There’s a certain shamelessness to Def Leppard, which – like, say with Gene Simmons, Billy Corgan or Dave Mustaine – you either love or hate.

Frontman Joe Elliott never made any bones about their ambition: “We wanted to be the biggest band in the world,” he once said, “and for a short time, we were.” He’s not lying. Their work ethic and ambition shot them from hard rock also-rans to classic rock giants in just over five years.

The question is, what comes after that? And it’s not a question they answered quickly or easily. Repeating the formula puts you at risk of making a parody of yourself, while straying too far puts you at risk of bewildering the people who believe in you. In their time Def Leppard committed both of those crimes, but always managed to pull back from the precipice and return to fight another day.

The reason is simple: underneath it all, the band are fans of music, and that love and belief in music – other people’s as much as, and sometimes more than, their own – always seems to bring them home. Ultimately you can’t hate a group of people who you know love music as much as you do. Thus, even if you don’t love Def Leppard’s musical output, you’ve got to at least respect it; and that’s probably enough for them.

For those who care a little more, however, the subject of best song from each album is likely to be a vexed one; and so we present our list as “a” list and not “the definitive” list.

More From 96.5 The Walleye