Joe Elliott Still Remembers When His Family Got a Color TV
Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott said he’s managed to keep control of his fame over the years because of his low-wage upbringing.
When the band hit the big time in the ‘80s, it achieved sales figures that many other groups never managed. In particular, Def Leppard were one of just a handful of artists who've sold more than 10 million copies of more than one album in the U.S.: 1983’s Pyromania (10.2 million with global sales totaling 12 million) and 1987’s Hysteria (12.5 million, global total 25 million).
“At the time it was announced, which is years ago, there were only four or five [groups],” Elliott told the Independent in a recent interview. “It was us, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and maybe one other. And it was who wasn’t there that blew your mind: the Beatles, the Stones. I don’t think the Stones have had one album that’s sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S.”
But while some artists let it all go to their heads, Elliott said there was a good reason he didn’t. “Growing up in Sheffield, Phil [Collen] coming from Walthamstow and Vivian [Campbell] from Belfast, there’s a certain groundedness from your parents,” he explained. “You’ve got to remember that all our parents were kids during the war and they didn’t have very much. And me, as a kid, I still remember that moment walking into the house at home and the telly wasn’t black and white anymore.”
And while many artists left the colder climate of Britain to settle in places like Los Angeles, Elliott found a home in Dublin in 1984. “I left Sheffield when I was 21, and I was living in London,” he recalled. “I hated it. It was so massive and rude, elbows here and elbows there. But when I got to Dublin, it reminded me of Sheffield by the sea. … It felt safe and the right size – a capital city with a million people.”
Def Leppard release their new album, Diamond Star Halos, on Friday, and launch their delayed Stadium Tour with Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett in June.