Def Leppard's Joe Elliott Rejects 'Heavy Metal' Label as 'Silly'

Def Leppard's frontman Joe Elliott rejects the label "heavy metal" for his band, instead calling them "heavy rock" due to their diverse influences. Elliott argues that the term "heavy metal" carries negative stereotypes and misconceptions, and that Def Leppard's success is due to their unique sound.

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Def Leppard's Joe Elliott Rejects 'Heavy Metal' Label as 'Silly'

Def Leppard's Joe Elliott Rejects 'Heavy Metal' Label as 'Silly'

Def Leppard's frontman Joe Elliott has once again dismissed the notion that his band is a heavy metal band. In a recent appearance on the Rockonteurs With Gary Kemp And Guy Pratt podcast, Elliott expressed his frustration with the term, stating, "I have an issue with the term heavy metal because everybody outside of rock always thinks if you're a heavy metal band, it's like bad news. You get this impression that everybody's a moron."

Elliott argued that Def Leppard is, in fact, a "heavy rock" band, citing influences from blues rock and punk. He mentioned that even iconic bands like AC/DC, UFO, Thin Lizzy, and Motörhead had blues influences, and Queen was never a heavy metal band, but rather had a few heavy metal songs.

The singer emphasized that Def Leppard's music is "rock, absolutely heavy rock for sure," and that their early work, such as their 1979 EP, featured a mix of pop and rock songs. Elliott stated, "If we're heavy metal, then so are The Rolling Stones, because it's two guitars, bass, drums, and a singer. It's a silly, silly term."

This is not the first time Elliott has addressed the issue. In previous interviews, he has consistently rejected the heavy metal label, saying that Def Leppard became established as a standalone band, separate from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement.

Elliott has also pushed back against the notion that Def Leppard moved away from its NWOBHM roots, stating, "We didn't move away from anything, cause we were never in it. We were put there by other people, and we would sit there kicking and screaming, 'cause youth being what it is, you're like, 'Don't lump me in with that lot.'"

The singer believes that only two bands, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden, achieved significant success from the NWOBHM movement, and that they are vastly different bands. "We're where we are now, playing stadiums and beyond, and inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, because of who we are, rather than because we were part of a movement."

Def Leppard's debut EP, released in 1979, featured a diverse mix of songs, including the pop-oriented "Ride Into The Sun" alongside the more rock-driven "Getcha Rocks Off." This early release showcased the band's eclectic influences and set the stage for their rise to global stardom in the 1980s with multi-platinum albums like "Pyromania" and "Hysteria."

Joe Elliott's rejection of the heavy metal label for Def Leppard underscores the band's unique position in rock history. While often associated with the NWOBHM movement, Def Leppard's diverse influences and massive commercial success set them apart as a standalone act. Elliott's insistence on classifying the band as "heavy rock" rather than heavy metal reflects his desire to avoid the stereotypes and misconceptions often associated with the latter term.

Key Takeaways

  • Joe Elliott rejects Def Leppard being labeled as a heavy metal band.
  • Elliott considers Def Leppard a "heavy rock" band with blues and punk influences.
  • He cites iconic bands like AC/DC and Queen as not being heavy metal, but having heavy songs.
  • Elliott believes Def Leppard's success is due to their unique sound, not their association with NWOBHM.
  • Def Leppard's debut EP showcased their eclectic influences, setting the stage for their global success.