Rick Savage

Last updated

Rick Savage
Rick Savage of Def Leppard in 2018.jpg
Savage in Denver, Colorado, United States, July 2018
Background information
Birth nameRichard Savage
Also known asSav
Born (1960-12-02) 2 December 1960 (age 60)
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • bass
  • guitar
  • keyboards
Years active1977–present
Associated acts
Website defleppard.com

Richard Savage (born 2 December 1960) is an English singer-songwriter and musician best known for being the bass guitarist and one of the founding members of the English rock band Def Leppard. Savage and lead singer Joe Elliott are the only two remaining original members of the band. The two of them, plus drummer Rick Allen, are also the only members of the band who have performed on every album.



Richard Savage was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England . Savage was educated at Tapton Secondary School in Sheffield. [1] In his youth, he learned to play guitar along with his older brother. They played songs like Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" and Don McLean's "American Pie." Savage also pursued a career as a professional football player with Sheffield United, despite his devotion to rivals Sheffield Wednesday. Savage ultimately chose music and formed a band with a few schoolmates including Tony Kenning and eventually Pete Willis. As Atomic Mass they mostly played Queen, Slade, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, and other popular covers of the time.

At one point, they decided that Willis was the better guitar player so Savage picked up the bass guitar. Needing a singer, the band auditioned an acquaintance of Willis', Joe Elliott. They subsequently picked up guitarist Steve Clark and changed their name to Def Leppard.

Savage contracted Bell's Palsy around 1994. This causes his facial muscles to weaken and become partially paralyzed. He has recovered, but effects of the disease are still visible, especially when he is fatigued.

From an interview by Gordon Shearer on DefLeppard.com:

Shearer: "What about when you developed your Bell's Palsy? Did that change the way you dealt with things? Lots of gossip, lots of comments. I could imagine going from the position that you were in – from ultimate rock sex god to...."
Savage: "It was hard to come to terms with and to understand why. I found it was easy to get into the 'why me?' syndrome. Partly because of the disability. It was more not being able to eat properly, or not being able to sleep without putting a patch on your eye because your eye wouldn't close, and things like that. The effect that it has on your everyday life was the hardest thing. In comparison, it was a very minor debilitating disease. It keeps you humble seeing what Rick Allen went through and how he had to deal with things. So, I would rather have not got the disease, but I did and you make the best of what you got".

Personal life

Savage is married to Paige Savage, with whom he has three children (one from Paige's prior relationship) Jordan, Tyler and Scott. [2] The family moved to Enniskerry in 2013, but returned to Sheffield in 2016. [3]


Savage currently uses custom basses made by Jackson after endorsing Washburn XB920 (4-string) and XB925 (5-string) bass guitars from 1999 to 2009. He formerly used Hamer 4 and 5-string bass guitars for over 17 years, starting with their Gibson Explorer-inspired "Blitz" model during the High 'n' Dry and Pyromania albums from 1982 to 1985 and Hamer's modernistic take on the Explorer shape, the "Scarab" model of which he mainly used a white model during the Hysteria recording sessions and tour (although Savage continued to use a black-colored "Blitz" downtuned C#ADG for the hit single "Pour Some Sugar on Me" which can be seen on their Live: In the Round, in Your Face live video/DVD, and a Scarab model in black with a reverse headstock was seen in the "Rocket" video and their performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1989) from 1985 to 1989. At the release of Adrenalize he used an array of Chaparral Max 5-string models in various colours including a black & white "Granite" finish, one with a variation of the Adrenalize album artwork custom painted on it, and a black-painted model from 1990 to 1999. Savage switched endorsements to Washburn basses in the middle of the promotion cycle for the Euphoria album in 1999, and a Natural Flame XB925 given to him by Washburn in 1999 has been his main instrument since then. [4] However the custom painted Union Jack XB925 is his most well known bass, [5] followed by the Saint George's Cross XB925, with both paint schemes reproduced on his new Jackson basses in 2009. He acquired two more of the Jackson basses, one in a grey-toned Union Jack scheme and the other painted in the colors of Sheffield Wednesday with the team's logo. He used these on the 2011 Mirrorball tour. [6] Savage never has been a fingerstyle guitarist, relying entirely on a plectrum, or "pick". In an interview with Bass Guitar magazine, he stated: "I'm a terrible player with my fingers and I always play with a pick. I love to have consistency within the sound no matter where you are on the fretboard. I've found that when I play with fingers, notes jump out and others are too muted. It would be a nightmare for the sound engineer just trying to compress the thing to make sure there's an equal balance coming off the stage."


Related Research Articles

Def Leppard British rock band

Def Leppard are an English rock band formed in 1977 in Sheffield. Since 1992, the band has consisted of Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen, and Vivian Campbell. They established themselves as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement of the early 1980s.

Robert John "Mutt" Lange is a Zambian-born South African record producer and songwriter. He is known for his work in the studio and innovations in multitrack recording and producing many of rock's most famous albums. He has produced albums for, or otherwise worked with, artists such as AC/DC, Def Leppard, The Boomtown Rats, Foreigner, Michael Bolton, The Cars, Bryan Adams, Huey Lewis and the News, Billy Ocean, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, The Corrs, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Now United, Nickelback, and Muse. He also wrote and produced songs with his then-wife, Canadian singer Shania Twain. Her 1997 album Come On Over, which he produced, is the best-selling country music album, the best-selling studio album by a female act, the best-selling album of the 1990s, and the 9th best-selling album in the United States.

<i>Pyromania</i> (album) 1983 studio album by Def Leppard

Pyromania is the third studio album by English rock band Def Leppard, released on 20 January 1983 through Vertigo Records in UK and Europe and through Mercury Records in the US. The first album to feature guitarist Phil Collen who replaced founding member Pete Willis, Pyromania was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. The album was a shift away from the band's traditional heavy metal roots toward more radio-friendly glam metal and hard rock, finding massive mainstream success. Pyromania charted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, No. 4 on the Canadian RPM Album chart and No. 18 on the UK Albums Chart. Selling over ten million copies in the US, it has been certified diamond by the RIAA.

<i>Hysteria</i> (Def Leppard album) 1987 studio album by Def Leppard

Hysteria is the fourth studio album by English rock band Def Leppard, released on 3 August 1987 through Mercury Records and reissued on 1 January 2000. It is Def Leppard's best-selling album to date, selling over 20 million copies worldwide, including 12 million in the US, and spawning seven hit singles. The album charted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart.

<i>Adrenalize</i> 1992 studio album by Def Leppard

Adrenalize is the fifth studio album by English rock band Def Leppard, released on 31 March 1992 through Mercury Records. The album was the first by the band following the death of guitarist Steve Clark in 1991. Instead of replacing him with a new member, the band recorded the album as a four-piece. "We had recorded demos on multitrack," recalled fellow guitarist Phil Collen. "I was sitting there with him when he played the original parts. I could relay that. But it was like playing along to a ghost."

<i>Retro Active</i> 1993 compilation album of B-side singles by Def Leppard

Retro Active is a compilation album by the English rock band Def Leppard, released in 1993. The album features touched-up versions of B-sides and previously unreleased recordings from the band's recording sessions from 1984 to 1993. The album charted at number 9 on the Billboard 200 and No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart.

Joe Elliott

Joseph Thomas Elliott Jr. is an English singer-songwriter, musician, record producer and radio presenter, best known as the lead singer and one of the founding members of the English hard rock band Def Leppard. He has also been the lead singer of the David Bowie tribute band the Cybernauts and the Mott the Hoople cover band Down 'n' Outz. He is one of the two original members of Def Leppard and one of the three to perform on every Def Leppard album. Elliott is known for his distinctive and wide ranging raspy singing voice.

Steve Clark

Stephen Maynard Clark was an English musician. He was the principal songwriter and lead guitarist for the English hard rock band Def Leppard, until 1991, when he died from alcohol poisoning. In 2007, Clark was ranked No. 11 on Classic Rock Magazine's "100 Wildest Guitar Heroes". In 2019, Clark was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Def Leppard.

Phil Collen British singer, songwriter, and guitarist

Philip Kenneth Collen is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is the co-lead guitarist for the rock band Def Leppard, joining the band in 1982 during the recording of the Pyromania album.

Peter Andrew Willis is a retired British musician, best known as a founding member of the band Def Leppard. He co-wrote many tracks and played guitar on the band's first three albums: On Through the Night, High 'n' Dry, and Pyromania, which was being recorded at the time of his departure. He was fired from Def Leppard in 1982 and replaced by Phil Collen. In 2019, Willis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Def Leppard.

Def Leppard discography Cataloging of published recordings by Def Leppard

The English hard rock band Def Leppard have released 11 original studio albums, two live albums, four compilation albums, one cover album, and three extended plays.

Animal (Def Leppard song) 1987 song by Def Leppard

"Animal" is a song recorded by English hard rock band Def Leppard in 1987 from the album Hysteria. It was the second single release off the album, and became the band's first Top 10 hit in their native UK, reaching No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart.

Photograph (Def Leppard song)

"Photograph" is a song performed by English hard rock band Def Leppard and produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. It is the lead single from the band's third studio album, Pyromania (1983). Their lead vocalist Joe Elliott has described the song as generally about "something you can't ever get your hands on". When released as a single it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart, where it stayed for six weeks, and No. 12 on the Pop Singles chart. In 2009 it was named the 13th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. It was also listed as the No. 17 greatest song of the past 25 years by VH1.

Hysteria (Def Leppard song) 1987 song by Def Leppard

"Hysteria" is a love song by the English hard rock band Def Leppard. It is the tenth track on their 1987 album of the same name and was released as the third single from that album in November 1987. On VH1 Storytellers: Def Leppard, lead singer Joe Elliott revealed that the song title came from drummer Rick Allen. The song peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100, but did not crack the year-end, despite the fact that some of the band's songs that did not crack the top 10 has made appearances in the year-end.

Slang World Tour 1996–1997 Def Leppard concert tour

The Slang World Tour was a worldwide concert tour by English hard rock band Def Leppard in support of their album Slang, which was released in May 1996. Although Slang was the first Def Leppard album to feature new material with guitarist Vivian Campbell, this was his second tour with the band. Campbell joined Def Leppard just prior to their Adrenalize World Tour in 1992.

Women (Def Leppard song) 1987 song by Def Leppard

"Women" is a song released by English hard rock band Def Leppard in 1987 from the album Hysteria. It was the first single of the album released in the United States. The song was also released as a single in Canada, Australia, Japan, and was part of a double-A side single with "Animal" in Germany. In most other parts of the world, "Animal" was the first single released from the album.

Viva! Hysteria (concert residency) 2013 concert residency by Def Leppard

Viva! Hysteria is a concert residency by English rock band Def Leppard where the band played their 1987 album Hysteria in its entirety.

Adrenalize World Tour

The Adrenalize World Tour, also known as the Adrenalize "Seven Day Weekend" Tour, was a concert tour by British hard rock band Def Leppard in support of the Adrenalize album, which was released in March 1992. The Adrenalize "Seven Day Weekend" Tour was the first Def Leppard tour without guitarist Steve Clark, who died in January 1991 while the album was being recorded. Former Dio and Whitesnake guitarist Vivian Campbell was hired as Clark's replacement six weeks before the tour started.


  1. "A brief guide to Sheffield's most famous residents – News stories – Students – The University of Sheffield". Sheffield.ac.uk. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  2. "A day in the life of a rock star wife". Belfast Telegraph. 19 September 2011.
  3. "Celebrity property news: Rick Savage and Rachel Wyse". The Sunday Times. 6 May 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  4. McIver, Joel (January 2007), "Rick Savage – Def Leppard", Bass Guitar , 28: 42–44
  5. "Sav's custom Union Jack XB925 Washburn". Washburn.com.
  6. "Rick Savage (Def Leppard) Rig Rundown". YouTube. Retrieved 10 September 2014.