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Joseph Thomas Elliott, Jr. (born 1 August 1959) is an English singer-songwriter, musician and actor, best known as the lead singer of the English rock band Def Leppard. He has also been the lead singer of the David Bowie tribute band the Cybernauts and the Mott the Hoople cover band Down 'n' Outz. He is one of the two original members of Def Leppard and one of the three to perform on every Def Leppard album. Elliott is known for his distinctive and wide ranging raspy singing voice.
Elliott live in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 13 August 2008. Photo by Matt Becker
|Birth name||Joseph Thomas Elliott, Jr.|
|Also known as||Joe, Zeff|
|Born||1 August 1959|
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
|Genres||Glam metal, hard rock, heavy metal|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer, radio presenter, actor|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
|Labels||Island, Mercury, PolyGram|
|Associated acts||Atomic Mass, Def Leppard, Cybernauts, Down 'n' Outz, Kings of Chaos|
Early life and Def LeppardEdit
Joseph Thomas Elliott Jr. was born in Sheffield and was educated at King Edward VII School. Elliott met Pete Willis; a member of a local band called Atomic Mass; in November 1977 after missing a bus. Upon finding out that they were both musicians, Elliott met the rest of the Atomic Mass members. The band spent hours talking and listening to records in Elliott's bedroom. Elliott tried out as a guitarist and, though the band had not heard Elliott sing, they were impressed by "his attitude and his ideas about being in a band" and he became the band's vocalist instead. The other members also took Elliott's suggestion to change their name to "Deaf Leopard." Elliott had invented the name for the band in youth. Tony Kenning suggested they change the band name to "Def Leppard" to distinguish them from contemporary punk bands like The Flying Lizards and Boomtown Rats. The band claims that any apparent similarity of the name Led Zeppelin to Def Leppard was unintentional. Elliott soon became an integral part of the band while also contributing his songwriting skills.
As a songwriter, Elliott has drawn from his eclectic tastes in music (ranging from pop-rock to folk) as sources of inspiration. He has noted that the lyrics to Def Leppard's music are rarely personal; they are meant to be easily accessible to the listener. He also plays guitar and drums as well as piano and electronic keyboard.
Elliott has worked with several side projects through his career such as participating in numerous tributes to other artists like Freddie Mercury, Alice Cooper, Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter and David Bowie. He appeared alongside guitarists Brian May and Slash along with the other members of Def Leppard at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992 to perform "Tie Your Mother Down".
Elliott and fellow Def Leppard member Phil Collen once had a side project together called Cybernauts. The project was short-lived, and the internet album that was available online has been deleted since its 2001 release.
Released in September 2003 through Sanctuary Records, Ricky Warwick's Tattoos & Alibis was produced by Elliott.
In 2012 Elliott went on tour with the Rock N Roll All Stars, a band that consisted of many of rock's most recognized performers. The band downsized and became the Kings of Chaos. The primary members with Elliott are Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver and Loaded), Matt Sorum (Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver), Gilby Clarke (Guns N' Roses), and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol's band). Others who round out the group are: Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) and Sebastian Bach (formerly of Skid Row). The band released the cover song "Never Before" by Deep Purple. Hughes has stated the band will release a series of EPs with each EP featuring an original song and each EP featuring various genres of music: hard rock, alternative and punk. The tour are expected to feature these songs along with songs by Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, Loaded, Deep Purple and Skid Row. Elliott will be on lead vocals and will occasionally play guitar, McKagan will play bass and occasionally play guitar, Sorum will be on drums, Stevens and Clarke will be on lead guitars.
Elliott has a recurring role in the American-British comedy series Laff Riot, in which he plays a spoof version of himself. He is tied to a 24-hour contract to Planet Rock, which Elliott presents in real life. Show creator Callum Rose is a fan of Def Leppard, and is particularly a fan of Elliott himself, hence the reason he hired the singer to partake in the series. Adding to this, the two had performed together at Madison Square Garden for The Callum Rose Victory Concert for Leukemia Awareness, dueting on many songs.
Elliott currently lives in Stepaside, Dublin, Ireland and also has a residence in Los Angeles. He maintains a recording studio in his Dublin home called Joe's Garage in which he has recorded and produced many major artists. Other artists have also recorded there while he has been on the road with Def Leppard. Elliott is also a Sheffield United fan, having contributed music to the Sheffield-based film When Saturday Comes. Elliott dated Denise Dakin from 1979 until 1988. Elliott's first marriage was to Karla Ramdhani in 1989; they separated in 1994 and divorced in 1996. Elliott dated Bobbie Tolsma from 1999 to 2003. Elliott married Kristine on 1 September 2004, and their first child, Finlay, was born in December 2009 and are also parents to a daughter, Lyla, born July 2016. . Elliott's father, Joe Elliott Sr, died in July 2011 after being ill for a number of weeks.
During a performance on 7 September 1983 in Tucson, Arizona, Elliott attempted to rile the crowd during the "Rock of Ages" crowd sing-a-long. He told the crowd: "Last night, we played in El Paso, that place with all the greasy Mexicans, and they made a lot more noise than that." Then, on 30 September he apologized on an El Paso radio station for the racial slur he made while referring to the city on 7 September. The band later followed up the apology with donations to Hispanic charities.
In 2008, Def Leppard performed live on stage at a Detroit Red Wings ice hockey game. Midway through the set, Red Wing forward Darren McCarty drove a motorcycle across the stage with the Stanley Cup on the back. Another Detroit player, Kyle Quincey, handed the cup to Elliott, who unintentionally placed the Cup upside-down on its stand. Upon realizing his error, Elliott quipped to the crowd, "Oh it's upside down. Well never mind. We're soccer boys, what do we know?" The incident angered many ice hockey fans. Elliott later said, "[E]very other sporting cup I've ever seen, was wider at the top than the base [...] Like most of my fellow Brits, I'd never seen it before until it was handed to me sideways by which time I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right."
In 2010, Elliott criticised the British music press, which he accused of ignoring his band and narrowing popular taste:
|“||It's nice to walk down Oxford Street without being recognised but then again when music magazines write about us they take the piss because we're not as cool as Johnny Marr, who isn't as successful as us by a million miles [...] Rock's ploughed its own furrow for 30 years but still music magazines don't give rock its due [...] How many more front covers do Paul McCartney and Morrissey need? Our album will sell more than Morrissey's so why don't we get the same kind of respect?"||”|
- With Def Leppard
- The Def Leppard E.P. (1979)
- On Through the Night (1980)
- High 'n' Dry (1981)
- Pyromania (1983)
- Hysteria (1987)
- Adrenalize (1992)
- Live: In the Clubs, in Your Face (1993)
- Retro Active (1993)
- Slang (1996)
- Euphoria (1999)
- X (2002)
- Yeah! (2006)
- Songs from the Sparkle Lounge (2008)
- Mirrorball: Live And More (2011)
- Viva! Hysteria (2013)
- Def Leppard (2015)
- The Story So Far – The Best Of (2018)
- With Down 'n' Outz
- My ReGeneration (2010)
- The Further Adventures Of... (2014)
- The Further Live Adventures Of... (2017)
- With Kings of Chaos
- With Cybernauts
- Cybernauts Live
- Jeffrey, Laura S. (2010). Def Leppard: Arena Rock Band. Enslow Publishers. p. 16. ISBN 9780766032347.
- Wiederhorn, Jon. "Def Leppard Frontman Launches Mott the Hoople Cover Band – Noisecreep". Noisecreep. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- "Standing the test of time". Tuscaloosa News. 21 October 2017.
- Fricke, David. 1987. Animal Instinct: The Def Leppard Story. Zomba Books, London. ISBN 0-946391-55-6.
- Joe Elliott planetrock.com. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
- "News We Share With You". 8 July 2011. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Detroit Red Wings Defenseman: JOE ELLIOTT Placed STANLEY CUP Upside Down 'On Purpose". BlabberMouth.
- "Joe Elliot: Def Leppard don't get enough respect". Metro. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2013.