Though the album is not Saxon's best selling, it spawned two of their most successful singles, "And the Bands Played On" and "Princess of the Night". There are nine songs on this album, which are noted for lyrics about a wide range of topics. "Princess of the Night" is a song about a powerful train and "And the Bands Played On" is about 1980 Monsters of Rock Festival - name checking several of the other acts on the bill including Rainbow and Touch. Other themes for the songs include: partying, the spirit of the music, fighting, and, like many of their songs, motorcycles.
The name of the album and song was inspired by the popular attire of metalheads in the early 1980s, defined by denim pants and leather jackets. The song is seen as a tribute from the band to their fans while describing the history of the sub-culture and the rise of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM).
The album is regarded as a classic in the band's discography, and has been received positively by critics and fans. Eduardo Rivadavia of Allmusic gave the album four and a half out of five stars, and called the opening track "Princess of the Night" an "infectiously anthemic opening statement", whilst praising the title track for also being an "unqualified classic". He considered "Out of Control" and "Rough and Ready" to be strong tracks, whilst regarding "Fire in the Sky", "Midnight Rider", and "And The Bands Played On" as "spectacular". In regards to the band's inability to maintain the level of commercial success that this album helped to achieve, he said that even the album's weakest tracks "hardly gave notice that Saxon's incredible run was in fact coming to an end", also commenting that "If only Saxon had managed to stagger the amazing triumvirate of Wheels of Steel, Strong Arm of the Law, and Denim and Leather over a longer stretch of years, we might still be talking about the group today in the same hallowed tones reserved for fellow N.W.O.B.H.M. standouts Def Leppard and Iron Maiden."