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(This page last updated: May 10, 2013)
Joe Elliott, provenance unknown
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Def Leppard was actually one of the first true rock bands I was ever exposed to, thanks to an older brother who was a big fan of theirs during the Pyromania and Hysteria eras. Even as a kid, I could see the appeal of the music--I will maintain until my dying day that if the Leps aren't the best rock band ever, they're at least the most accessible. And they literally changed the whole face of rock music during the 80's; without them... well, I probably can't say that a great many of my other favorite bands would never have existed, but they might well have looked and sounded very different.

I have to veer off on a tangent here for a moment, and say that I don't really like slapping labels on music or artists except in a very, very general sense. I mean, obviously there's a huge difference between contemporary and classical, for example, or country and new age; without some kind of labelling, we'd all be wandering around totally confused. But when it comes to pop and rock, the division is much less clear, and it seems kind of stupid to me to completely write off one genre or the other. I like both, and I don't make any excuses for it. From my own perspective as a fan, there just really isn't any question of which is more "credible" or "valid;" it's a non-issue. I like what I like, simple as that.

I also have a certain fondness for things that straddle the lines between different genres, in all forms of entertainment: books, movies, TV shows, etc. It's just cool to me when someone can take the best of two different things and mix them up together in a new and interesting way--perhaps because that's what I often end up doing when I write. And that was also pretty much what Def Leppard did with music; they were the first band to blend elements of heavy metal with the slick production of pop, and the record-buying public loved it. Their Pyromania album was, in essence, the blueprint for both a new kind of band and a new kind of music, and in between 1983 and 1987, dozens of other bands tried to emulate that same winning formula. Naturally, some got it right, and others didn't--and yet, when Hysteria came out in 1987, I think it was clear that nobody did Def Leppard better than the Leps themselves; that album broke all kinds of records for sales, concert attendance, hit singles, etc. (And, just as a trivia note, Europe opened for them during a portion of the American tour--boy would that would have been a show and a half!)

From a personal perspective, though, I think the most telling indicator of how good a band the Leps are is this: The album after Hysteria, called Adrenalize, was supposed to take only a year or so to record, but due to a combination of bad luck and the tragic death of guitarist Steve Clark, it didn't see a release until 1992. Musical fashions had changed by then; grunge was the up-and-coming thing, and the Leps' brand of rock was beginning to be considered passé--yet Adrenalize still sold six million copies and had several hit singles. It might have been the "last gasp of the 80's," so to speak, but if any band had to do it, at least it was one who really deserved that final shot of success. For Steve's death was, of course, not the first tragedy the band had weathered; the other was when drummer Rick Allen lost an arm in a car accident on New Year's Eve, 1984. As someone who has a tiny, tiny bit of experience at drumming (I played in my high school band for a year or two) I am just in awe of that man--there are probably not a whole lot of people in the world who could have something like that happen to them and not let it stop them from going right back to their chosen career.

Still, despite that admiration--and the fact that the whole band is amazingly photogenic--it was Joe Elliott who really caught and held my eye when I got old enough to appreciate the Leps in ways beyond the musical. I'm pretty sure that "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was one of the first music videos I saw when I actually started watching MTV, and what a way to start... (Another trivia note: That video was actually shot right here in Denver, at the now-demolished McNichols Arena. Too cool!) I have the feeling that seeing all those women in the audience, straining and screaming towards Joe--who was looking hunky indeed in his ripped-up jeans and tank top--might well have been my first clue that I was not the only one in the world who thought musicians were the sexiest things on two legs! bouncygrin emoticon And even yet, he's still very much worthy of admiration; the man has the most amazing eyes, and he's even still got long hair! And technically adept or not, I love his voice--he's another one who can just send shivers down my spine. (Though I do have to admit, he's probably the cause of more misheard lyrics than any other artist... sometimes I just can't make heads or tails of what he's singing... laughing emoticon )

Favorite Songs & Videos
I have most of the Leps' back catalog now, except for the 2 pre-Pyromania albums. However, many of them are recent acquisitions, and I need to listen to particularly the post-RetroActive stuff before I'll really be able to do a comprehensive list of favorites. Similarly, I've seen some of their videos but by no means all... I'll list the ones I know I like now and add others as necessary...
Favorite Songs: Let's just call it half of Pyromania and all of Hysteria and Adrenalize for now...
Favorite Videos: "Pour Some Sugar On Me" - US Version
Still a classic, still a favorite...
"Love Bites"
I haven't seen this for a while, but I do recall Joe looking quite good in it...
"Rock Of Ages"
Hee... one of the few instances where I actually get to SEE a rock star wielding a broadsword, rather than just imagining it! bouncygrin emoticon
"Pour Some Sugar On Me" - UK Version
I just saw this for the first time recently, and as much as I love the US version, this one is hilarious! rolling on the floor laughing emoticon
"Foolin'"
Features Joe Elliott chained to... well, I'm not actually sure what that thing is; it looks a bit like some kind of futuristic torture device. (But hey, the fact that he's chained to it is reason enough to watch the video! bouncygrin emoticon )
"Women"
Very cool concept--and Joe looks fantastic, as usual.
"Animal"
Sigh... I do love Hysteria-era Joe...
Favorite Joe Elliott Quotes

"We've realized that the secret of a successful song is a bit like the secret of fishing; you dangle a tasty hook and hope that people will want to take a bite."

"...Whether I'm a good singer or not, I don't think there's anyone in the world with a voice like mine."

"If nothing else, we've proved that you don't have to be a weirdo who lives in an oxygen bubble to sell enough albums to get to Number One [in America]!"

[on touring] "New York is great, but they get everybody. When you play a place like Casper, Wyoming, it's like the second coming of Christ."

Tell me about it, Joe... I went to jr. high and high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and that's partly why my concert-going experience is as scanty as it is...

"There's a lot more to being a singer than singing. I don't come off stage thinking that I have a power over people 'cause I don't--it's not a power, it's an ability to be able to communicate with a vast amount of people, something I'm very lucky to be able to do."

Joe Elliott's Astrological Sign

Date of Birth: 1 August, 1959

Western Zodiac: Leo (Fire)
Chinese Zodiac: Pig (Earth)

One of the few performers on the list who isn't on the cusp between signs, Joe Elliott is also, from what I know of him, both a typical Leo and a typical Pig right down to the ground: Exuberant, charming, and big-hearted, with a strong work ethic and a determination to do the best he can at his chosen career.

The Chord & Sorcery Angle

If Joe Elliott were a character in a fantasy novel, he would be:

A warrior; he's got the build for it.

The fantasy/period outfit I would most like to see Joe Elliott model is:

Fighting garb. Not full plate armor, though, I think; just plain, sturdy clothing under a mail shirt and swordbelt, etc.

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