Def Leppard remains one of the defining forces from the New British Wave of Heavy Metal movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The group has been responsible for a number of smash hits and classic studio albums such as ‘High ‘n’ Dry,’ ‘Pyromania’ and ‘Hysteria,’ however lead vocalist Joe Elliott says that Def Leppard has never associated themselves with the metal community – instead, Elliott says the band has more in common with pop music.
The comparison between Def Leppard and pop music was mentioned during Elliott’s recent conversation with Spin magazine. “I notice when it’s pointed out to me, because I honestly don’t listen to much pop radio. But when I am made aware of it, or just happen to be listening to whatever radio station my friend is tuned to in their car, it’s, like, ‘Whoa, that sounds a bit like we could’ve done it,'” said Elliott.
“I started becoming aware of our influence in pop music about 15 years ago when Pink did a radio show with us, and she was standing on the side of the stage singing every word. I was like, well okay, she’s a fan. (laughs) We have people like Jewel or John Mayer or the guys in Maroon 5, all of whom are huge fans. It wasn’t just Ratt and Poison we were a part of…. [now] all of a sudden you’ve got Lady Gaga coming out and saying, ‘I fucking love Def Leppard,’ and we had Taylor Swift wanting to work with us six or seven years ago when she was first kicking off.”
He continued: “You are aware of it, and it’s flattering, but I think it’s down to the fact that we’ve always been more pop than metal, much to the annoyance of the metal press and metal fans. We were never Dio or Anthrax or Judas Priest… We’ve always been about [blending] that kind of quirkiness that Queen had with the power of AC/DC. It’s something we’ve always felt was kind of our blueprint. So I absolutely hear it in pop because that’s essentially who we were.
“Def Leppard became popular not through being a rock band like Zeppelin or Sabbath. We became popular because our singles were on’American Bandstand’ between Kool & The Gang and Michael Jackson. We were the white rock band from the U.K. that people were like, ‘What? How did they infiltrate the Top Ten?’ And it was because we had these infectious melodies. We weren’t afraid of singing about relationships or love, which is something that metal would never do. We were never [singing about] dungeons and dragons. We never will be.”
Def Leppard released their self-titled studio album on October 30, featuring the lead single “Let’s Go” which has since served as the band’s opening song in the shows following it’s release.