Two of the albums from that period — "Hysteria" and "Pyromania" — have sold more than 10 million copies each. And songs like "Photograph" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me" became stables on MTV, challenging other monster hits of the time, like "Thriller," for air space.
But the band is more than just a cornerstone of '80s glam rock.
Vocalist Joe Elliott, guitarists Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen, bassist Rick Savage and drummer Rick Allen haven't stopped recording even into their AARP years.
Three years ago, they released "Songs from the Sparkle Lounge," and in early June, the band put out its first live album, "Mirrorball."
The album packs some of Def Leppard's best-known rock anthems — "Hysteria," "Love Bites" — into a two-disc set of some 20 songs. Elliot has also written four new songs, including "Undefeated," which has been used to kick off some recent concerts.
Savage described to Billboard magazine another new song, "King of the World," as "'We Will Rock You,' with guitars."
The band members are not planning on taking it slow on the road. They'll be writing and thinking of new tunes while they're on tour, Elliott also told Billboard. The plan is to have new material ready for release by next summer or by the following Christmas.
If recent set lists are any indication, though, expect the show Saturday to be much like the "Rock of Ages" musical: a celebration of the band's best moments.
Except for "Undefeated," the bulk of the night should make most middle-age fans think they're back in 1987.
Def Leppard performs July 31 at Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Drive , Bristow , Va. Heart will open. Tickets start at $25. Call 703-754-6400 or visit ticketmaster.com.