Def Leppard's Joe Elliott: My Life in 15 Songs

U.K. hitmakers' singer on "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Photograph" and other glammy gems

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"High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night)" (1981)

I became quite a macho character on High 'n' Dry, compared to the first album. With things like "Let It Go" and this one, I'm this kind of beer-swilling bastard. Which I really wasn't. But that was Mutt trying to push me out front, the same way Bowie tried to push Ian Hunter out front in Mott. Because that band was actually more like the Beatles — [Mott bassist] Mick Ralphs was singing as much as Ian. Bowie saw this and was like, "You've got the shades, you've got the hair — you should be up front!" And that's kind of what Mutt was doing to me. We didn't have the second singer but he said, "None of these wishy-washy things — you need to get out there!" And at the time there were also guys like David Lee Roth and David Coverdale, these frontmen who were central figures that could command attention. He wanted me to at least be given the opportunity to be in that kind of spotlight. It's not something I would have done myself, but I was okay with it. I was all of 21 years old — I was just happy to not be working in a factory anymore.

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