Joe Elliott

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This article is about the lead singer of Def Leppard. For other people named Joe Elliott, see Joe Elliott (disambiguation).
Joe Elliott
Elliott live in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 13 August 2008. Photo by Matt Becker
Background information
Birth name Joseph Thomas Elliott
Also known as Joe, Zeff
Born (1959-08-01) 1 August 1959 (age 56)[1]
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1975–present
Labels Island, Mercury, Polygram
Associated acts Atomic Mass, Def Leppard, Cybernauts, Down 'n' Outz, Kings of Chaos

Joseph Thomas "Joe" Elliott (born 1 August 1959) is an English singer-songwriter and musician, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Def Leppard. He has also been the lead singer of the David Bowie tribute band, the Cybernauts and the Mott the Hoople cover band, Down 'n' Outz.[2] 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[edit]

Joseph Thomas 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.[3] 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.

Elliott currently hosts a radio show on on Saturday nights.[4]

Side projects[edit]

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.

Personal life[edit]

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.[citation needed] His first marriage was to Karla Ramdhani in 1989;[citation needed] they separated in 1994 and divorced in 1996.[citation needed] He dated Bobbie Tolsma from 1999 to 2003.[citation needed] Joe married Kristine on 1 September 2004,[citation needed] and their first child, Finlay, was born in December 2009.[citation needed] Joe Elliott's father, Joe Elliott Sr, died in July 2011 after being ill for a number of weeks.[5]


During a performance on 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.[6]

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, "[E]very 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."[7]

In 2010, Elliott criticised the British music press, which he accused of ignoring his band and narrowing popular taste:


With Def Leppard
With Down 'n' Outz
With Kings of Chaos


  1. ^ Jeffrey, Laura S. (2010). Def Leppard: Arena Rock Band. Enslow Publishers. p. 16. ISBN 9780766032347. 
  2. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon. "Def Leppard Frontman Launches Mott the Hoople Cover Band – Noisecreep". Noisecreep. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Fricke, David. 1987. Animal Instinct: The Def Leppard Story. Zomba Books, London. ISBN 0-946391-55-6.
  4. ^ Joe Elliott Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  5. ^ "News We Share With You". 8 July 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Detroit Red Wings Defenseman: JOE ELLIOTT Placed STANLEY CUP Upside Down 'On Purpose". BlabberMouth. 
  8. ^ "Joe Elliot: Def Leppard don't get enough respect". Metro. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 

External links[edit]