Joe Elliot Doesn’t Want You To Call Def Leppard A Heavy Metal Band

Joe Elliot Doesn’t Want You To Call Def Leppard A Heavy Metal Band | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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Def Leppard has left its mark on the history of rock music with a catalog that has captivated millions of listeners worldwide and an illustrious career spanning decades. Few bands can match the band’s peak of popularity, having sold over 100 million records. Their 2019 entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is evidence of their ongoing influence. Known for being among the top-selling musicians globally, their ascent through the rock genre has been characterized by progression and resistance to simple classification.

VH1’s acknowledgment of the band’s versatility is evident in their rankings on both the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock and the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time lists. Yet, despite the widespread acclaim and the various genres their music spans, Joe Elliott, Def Leppard’s charismatic frontman and one of its founding members, has expressed a particular aversion to the band being pigeonholed as heavy metal.

Joe Elliott’s Stance on Genre Misclassification

In a revealing conversation on The Rockonteurs podcast, Elliott aired his grievances about the heavy metal label, encapsulating the essence of his contention with a straightforward critique: “I have an issue with the term heavy metal, because everybody outside of rock always thinks if you’re in a heavy metal band, it’s like bad news.” Elliott’s words strike at the heart of a broader discussion about the perceptions and misconceptions surrounding rock music and its myriad subgenres. The binary classification into “heavy metal” can, in Elliott’s view, conjure unfounded stereotypes, summarizing the unfortunate outcome of such a miscategorization with, “You get this impression that everybody’s a moron.” His standpoint highlights not only his protective stance over Def Leppard’s legacy but also calls for a more nuanced understanding of the band’s musical roots and influences.

In drawing comparisons to peers and legends within the rock domain, Elliott further clarifies his stance by pointing out similar misclassifications of other bands. “UFO, Thin Lizzy were not heavy metal. Were Motorhead? They had a blues influence to them… Queen were never a heavy metal band, but they had a couple of heavy metal songs, thanks to Brian May, and I think we were pretty much the same.” This perspective invites a reassessment of Def Leppard’s place in rock history, emphasizing the diversity in their sound that transcends the confines of a single genre.


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Defining Def Leppard’s Musical Heritage

Perceiving Def Leppard as merely a heavy metal band overlooks the rich tapestry of their musical influences and the eclectic nature of their discography. Elliott humorously but pointedly disrupts this oversimplification with the assertion, “If we’re heavy metal, then so are The Rolling Stones, because it’s two guitars, bass, drums, and a singer.” Here, Elliott makes a case for the similarities in foundational rock instrumentation across various bands, questioning the rationale behind genre biases and affirming Def Leppard’s rightful place within the broader rock spectrum as “heavy rock.”

Despite the debates over genre classifications, Def Leppard continues to thrive, as evidenced by their latest album, “Diamond Star Halos,” released in 2022. Garnering high praise and described by Ultimate Classic Rock as the “most obvious callback to glam’s glory days,” the album serves as a further testament to Def Leppard’s versatility and enduring appeal.