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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.
Joe Elliott On Meeting David Bowie And His Musical Influence

Monday, 11th January 2016

Joe Elliott/David Bowie 1999.
Dublin October 1999

Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott has paid tribute to David Bowie who died last night following a battle against cancer.

Joe wrote a heartfelt message in response to the unexpected news of his death.

David had returned to the music industry after ten years in 2013, releasing a new album called 'The Next Day' on his birthday.

He released a second new album since his return called 'Blackstar' on 8th January this year - his 69th birthday.

Sadly it was announced last night he has died after battling cancer for the last 18 months.

Joe has cited David Bowie as a major influence for many years and that, along with Marc Bolan and T. Rex, he was one of the main reasons for him being in a band and involved in music.

He was also the writer of Joe's favourite song 'All The Young Dudes' which was recorded and released by Mott The Hoople. Joe and Phil performed the song with David, Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson and the three surviving members of Queen on 20th April 1992 in London.

Detailed below are all of the main Joe Elliott/Def Leppard connections to David Bowie, as referenced in Joe's tribute.

Also shown are some links to previous news updates. These include Joe's review of 'The Next Day' album in 2013 and his memories of meeting him.

The photo shown above comes from one of these meetings in Dublin. Mostly likely a 10th October 1999 show at HQ Club in Dublin, Ireland. Two days before Def Leppard's UK tour kicked off. Joe met singer Emm Gryner at this show and they are currently still working on a joint album that is heavily influenced by his Hunky Dory album.

And as mentioned by Phil in December Joe and Phil's Cybernauts band are still planning to release another album with Woody Woodmansey from the Spiders From Mars band on drums.

Meeting David In 1990/1999 In Dublin - Joe Elliott 2013 Interview Quotes

"A few times. The first, god bless Bono, was when he was in Dublin on the Sound & Vision tour and he came to a party in Bono's house. He knew I was such a fan, he must have said to David, 'Give Joe five minutes'. There were about 100 people there, so I had my little meet and greet, like when people meet The Pope or something. He was really sweet! Then I saw him in the Baggot with the first Tin Machine album and the next time was in the Factory. He remembered me from Bono's house so we talked and he introduced me to (wife) Iman and (band member) Gail Ann Dorsey, who's a huge Leppard fan!"

"Then I spent two hours talking to him when he played HQ,” he smiles. “I asked him about re-recording some of his old songs and suggested ‘Silly Boy Blue’. He said, ‘Really?’. I said, ‘David, that’s one of the best songs you’ve ever written’. Lo and behold, when (the unreleased) Toy leaked on the ‘net, Silly Boy Blue was on it! People think he’s going to be stand-offish but he’s quite laddish when you meet him. He’s a great artist. He’s made some crappy records but anyone that’s been around for over 30 years will have made crappy records. You always lose one game at home to the team at the bottom of the league!"

Joe has performed David Bowie's songs many times over the years and here are a few of the main Def Leppard connections.

Def Leppard - Drive-In Saturday 2006 (YEAH! album)

Joe - "David Bowie, along with Marc Bolan and Mott The Hoople are the three main reasons I wanted to be in a band. Talk about the soundtrack to our lives. When people come up to us and say that WE are theirs, I know EXACTLY what they mean!!!. I spent hundreds of hours not doing my homework, but learning to read, absorb and memorize all on any of the aformentioned artists' albums, but most noticeably Ziggy Stardust, Electric Warrior and Mott. Some of you will be aware that in 2001, myself and Phil covered a whole lotta Bowie on our Cybernauts project, so we were somewhat limited with our choice of material. However, and I stress this, we probably would have picked this one anyway because it was the natural choice of all five of us!. I remember seeing DB doing Drive-In Saturday on the Russell Harty show back in 1973 and genuinely thinking he was an alien!. The earrings were a bit of a giveaway though. No way would anyone from Mars wear that sort of thing. He scared our parents in a way that would be difficult to explain nowadays to a Slipknot or Marilyn Manson fan, but with this song he showed a softer side of his many characters, which had a charm all of its own. Probably my favourite on the album."

Joe Elliott 2006.

Joe also recreated a photo from the Ziggy Stardust album cover (as seen in the screenshot above from the photo shoot in Los Angeles).

Joe Elliott - Space Oddity - 2003 (Released in 2006)

2011 - "Originally recorded back in January of 2003 and eventually became part of the YEAH! sessions. That's my version of David Bowie's classic 'Space Oddity'. I'm Joe Elliott. You're listening to The Joe Elliott Show once again on Planet Rock, we're going into a break and when we come back my father's favourite ever Def Leppard song."

NOTE - Couldn't find the quote but Joe had mentioned on his show that he recorded this with Ronan McHugh to test out some new studio equipment. He sent it to his Dad as a birthday present as it was one of his favourite songs. And of course it later ended up on the Walmart bonus CD with the YEAH! album.

Def Leppard - Rebel Rebel

Originally recorded by the band in 1999 for the Euphoria B Sides. It was played on the PA after shows on the 1999/2000 world tour. It was eventually released as a B Side to the 'Now' single in 2002.


The Cybernauts live album 'Cybernauts Live' (recorded August 1997/released 2001) and bonus CD 'The Further Adventures Of' contained no less than 22 David Bowie songs. Highlights included 'All The Young Dudes' and 'Moonage Daydream' - live and studio versions. Some of the finest vocal/guitar work ever recorded and released by Joe or Phil.

Def Leppard - Ziggy Stardust

Performed acoustically and electrically by the band at intimate shows and in radio sessions. One acoustic version was used as a Slang era B Side recorded for the BBC. They also performed a short version of the song in 1993 during the Adrenalize tour the day after they had learned of Mick Ronson's death.


Joe sang a full length version of the song with the Kings of Chaos in 2013. He has also added some of its lyrics to the end of Hysteria at Leppard live shows over the years. Mostly notably during the Euphoria and X/Ten tours.

David Bowie - Rest In Peace - Joe Elliott 10th January 2016

"I heard the news today oh boy …. And I can’t believe what I’ve heard …. David Bowie is dead. He’s been a massive part of my life since I first heard Starman in 1972. So many of us came in at that moment, myself, Bono, Boy George, Morrissey, Gary Kemp, Jim Kerr, Brett Anderson, Pete Murphy, Gary Numan, millions of fans, all very different from each other but all with one thing in common, the belief that a true rock & roll alien had landed on earth & he was ours..."

Read more of this below:

Related News - Joe Elliott Reviews The New David Bowie Album

Related News - Phil Collen Says Cybernauts To Release New Studio Album

Related News - Joe Elliott 6 Songs Into Solo Album With Emm Gryner

Related News - Joe Elliott Show 27th April 2013 Playlist/Quotes (2 Hour Mick Ronson Tribute)

Related News - Joe Elliott Show 12th January 2013 Playlist/Quotes

Related News - News - Joe Elliott Dedicates Radio Show To Late Father

I heard the news today oh boy .... And I can't believe what I've heard .... David Bowie is dead. He's been a massive part of my life since I first heard Starman in 1972. So many of us came in at that moment, myself, Bono, Boy George, Morrissey, Gary Kemp, Jim Kerr, Brett Anderson, Pete Murphy, Gary Numan, millions of fans, all very different from each other but all with one thing in common, the belief that a true rock & roll alien had landed on earth & he was ours. I own every record he ever made, he was plastered all over my bedroom wall as a kid, he was my very first bootleg, his CDs take up 2 whole shelves in my collection. I have personally recorded over 25 of his songs either on my own, with Leppard or with the Cybernauts. I met him 2 or 3 times & always found him charming & engaging. It is said, never meet your heroes, they will let you down. Bullshit. He was open, funny, a good listener !! & when myself & Phil joined David on stage with Queen, Mick Ronson & Ian Hunter at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Gig in 1992 it became one of the most memorable musical moments of my life. I can't believe he's gone. A huge whole has opened up in my heart & it feels like my youth has been further ripped away from me. At least I have a lifetime of his music to comfort me, as we all have, as he left behind one hell of a legacy. The Starman waiting in the sky waits no longer. Rest in Peace David Bowie and thank you for giving us believers something to believe in. Joe Elliott. Jan 11th 2016 Photo by: Masayoshi Sukita

A photo posted by Def Leppard (@defleppardofficial) on