Tuesday 23rd April 2019…  Steve would’ve been 59 today. Each year I wonder what he’d be up to if he were still with us. But I don’t just wonder about that on his birthday… I wonder about that often on many days. It’s good to think about him in a positive light. He remains forever young and forever special.

But the possibilities… imagine what wonders we’d have been treated to… the other artists and musicians he’d have gone on to work with. One can only dream. But it’s good to dream sometimes.

If you know music and have studied Steve Clark’s playing style and song writing talents closely, you will have learned that Clark was a genius at his art and did much more than simply write jaw-dropping riffs. Steve knew and understood the rules of music; he knew how the language worked.

He knew theory, scales and modes, inversions, finger style, time signatures, sight-reading, orchestration, composition etc. He knew where and when to put melodies and space. He was creative. He was unique. And he could read music! How many musicians out there today can actually read music?

The legendary drummer Ginger Baker once stated in an interview in a rock magazine that the late Phil Seamen told him that “these [current] pop musicians wouldn’t know a hatchet from a crotchet.” 

I can’t tell you how much pride I take in knowing that my guitar hero was a real proper musician. It just adds an extra level of coolness.

Steve Clark live on tour 1988


Steve Clark

Birthday’s are times for celebration. We should remember Steve with a smile and be grateful for the short time he was with us to create and build the foundations of Def Leppard, where his legacy is showcased on the band’s first four albums all released in the 1980’s. His work has finally landed Def Leppard into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this year. His legacy is there for all to see and hear.

I’m going to share a few more favourite quotes about musicianship and some images featuring the most dazzling smile I’ve ever seen.

“…there are a lot of guitar players who can play fast, who can stretch their fingers, know all the chords and [have] memorized the notes on the scales, so there’s no shortage of players who are very good at mechanically playing the guitar… but finding the one guitar player who has an original sound and who can write and play a song, that makes you cry or makes you excited… or makes you, y’know, look inside your soul… and just makes you feel happy, that’s a gift. That’s a special gift.”  ~  STEVE VAI

Steve Clark was clearly born with this gift and used it extremely cleverly. We remember him fondly as always and celebrate and  treasure the music he gave to us.

Happy birthday Steve!

“I couldn’t help but think how, God!, just no-one, truly no-one can take his place. He had this was when he played live about him. He pulled out all these weird bends to the end of notes, vibrato, and some strange haunting melody lines. It’s not like he would change it drastically, and then, mixed with the regular stuff he was playing. Just his playing! Really really haunting, in a romantic, melodic kind of way. The way Chopin must have left people in his day, but of the rock genre!”

~ Alex, October 2005

“The man’s whole approach to solos were classical; he used extensive scale knowledge  to come up with those licks, and he was plain awesome. Especially note Steve’s little solo break between the first chorus of Bringin’ On The Heartbreak and the second verse; that run he does is the ‘A’ Aeolian scale and it’s amazing. Nothing blues about it.

 …it’s scale knowledge and music theory that made him unique. Steve was not this “feel – bluesy player”, he was a classical technician that knew the fretboard. Beautiful guitar work!”

~ Hurricane Joe, July 2007