He was one of the lead writers of "Def Leppard". Thanks to his writing abilities he even earned the nickname "The Riffmaster"
(Photo: Peter Still)
Let's tell you 30 facts about the talented guitarist and songwriter Steve Clark, who will sadly always remain 30 years old:
1. He was born on April 23, 1960, as Stephen Maynard Clark, in Sheffield, England.
2. Already at a very young age he showed great interest in music. His parents took him to a Cliff Richard show when he was just 6 years old.
3. His father bought him his first guitar when he was 11, provided he learned to play the instrument seriously.
4. Steve did learn to play the classical guitar for a year before he discovered Jimmy Page and "Led Zeppelin" on a record he heard at a friend's house.
5. While in high school he played in a cover band called "Electric Chicken".
6. He met Def Leppard's founding guitarist Pete Willis in college. Pete saw Steve reading a book on guitars, asked him if he knew how to play, and invited him to audition for a band. Steve did not come.
7. The second time Willis and Clark met it was already at a "Judas Priest" performance. Singer Joe Elliott was also there and they both invited Clark to audition for the band again. This time Clark responded.
8. Elliott said that in the audition Clark played the entire "Lynyrd Skynyrd" song "Free Bird", from beginning to end, accurately and unaccompanied. That was enough for him to be accepted into the band and he became an official member of it in January 1978.
(Photo: Lorelei Shellist Runway RunAway TV)
9. Willis and Elliott made a great deal accepting Clark to the band. Steve will become the band's lead writer who will be behind 90% of the band's work.
10. Not only that, but Clark will provide the band with some of the most beautiful riffs in "the new wave of British heavy metal,". that has earned him, and rightly so, the nickname "The Riffmaster".
11. And if that's not enough, then he also shared the solos in all of the band's songs with guitarist Pete Willis, sang background vocals, and provided vocal harmonies to Joe Elliott.
12. In November 1978 the band went on to record their first EP which was released in January 1979, and was called The "Def Leppard E.P." Clark co-wrote all the songs and was responsible for playing the solos in the vast majority of the mini-album songs.
13. The interest of the radio stations in the group of young musicians that brings new and fresh heavy metal to the local scene soon led to the band signing a recording contract with "Phonogram".
14. The band's debut album was released in March 1980 and received rave reviews. Clark co-wrote 10 of the 11 songs on the album and was also responsible for playing most of the solos on the album, including the two singles "Hello America" and "Wasted".
15. The story was repeated on the band's second excellent album - "High 'n' Dry", which was released in July 1981. Clark co-wrote 8 of the album's 10 songs and played the solos in the vast majority of the songs, including the singles "Let It Go" and "Bringin 'On the Heartbreak".
16. Towards the end of the recordings of the third album "Pyromania", guitarist Pete Willis was asked to leave the band in the face of his drinking problems, and guitarist Phil Collen was recruited in his place.
17. Clark and Collen soon became good friends and together designed "Def Leppard's" famous guitar duet sound, while being nicknamed "Terror Twins".
18. What made Leppard's sound so special was the combination of Clark and Collen and their ability to switch between rhythm playing roles, cross solos, or play together in perfect harmony.
19. The fact that the two came from different musical backgrounds actually contributed to the uniqueness of the band. Clark brought with him the classical side that had been inherent in him since childhood, the ability to read notes and understand the structure and theory of music, while Collen brought with him a free playing style that stemmed from the fact that he had taught himself to play. Clark brought with him the rock of "Led Zeppelin" and Collen brought with him the jazz of Al Dimeola, to create the perfect combination.
20. The band's big break came of course with the third album "Pyromania" released in 1983. Here too Clark co-wrote the vast majority of this amazing album song and played a significant portion of the solos. In addition, Clark was also the one who played the acoustic guitars in the songs "Foolin'" and "Die Hard the Hunter ".
21. Clark continued to lead the writing and playing in the band also on the next album "Hysteria" which was released in 1987 and became the band's most successful album.
22. Clark has always had drinking problems he could not overcome. However, these problems worsened precisely after the release of the band's most successful album. Clark sank into the alcohol, until his friends convinced him to go into rehab.
23. Clark agreed and began the rehab process, but despite his efforts, he was unable to arrange himself. He lost his confidence and went deeper into the alcohol problems.
24. On 8 January 1991 he was found lying on the sofa lifeless in his London apartment. High levels of alcohol and painkillers were found in his blood.
25. Before his death, Clark had co-written 7 of the 10 songs on the album "Adrenalize", which was released about a year after his death in March 1992.
26. Tesla who warmed up "Def Leppard" on the tour of the album "Pyromania" dedicated the song "Song & Emotion" from their album "Psychotic Supper" To: "Our Friend, Steve 'Steamin' Clark".
27. Clark was more identified with Gibson guitars, but there were times when he played other guitars as well, like in the song "Love Bites" where he played the Fender Stratocaster guitar.
29. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after his death, along with "Def Leppard" members, in 2019.
30. Clark is ranked 11th out of 100 on Classic Rock magazine's guitar heroes list.