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Vivian Campbell

Here are some facts about Vivian Campbell, known as the lead guitarist for "Dio" and "Def Leppard".

(Photo: Kevin Winter)


1. He was born Vivian Patrick Campbell on August 25, 1962, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


2. At the age of 12, Vivian Campbell started playing guitar, utilizing a Telecaster Thinline and a Carlsbro Stingray amp.


3. By the time he was 15, Campbell joined a band called "Teaser", which later evolved into "Sweet Savage", a band associated with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM).


3. In the early 1980s, Campbell rose to prominence as replacing Jake E. Lee as the guitarist of "Dio", a legendary heavy metal band fronted by Ronnie James Dio.


4. Campbell played a pivotal role in the band and contributed to the band's sound, although Ronnie James Dio, Vinny Appice, and former "Rainbow" bassist Jimmy Bain already had most of the songs for the album "Holy Diver" prepared.


5. "Holy Diver," Dio's album featuring Campbell's guitar work, was released in 1983 and became a significant success.


6. Continuing with Dio, Campbell contributed to albums such as "The Last In Line" (1984) and "Sacred Heart" (1985), which also achieved commercial success.


7. Sadly guitarist Vivian Campbell, who no doubt fit into this lineup like a glove, was fired by Dio in the middle of a tour that supported the album "Sacred Heart".


8. His last release with the band was the live album "Intermission" released in 1986.


9. Before Campbell was fired from the band, he and his bandmates participated in the "Hear 'n Aid" project, which aimed to raise money for the famine in Africa. Dio, Campbell, and Bain wrote and composed the song "Stars", which was performed by the leading artists in heavy metal at the time.


10. In 1987, Vivian Campbell took a significant step by joining "Whitesnake", which had recently recorded their album "Whitesnake".


11. Despite not being involved in the original album tracks, Campbell re-recorded the guitar solo for the single release of "Give Me All Your Love."


12. Throughout his time with "Whitesnake", Campbell's relationship with lead vocalist David Coverdale became strained due to personal conflicts involving their wives, impacting the band's dynamics.


13. Following the tour supporting "Whitesnake's" self-titled album, Coverdale informed the band that the next album would be written solely by him and guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, leading to Campbell's departure.


14. Campbell's relationship with David Coverdale eventually found resolution during a tour where "Def Leppard" and "Whitesnake" shared the stage in 2008.


15. In 2015, Campbell returned to the "Whitesnake" stage for a special performance of "Still of the Night" in Sheffield, signifying a symbolic reconciliation.


16. After departing "Whitesnake" in December 1988, Campbell took on diverse musical projects. In 1989 he played guitar in 3 songs from Lou Gramm's second solo album "Long Hard Look".


17. That same year he played acoustic guitar on the song "Desperate" taken from "Vixen's" debut album.


18. In 1989 he also produced the first demo for "Riverdogs", a band he later officially joined.


19. In 1990 he was part of their debut album "Riverdogs". Campbell will rejoin the band for their later releases "World Gone Mad" (2011) and "California" (2017).


20. In 1991, Campbell joined Lou Gramm's new band "Shadow King". That same year he released their eponymous album with them.


21. In 1992 he played lead guitar on two songs from "Gotthard's" eponymous debut album.


22. That same year, Vivian Campbell joined "Def Leppard", taking over the role of lead guitarist after the passing of Steve Clark in 1991.


23. Campbell made his "Def Leppard" debut at a club show in Dublin and later performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, showcasing his new role in the band.


24. Despite facing challenges, including a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013, Campbell continued touring and playing with "Def Leppard".


25. He released 6 studio albums with the band, the first "Slang" from 1996 and the last "Diamond Star Halos" was released in 2022.


26. Alongside his band commitments, Campbell released a solo album titled "Two Sides of If" in 2005, showcasing his affinity for blues music. Terry Bozzio plays drums on the album. "ZZ Top's" Billy Gibbons guests on two songs, and Joan Osborne on one other song.


27. In mid-2010, when "Def Leppard" was on hiatus, Campbell joined "Thin Lizzy", one of his favorite band.


28. In 2012, After the tour, he asked Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice both from the original lineup of "Dio" to get together for a "Dio" tribute project that ultimately became "Last In Line".


29. They released "Heavy Crown" in 2016, showcasing a positive reconnection with his Dio legacy, followed by their second album "II" from 2019.


30. In 2014 Campbell played the guitar solo on the song "Gangbang at the Old Folks Home" from "Steel Panther" album, "All You Can Eat".


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