During his appearance on Rolling Stone Music Now, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott – whose band will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March – took a listen to Drake’s “God’s Plan,” the biggest song of 2018. Elliott has broad musical tastes, but wasn’t crazy about what he heard:
Where’s the hook? Where’s the hook, dude? You know what it reminds me of, it reminds me of an updated version of Richie Havens or something like that. But Richie would sit on a stool, play the guitar, sing and sweat and make more of an effort to perform and put melody and heart and soul into it. Whereas, a lot of the rap stuff, to me, it’s just typewriter … There’s some cool rhymes, but I find the lack of melody somewhat stifling in my mind and it’s nothing that I would certainly try and listen to again.
Wasn’t “Pour Some Sugar On Me” directly influenced by the rap of the time?
Yeah, but listen to the difference between that and the Drake song. The attitude that came out of people like The Beastie Boys and Run-DMC, was way more rock than that will ever be. They had meter and bounce and melody and drive… The first thing we heard was “Rapture” by Blondie. It’s like, oh, this is different.
To hear the entire career-spanning interview, press play or download and subscribe to Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on iTunes or Spotify. Check out two years worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Ice Cube, Neil Young, Julian Casablancas, Johnny Marr, Fleetwood Mac, Donald Fagen, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson and many more. Tune in Fridays at 1 p.m. ET to hear the show broadcast live on Sirius XM’s Volume, channel 106.