Joseph Thomas "Joe" Elliott (born 1 August 1959) is a British singer-songwriter, and musician, best known as the lead singer and occasional rhythm guitarist of the British rock band Def Leppard. He has also been the lead singer of 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.
Early life and Def Leppard:
Elliott was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire 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 name to "Def Leppard" to distinguish them from contemporary punk bands like The Flying Lizards and Boomtown Rats. The band claims that the similar-looking spelling of 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 also often comments that the lyrics to Def Leppard's music are almost never personal; they are meant to be easily accessible to the listener. He also plays guitar and drums as well as piano and electronic keyboard.
Joe Elliott currently hosts a radio show on planetrock.com on Saturday nights.
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 had the honour of appearing alongside Queen guitarist Brian May and guitarist Slash along with the other members of Def Leppard at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992 to perform "Tie Your Mother Down".
He also has worked on several projects like The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood's solo album Slide on This, Lori Spree's Those Faces, Ricky Warwick, The Almighty, and others.
He and fellow Def Leppard member/guitarist 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.
Joe Elliott sung the vocals in the Mott the Hoople cover band, Down 'n' Outz on their album My ReGeneration Vol. 1.
In 2012 Joe 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 Joe are, Duff McKagan, of Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver and Loaded, Matt Sorum, of Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, Gilby Clarke, of Guns N' Roses, and Steve Stevens of Billy Idol's band. Others who round out the group are: Glenn Hughes, of Deep Purple fame and Sebastian Bach, formerly of Skid Row. The band plans on hitting the road and have released the cover song Never Before by Deep Purple. Hughes has stated the band will release a series of EP's with each EP featuring an original song and each EP featuring various genres of music: hard rock, alternative and punk. These genres seem to appeal to the various members the most. The tour will probably feature of mixture of these songs along with songs by Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, Loaded, Deep Purple and Skid Row. Joe will be on lead vocals and will occasionally play guitar, Duff will play bass and occasionally play guitar, Matt will be on drums, Steve and Gilby will be on lead guitars.
Elliott currently lives in Stepaside, Dublin, Ireland and 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 in Joe's Garage 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. His first marriage was to Karla Ramdhani in 1989; they separated in 1994 and divorced in 1996. He dated Bobbie Tolsma from 1999 to 2003. Joe married Kristine on 1 September 2004, and their first child, Finlay, was born in December 2009. Joe Elliott's father, Joe Elliott Sr, died in July 2011 after being ill for a number of weeks.
During a performance of 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 National Hockey League 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 hockey fans. Elliot later said, "Every 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?"
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license