Def Leppard vs. Bon Jovi
These are two of the most successful bands of the 1980s/early 1990s.
Both bands have sold millions of records, toured the world, had major hit singles, dominated MTV and radio, and have been the envy of many of their peers.
Both bands have also continued to release albums since the mid-1990s to the present and toured the world. Both bands have had continued success around the world, except in the U.S., where Bon Jovi clearly dominates over Def Leppard.
So why does Bon Jovi sell out U.S. STADIUMS at $100+ a seat and Def Leppard has to co-headline (Bryan Adams last year, now Journey) to come close to filling the seats at an outdoor amphitheater for a third to half of the price?
Why does Bon Jovi still command radio airplay for mediocre material and Def Leppard can’t get anything, even mediocre material, post-1992 in any airplay rotation?
Now I’m not going to deny the successes of both bands. I think that for both bands to have maintained a level of success within a 20-25 year period is amazing. It is good for the world of Hard Rock to have bands like this in the public eye, keeping this genre alive in the mainstream. What I am trying to figure out is why/how Bon Jovi has shot past Def Leppard in the last decade.
Tale of the Release:
- released 5 studio albums between 1984-1992, including a 4 year gap between New Jersey (1988) & Keep The Faith (1992)
- released 7 albums between 1994-2005, only 3 were actual studio albums, including 5 year gaps between These Days (1995) & Crush (2000) & Have A Nice Day (2005)
- the other 4 albums released between 1994-2005 were a greatest hits, live album, box set, and an acoustic greatest hits compilation.
- since 2000 have released various different forms of each album (Wal-mart only releases, tour editions, E.P.s, etc.)
- released 5 studio albums between 1980-1992, including a 4 year gap between Pyromania (1983) & Hysteria (1987), as well as, a 5 year gap betweem Hysteria (1987) & Adrenalize (1992)
- released 6 albums between 1993-2004, only 3 were actual studio albums between 1996-2002
- the other 3 albums released between 1993-2004 were a b-side compilation, greatest hits, and another greatest hits
- will release a covers album, Yeah!, in 2005
If you look at both bands’ output until 1992, you’ll see that they released the same amount of studio albums and each had two major blockbuster albums. You will also notice that there are significant gaps of years between releases for both bands. You could explain these gaps with the facts that both bands went on worldwide tours for these releases resulting in two years or more on the road. Also Def Leppard had two major tragedies in those gaps: Rick Allen’s accident between Pyromania & Hysteria and Steve Clark’s death between Hysteria & Adrenalize. I’m stressing the point of both bands having years between their blockbuster albums because Def Leppard always gets criticism for not releasing albums in a timely manner.
If you look post-1992, you’ll notice that Def Leppard has released studio albums with more consistency: 3 albums in 6 years (1996-2002). Bon Jovi has released 3 albums in 10 years (1995-2005).
So what is it that has launched Bon Jovi past Def Leppard as far as popularity and success in the U.S.?
Is it radio airplay?
Is it label support? They are on the same label.
Is it that the women adore Jon Bon Jovi? I seem to remember the Def Lep guys being favorites of the ladies as well.
Is it the strength of the material? I’d argue that the studio albums both bands released are of the same quallity. (I’m taking personal preference out of it.)
Is it that Bon Jovi is American and Def Leppard is British? Doesn’t matter to me but it could to some people.
I have no answer.