Def Leppard is synonymous with ’80s and early ’90s rock ‘n’ roll. In August of 1987, Def Leppard released the Hysteria album that really catapulted the British rock group into levels most acts never reach. Hysteria sold 16 million copies worldwide, and it is arguably one of the best albums top to bottom of all time with the singles “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Animal,” “Love Bites,” “Hysteria,” and “Armageddon It.”
Though the group would never see success like that album again, Def Leppard did enjoy hits well into the turn of the century. The fact that the band has been left largely intact allows them to still fill up large venues when tour dates are announced. Their latest tour is no different.
However, when Def Leppard plays Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas, May 11, a special set of eyes will be eagerly anticipating their arrival. Thanks to a local petition and a band that doesn’t want to let their fans down, students from a local school will get a portion of what they asked for.
On Markham Street in the neighboring capital city of Little Rock sits the Arkansas School for the Deaf. The school was established in 1850. For over 150 years, it has served the students of Arkansas with special needs. The school participates in five categories of athletics including football, basketball, volleyball, track, and cheer squad, and their mascot coincidentally is the Leopards.
You might ask how a little school in Arkansas would come up with the mascot Leopards. If you thought it was because of the band, you would be mistaken. The name goes at least as far back as 1941 when the Leopards won the basketball national championship for deaf schools.
Because of the similarity between the band’s name and the school mascot’s name, when Def Leppard announced their tour dates, the wheels started turning to bring the band and the school together. A petition was started on Change.org that would have the members of Def Leppard take a photo in front of the Arkansas School for the Deaf featuring their name or at least a version of it. To date, 1,464 people have signed the petition.
Despite the fact that the petition didn’t receive the desired 1,500 signatures, the group Def Leppard will make a meeting with the students happen. The day of the show, Def Leppard will have a special photo made with the students that attend the school. Unfortunately, the band’s schedule will not allow them to meet at the school itself, so a large picture of the scoreboard has been taken, and the band will have the students meet with them at the arena prior to their concert.
Stacey Tatera, a spokesman for the school, spoke with Arkansas Online and talked about how social media has played a pivotal role in making this meet-and-greet happen.
“We’re so proud for anyone to shine a light on our school, on deaf education and on the work we do here.”
Cary Tyson from the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute is credited with getting the ball rolling with the Change.org petition.
Def Leppard’s Rock Brigade Tour kicked off May 2 in Pensacola, Florida. From North Little Rock, the band will continue to tour throughout the summer and into the fall across the United States and Canada. The tour will end October 10 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The tour will also feature past popular rock groups such as REO Speedwagon, Styx, and Tesla.
Kudos to the band for making something like this happen for a group of well-deserving students!
[Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Images]