The Band Joe Elliott Imitated To Save Def Leppard
One of the world’s best-selling music acts with over 100 million records sold worldwide, Def Leppard is a prominent rock band formed in 1977 and featuring Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen, and Vivian Campbell. Back when they began their music career, they emerged as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement of the early ’80s. They then achieved their greatest commercial success between the early 1980s and the early 1990s.
After more than three years of recording sessions, Def Leppard released their fourth album ‘Hysteria’ on August 3, 1987. Following the album’s release, they quickly began to work on their fifth album. However, their then-guitarist Steve Clark decided to focus on finding a solution to his heavy drinking problems. With his death on January 8, 1991, Def Leppard eventually decided to move on and released their fifth album ‘Adrenalize’ on March 31, 1992.
Def Leppard then recruited Vivian Campbell as Clark’s replacement in 1992. Later on, they decided to embark on a world tour, but the rise of alternative rock and grunge had an effect on the band’s fortunes. With the rising popularity of alternative rock and grunge, Def Leppard decided to change from rebellious rock stars into a more friendly image, combining heavy metal elements with pop music. Back in those days, Joe Elliott also thought of imitating another band to save the band from losing popularity. Let’s learn which band that was.
Joe Elliott Decided To Imitate The Rolling Stones And Their Iconic Frontman Mick Jagger
In a 2016 interview with WRIF’s Meltdown, Joe Elliott talked about the rise of alternative rock and grunge and their effects on them as well as the other music acts of the era. According to Elliott, Def Leppard’s tickets were sold out and their albums were still chart successes at the time when Guns N’ Roses came along in 1992. However, in the mid-1990s, it got tougher for them. Towards the end of the 1990s, grunge music began to sound happier, unlike the sound of the bands like Nirvana.
Moreover, Elliott said that the bands they were competing with back then disbanded or their members passed away. Then, new bands began to emerge with more happy-sounding music, like Sugar Ray or the Goo Goo Dolls. As it seems, at this time period, Elliott began to think of ways to save Def Leppard from sharing the same fate with the other bands of the era.
At some point during the conversation, he said that they took Mick Jagger and his stage shows as an example, and he tried to imitate them. Elliott called Jagger ‘a hero of theirs’ from a perspiration point of view, who is capable of outdoing a young popular musician like Justin Bieber.
As reported by Blabbermouth, Joe Elliott said in the interview the following:
“When Guns kicked it in ’92, we were still selling three nights out in every arena in the States with an album that was No. 1 for six weeks on the Billboard charts. And then in the mid-’90s, it got tough. And then towards the end of the ’90s, we noticed that the grunge music started to sound happier; it wasn’t all Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
A lot of the bands that kicked our ass, if you like, kind of went away or died, or people died within the bands. And then you had bands like Sugar Ray coming along that were kind of grungy, but they were happy-sounding stuff, and the Goo Goo Dolls.”
He then continued:
“You watch The Stones live and you look at Mick Jagger at the age of 72 and think, ‘How the hell does he do that?’ And that’s the yardstick that we judge ourselves against — people like Jagger. He goes out of his way to kind of prove that you don’t have to be twelve to look twelve. You can still do…
He can outdo Justin Bieber, and he’s old enough to be his great-grandfather. And Jagger is a hero of ours from a perspiration point of view; he goes out there and he works his ass off and he gets the job done.”
According to Elliott, Mick Jagger is a musician who proves that one can act like a twelve-year-old on the stage by jumping around and making energetic ‘moves like Jagger,’ although he is not a young rock icon anymore. So, by taking Jagger’s stage persona and energy as an example, Elliott saved Def Leppard from fading away.