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Pete Willis

Today we want to tell you about a guitarist that we miss very much. He is a very special guitar player and his name is Pete Willis:


He was born Peter Andrew Willis in Sheffield, England, on February 16, 1960.


He greatly admired Jimi Hendrix and already at a very young age began to play the guitar.


He formed the band "Atomic Mass" in the mid 70'sת together with bassist Rick Savage.


In November 1977 he met singer Joe Elliott, also a Sheffield native, at a bus stop.


Willis introduced Joe to the band members, who were immediately enthusiastic about his ideas.


Elliott later persuaded "Atomic Mass" members to change their name to "Deaf Leopard" and band drummer Tony Kenning suggested they distort the name a bit and call the band "Def Leppard".


Willis as mentioned was among the founders of "Def Leppard" and accompanied the band during it's pure Heavy Metal era, ehen the revolution of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal took place.


In January 1979 he released with the band their first EP - "The Def Leppard E.P".


Pete was one of the band's lead writers on theur first three albums.


The last album on which Pete contributed his talent to the band, was "Pyromania".


Unfortunately, even though he plays on all the songs on the album "Pyromania", Pete was replaced in 1982, during the recording of the album, by guitarist Phil Collen, due to his drinking problems.


Willis later made an attempt to return to music when he co-founded, the supergroup "Gogmagog", with bassist Neil Murray, singer Paul Di'Anno and drummer Clive Burr - both formerly of "Iron Maiden". The band released an EP called "I Will Be There EP", in 1985.


It is interesting to note that guitarist Janick Gers will later join the band, will eventually join "Iron Maiden".


Pete was also a part of another band that released it's debut album "Roadhouse", in 1991.


Unfortunately, the above projects did not took off and we lost a gifted guitarist who did not realize his potential.


In 2003, Willis left the music business and moved into real estate.


In 2019 he was inducted into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame", along with his friends for "Def Leppard".


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