The Illness That Almost Ended Def Leppard Singer Joe Elliott’s Career


One of Def Leppard’s co-founders, Joe Elliott, has contributed immensely to the rock and roll world with his unique, raspy voice ever since he stepped on the rock scene in 1975. The singer co-formed the band in 1977, and they are still going strong after almost 45 years. The band explores glam metal, hard rock, heavy metal, and pop-rock sounds, and even though their music has heavy metal elements, they weren’t considered a strong representation like Iron Maiden.

Elliot has been highly praised for his wide range of vocals and capabilities as a singer. In fact, fans were surprised when he recently described himself as a pop singer instead of a rock singer and stated that he feels more comfortable singing pop songs because it’s easier for him. Today we’re going to unveil the story of the incident that threatened his career and brought the singer on the verge of losing his voice.

Joe Elliott Suffered From Pneumonia


The singer got diagnosed with pneumonia around 2015, which affected his throat more than anything else. Pneumonia is a disease that affects the respiratory system and causes discomfort and pain in the chest area, mainly the lungs. If he were a person that didn’t sing for a living, it would be an easier process to go through, but Elliott wanted to heal and do it fast.

It caused some long-term damage to his throat, although he thought it would go away in a few days. In 2016, Def Leppard went on the High Seas cruise to perform, but Elliott couldn’t sing with his band for the first time in their careers and had to watch other singers perform with Def Leppard. Later, the band canceled many dates, and Elliott’s doctor said in a 2020 interview with Express that this illness might require him to stop singing altogether.

Here are Elliott’s words about what his doctor said:

“When I got pneumonia, and I got the hundred-day cough, it totally destroyed my vocal cords, to the point where my throat doctor said to me, ‘If you weren’t you, I’d tell you to retire because this is never going to get better.'”

Here is why they canceled the tour dates:

“I took a five-day break thinking, ‘This has always sorted me out in the past.’ It didn’t, and we had to cancel a tour, and I had to take five months of working every single day for an hour or two with my vocal coach, who’s also a shrink in many respects.”

How Did Elliott Recover?


The singer didn’t give up and went on an 18-month journey to get his voice back to how it was. He worked with a vocal coach and re-trained his voice while doing some physical exercises. He stated that he successfully gained back his voice after a long healing process and can now sing even better than he used to.

Here is how Elliott recovered:

“It’s stronger than it used to be, best it’s ever been. I’d love to say I don’t know how it happened, but I do know how it happened. I worked incredibly hard with a vocal coach from Los Angeles. When we realized we’d be going out on tour with almost 250 shows and no opening act, so two and a half hours a night, we knew that we were going to need training.

We worked with the vocal coach, who doesn’t teach you to sing, he teaches you how not to use your voice. Exercising it properly before you go out on stage. And it took me about 18 months to totally get my voice into a condition where I was happy with it. I was probably as good as I was before, but then all of a sudden, my voice got better and better.

I just got more accurate. I’ll be the first to say I’m no Paul Rodgers, but I’ve got a style that’s recognizable that now, at the age of 60, is better than it was at 20. And it just keeps getting better and better and better because I know how to look after it, I don’t smoke anymore.”

This disease had a huge impact on the singer, and the loss of time he had while recovering allowed him to pick up healthy habits. He now knows how to ‘look after it’ and care for his voice. For instance, he quit smoking and is now a better singer than he used to be 20 years ago.