On Friday evening, Def Leppard were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame by Queen guitarist Brian May.
May paid tribute to the band’s work ethic and spoke about how they overcame adversity after drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in a car accident and the death of guitarist Steve Clark in 1991.
As for their music, May said: “They released 50 singles, most of which were hits and many were number ones. There was this kind of feeling abroad in the press, particularly in the UK, that maybe that made them uncool.
“But let me tell you, those songs, the fact that they wrote real songs that people can sing and carry in their heads is the reason that Def Leppard will be remembered in hearts and minds long after all of us have left this Earth.”
Taking to the stage, Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott spoke about the chance meeting between him and guitarist Pete Willis in 1977, which led to the birth of the band.
Elliott also paid tribute to Willis, who was also enshrined with the band, saying: “Sadly Pete couldn’t be with us tonight, but I want to emphasise how very important Pete’s role in this band was in the early days.
“He was a terrific player, had a very mischievous sense of humour, but he brought plenty of great musical ideas to the band.”
Closing his speech, Elliott thanked their families, wives and children “who help to keep us grounded and also give us a good reason to keep doing what we do.”
He added: “And last but absolutely not least, my fellow bandmates here. We’re not blood, but we’re the closest thing to brothers this only child has ever known. I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do it without you guys.”
Def Leppard then took to the stage to play Hysteria, Rock Of Ages, Photographand Pour Some Sugar On Me, before coming out at the end of the ceremony to lead an all-star jam of Mott The Hoople’s All The Young Dudes with Ian Hunter.
They were also joined by May, Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone from the Zombies – who were also inducted into the Rock Hall on Friday night – Steven Van Zandt and Susanna Hoffs from The Bangles.
Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Radiohead, Roxy Music and Janet Jackson were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
via Planet Rock
Close friends with Def Leppard for decades, Brian May has guested on stage with them numerous times, including for a performance of ‘Now I’m Here’ at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness in 1992.
Speaking on stage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Brian spoke about joining Def Leppard at a Los Angeles gig in 1983 to play a mashup of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Travelin’ Band’ and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock and Roll’, which nearly ended with him being engulfed by flames.
Fortunately for Brian, Def Leppard frontman and Planet Rock DJ, Joe Elliott, was on hand to save him.
“Cut to September ’83, I’m in Los Angeles, again we’re recording an album, which, this time, is The Works, I think, and I go out. This time, Def Leppard are playing the local arena, which is the legendary L.A. Forum. I go down there, very inconspicuous, I sit in the back, and when these boys hit the stage, I have to tell you — I have never seen anything like it. I’ve seen some great shows in the Forum, but I’ve never seen an audience react like that. They got to their feet, they never sat down and they screamed and shouted the whole way through the performance. Def Leppard killed that night. I went backstage to see them afterwards, they invited me, and just like when we first played in the States, all their moms and dads are there — very proud moms and dads, and I get introduced to them. And the boys say, “Will you come out and play with us tomorrow night?” So I said yes, and the rest is history. We played “Travelin’ Band.” It’s history because I nearly lost my career and my life because this is Pyromania and the production has all kinds of fire. Joe warned me, he said, “Watch out for the fireworks at the end, just be careful.” But I’m at the end, we finish “Travelin’ Band,” we’re up behind the drums and there’s a kind of chasm in front of us where the fire’s about to come out — I have no idea. I’m gone, I’m like giving it all this, and Joe’s going, “Brian, Brian!” And I’m thinking he’s just kind of appreciating me, you know? He’s going, “Brian, Brian, the fire!” Anyway this huge sheath of flame comes up in front of me, and just in time, Joe’s dragged me out of it — otherwise I wouldn’t be here tonight. So early on in their career, Joe Elliott saved my life!”
“I regard all these guys as great friends and kind of part of my family, that’s why it’s so important for me to be here. I wouldn’t have let anybody else do this (induct them).”
He also hailed them as “a magnificent rock group, in the classic tradition of what a rock group really is” and “a bunch of magnificent human beings.”
The Sheffield rockers played the David Bowie-penned song alongside stars including Queen’s Brian May, Steven Van Zandt, The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, and Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter.
Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, The Cure, Roxy Music, The Zombies and Janet Jackson were also all inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday.