Artist Details

Joe Elliott

Arguably the most popular hard rock band of the '80s (and definitely one of the most tragedy-prone) was Def Leppard, fronted by singer Joe Elliot. Born in Sheffield, England, on August 1, 1959, Elliot became transfixed by such rockers as David Bowie, T. Rex, Queen, and Thin Lizzy as a teen. As an escape from Birmingham's tough, steel-town streets, Elliot would often fantasize about fronting his own band, one that he made billboards for even though it was purely fictional: Deaf Leopard. By the late '70s, he hooked up with the band Atomic Mass (who contained guitarist Pete Willis and bassist Rick Savage, among other members who came and went), taking the name of Elliot's imaginary band but changing the spelling to resemble one of their favorite bands, Led Zeppelin. Drummer Rick Allen and second guitarist Steve Clark were welcomed aboard shortly thereafter, as the band quickly built up a following with their heavy yet melodic rock, becoming part of the burgeoning New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement (which included Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motörhead, and Judas Priest).

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