Steve Clark: Wikis


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Stephen Maynard Clark

Background information
Birth name Stephen Maynard Clark
Also known as White Lightning


Born 23 April 1960(1960-04-23)
Hillsborough, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Died 8 January 1991 (aged 30)
London, England
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, Vocals
Years active 1978 – 1991
Labels Island, Mercury
Associated acts Def Leppard
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Firebird
Gibson EDS-1275
Gibson XR-1
Dean Cadillac

Stephen Maynard Clark (April 23, 1960 – January 8, 1991) was one of the co-lead guitarists for British hard rock band Def Leppard up until his death in 1991 of an accidental drug overdose.



Childhood and adolescence

Steve Clark was born and raised in Hillsborough, the north-western suburb of Sheffield, England. From an early age he showed interest in music -- his mother even took him to a concert to see The Shadows perform when he was six. At eleven, he asked his father, a taxi driver, for a guitar, and his father gave him one, on the condition that Steve would learn to play.

Clark primarily used Gibson guitars during his timeline with Def Leppard. He occasionally used other guitars, such as a Fender Stratocaster in the Love Bites video.

Career with Def Leppard

Before joining Def Leppard in 1978, Clark played cover songs with his small band, Electric Chicken, in Sheffield. Around that time, he met Pete Willis (Def Leppard's original guitarist/founder). Clark asked for a spot in the band and joined Def Leppard in January 1978. According to Joe Elliott in Behind the Music, Clark auditioned for Def Leppard by playing all of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird".[1]

While a guitarist for Def Leppard, he contributed to the band's music and lyrics. Clark and Pete Willis shared lead guitar duties, and Clark was nicknamed as "The Riffmaster".[citation needed]

When Willis was asked to leave Def Leppard, guitarist Phil Collen was recruited into the band.

He contributed to half of the songs on the band's 1992 album Adrenalize just prior to his death. The song "White Lightning" on Adrenalize was written about Clark, because his bandmates nicknamed him "White Lightning" for his preference of wearing white clothes on stage.[citation needed]


At the time of his death, Clark was on a six-month leave of absence from Def Leppard.

On January 8, 1991, Clark was found dead on his couch by his girlfriend Janie Dean.[2] The autopsy revealed he had died from an overdose of codeine, valium, morphine and a blood alcohol level of .30, three times the British legal driving limit.[3] There was no evidence of suicidal intent. Daniel Van Alphen, Clark's drinking companion the night before, testified that the two went to the local pub and returned to the guitarist's home at midnight to watch a video.

He was buried at Wisewood Cemetery, Loxley, Sheffield,[4] near the Clark family home. His guitars were sold off by his girlfriend.

Tesla, who opened for Def Leppard on the Hysteria tour, recorded a tribute to Steve Clark on their Psychotic Supper album, called "Song & Emotion (To Our Friend, Steve 'Steamin' Clark)".


  1. ^ The tombstone tourist: musicians By Scott Stanton p. 303
  2. ^ The tombstone tourist: musicians By Scott Stanton p. 303
  3. ^ The tombstone tourist: musicians By Scott Stanton p. 303
  4. ^ The tombstone tourist: musicians By Scott Stanton p. 303

External links

Preceded by
Def Leppard Lead Guitarist
Succeeded by
Vivian Campbell

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