing musical trends affected their trajectory. They underwent lineup changes over the years but continued to release new music and tour. Despite the challenges, Warrant maintained a dedicated fan base and remained active in the rock scene.

12. Ratt

Next up is the glam metal band Ratt. These guys emerged from the buzzing rock scene of Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Led by frontman Stephen Pearcy, the band could create hooks and infectious guitar riffs that could make your head spin.

Ratt’s music embodied the wild excesses and gritty glamour of the Sunset Strip during its heyday, drawing fans into a world of loud guitars, pounding drums, and rebellious lyrics.

Their breakthrough came with their debut full-length album, Out of the Cellar, released in 1984. It spawned hits like “Round and Round” and “Wanted Man,” which became anthems of the time.

Over the years, Ratt faced their fair share of challenges. Then tragedy struck when lead singer Robbin Crosby passed away from a drug overdose in 2002. Despite this loss, Ratt remains popular among rock enthusiasts worldwide.

13. Twisted Sister

Ending this list is the heavy metal group, Twisted Sister. Formed in 1972, the band has been compared to Def Leppard for its hard rock sound and theatrical performances.

They released their debut album, Under the Blade, in 1982. However, it was their third studio album, Stay Hungry (1984), that brought them mainstream success. The album featured their most well-known hits, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.”

Despite their success, changing musical trends and internal conflicts led to the band’s breakup in 1988. They have reformed several times since for events, the latest being their induction into the Metal Hall of Fame in 2023.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Def Leppard

If you’re a fan of Def Leppard and looking for similar bands to add to your playlist, we hope this list has given you some great recommendations.

From Whitesnake and Bon Jovi to Ratt and Twisted Sister, plenty of hard rock and heavy metal bands are around to get your head banging.

Who have we left off, though? Let us know, and we’ll add them here!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.