Def Leppard Inducted Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The band celebrated their induction during a ceremony tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., where frontman Joe Elliott spoke frankly about Def Leppard's triumphs and tragedies.
"If alcoholism, cancer and car crashes couldn't kill us," he said, "the '90s had no fucking chance."
Happenstance played a role in their successes, Elliott admitted. He met former guitarist Pete Willis when he missed a bus. "Sadly, Pete couldn't be with us tonight," the singer said, "but I want to emphasize how very important Pete's role was in this band in the early days." Elliott also paid tribute to the late Steve Clark, who played such a critical role in Def Leppard's initial success.
But he said they had plenty of supporters along the way, beginning with the band's loyal fans. Elliott also thanked his parents, saying his father loaned them critical seed money while his mother taught him the first guitar chords he ever knew. "I've learned two more since," Elliott then quipped, "and I've come to realize you don't actually really need them at all."
Def Leppard, who were inducted by by Queen's Brian May, also won the online fan vote, which counts for one of the more than 1,000 ballots sent out to the nominating committee. (Every act that has topped the fan vote since it began in 2012 has been inducted during their winning year.) Elliott earlier thanked the fans in an official statement, admitting Def Leppard hadn't cared too much about the Hall until then.
"I think it is a nice badge of honor," he said. "I don’t think it’s going to make too much difference to many people. It was something that we weren’t overly concerned about until the fan vote thing became a major part of it. The people that really matter to every band are the audience. You have a filter to it. You have to go through media, radio, TV, A&R men to get to an audience, but the audience is the prime target to any artist. Now the people on the [nominating] committee, none of us know who they are. But once the fan vote became an important thing and that’s when we started thinking, 'Okay, now this starts meaning something.'"
Def Leppard will begin their second residency in Las Vegas this summer with 12 shows between Aug. 14 and Sept. 7 at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Their previous residency was in 2013, when the group performed 1987's Hysteria in its entirety.
The 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air April 27 on HBO.