The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has officially announced next year’s inductees: DEF LEPPARD, RADIOHEAD, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, THE CURE, ROXY MUSIC and THE ZOMBIES will all join the class of 2019. This was the first time that DEF LEPPARD appeared on the ballot.
DEF LEPPARD singer Joe Elliott said: “First of all, a massive thanks to all our fans and past inductees who voted for us. Congratulations to all our fellow inductees. We stand alongside some amazing artists, past and present. What an absolute honor.”
Guitarist Phil Collen stated: “We started 2018 off at the Royal Albert Hall and to now cap it all off with a nod into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is brilliant.”
Added bassist Rick Savage: “Being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame puts DEF LEPPARD in a class of peers that we’ve always appreciated and admired. We’re looking forward to the ceremony.”
Commented guitarist Vivian Campbell: “Coming into DEF LEPPARD after stints with other bands, it was immediately apparent to me that LEPPARD had ambition far beyond most. As a fan from the early years, I’d heard that ambitionin the music, blending genres to craft the unique LEPPARD sound. After 26 years as the new guy, I can assure you that the work ethic and the collective focus of this band is just as strong to this day.”
Said drummer Rick Allen: “What an honor for DEF LEPPARD to be included in this year’s induction with so many other talented and deserving artists.”
Elliott told Rolling Stone that he was pleased to learn that original guitarist Pete Willis, who was fired after the band’s second album, was included in the list of members who will be inducted into the Rock Hall next year. “Pete is invited,” he said. “Absolutely. Whether he comes or not is up to him. We might have to drag him there by his hair. But he deserves to be inducted since he was involved in the first three albums. A lot of people aren’t aware that he did play until halfway through ‘Pyromania’. He contributed as much as anybody on the first two albums. Of course he deserves to get in. I haven’t seen Pete in 14 years. I don’t know if he’s aware yet. We’re going to reach out to him over the next day or two now that the dust has settled and we’ll see if he wants to come.
Asked if DEF LEPPARD will perform with Willis that night, Elliott said: “I haven’t thought about that, but I don’t think we’ll be playing anything from that far back. But being there is part of the thing. Pete has kind of moved away from this kind of stuff, so he might just be a little reluctant to come along. The truth is that it’s obviously right that he gets in and he gets his statute, or however it works, but the success of the band was mostly to do with everyone else. I think that anybody would rightly say that the reason we got nominated is more likely to be because of the work we did after Pete left. He helped us lay the groundwork for what was to come, but the success of the band was more with Phil [Collen] and Steve [Clark] and then with Vivian [Campbell]. It’s like a rocket that goes to the moon. The bit that gets ejected two minutes into the flight is still an important part when it sets off. It’s just not that important when it gets into orbit. Pete is kind of that guy, I suppose. He was an integral part of the band when we started off, but we went our different ways. It became clear that we couldn’t go any further with him in 1982. We had four years together, but we’ve been together for 40. There are 36 other years in this band that he had nothing to do with. Playing with him might be a bit weird, but I don’t see why he couldn’t come if he wants to. He’s totally welcome.”
In addition to Willis, the current lineup of DEF LEPPARD is listed for Rock Hallinduction along with the late Steve Clark.
Willis was an integral member of DEF LEPPARD who co-wrote many songs on “On Through The Night” (1980), “High ‘N’ Dry” (1981) and several on the band’s 1983 breakthrough album, “Pyromania” (“Photograph”, “Too Late For Love”, “Comin’ Under Fire” and “Billy’s Got A Gun”).
The 34th annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will be held March 29 at Brooklyn, New York’s Barclays Center. HBO will broadcast a truncated version of the ceremony later in the year.
Ballots were sent to a voting group of more than 1,000 artists, historians and music-industry professionals.
The public was invited to participate again this year in the fan vote. The top five artists made up a fan’s ballot, which counted as a single vote.
Rock Hall rules state that artists become eligible 25 years after their first records were released, but the Hall also claims that other “criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock ‘n’ roll,” which is, of course, open to interpretation.
One of the top-selling rock acts of of all time, DEF LEPPARD has been eligible for the Rock Hall since 2004.