Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott says the group have influenced pop music due to their focus on infectious melodies.
They’ve enjoyed global success on the back of a string of hit albums since the 80s. And Elliott says he realised Def Leppard had crossover appeal when pop artists started name-checking the group on a regular basis.
Elliott tells Spin: “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.’ 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 – 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.”
Appealing to rock, pop and metal fans all at once can be tricky, but Elliott knows where Def Leppard’s sonic home base is.
He says: “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 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 Led Zeppelin or Black 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 UK that people were like, ‘What? How did they infiltrate the top 10?’ 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 Dungeons & Dragons. We never will be.”
The group’s 11th album was recently issued via a Classic Rock fanpack. The package features the disc, a 116-page magazine featuring interviews with all five band members, a track-by-track guide, collectable art cards and a metal Def Leppard keyring.
The band co-headline a 10-date UK tour with Whitesnake and Black Star Riders next month with shows starting in Dublin on December 6.