Today marks a big milestone for Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen, who joined the band 40 years ago on July 12th, 1982.
Collen replaced Pete Willis, who was fired for excessive alcohol abuse, during the recording of their iconic third album, Pyromania, in 1983.
Phil was actually first approached by lead vocalist Joe Elliott about joining Def Leppard on the road for the tour in support of their 1981 album, High 'n' Dry, but Willis eventually ironed things out temporarily with the band.
Phil talked about joining Def Leppard in 1982.He said, "When I joined, this stuff was very different to High 'n' Dry. I was very impressed -- even the guitar movements and where the vocals were starting to go. I thought I was just helping out, playing a bit on the thing. And then [producer] Mutt [Lange] said, 'Take this track home. Play a solo on it.' And it was 'Stagefright,' that was the first one. So I went home, I worked out a kind of a rough thing and I came in the next day and everyone was like, 'Whoa,' 'cause it sounded different to what they had before. So this stuff was just great to play on. And so I had so much freedom from that point of view as a lead guitarist, so I was just playing all over the stuff."
[Source: Classic Hits Today]