Def Leppard's Joe Elliott Explains Breaking America with 'Heartbreak' 2018 In Review
Def Leppard's Joe Elliott Explains Breaking America with 'Heartbreak' was a top 18 story of April 2018: Def Leppard famously sang "Hello America" before they ever ventured beyond their native UK but they had big dreams of breaking into the big time in the U.S. but it wasn't until their second album "High 'N' Dry" with the help of a new cable channel called MTV that they were able to do so.
Frontman Joe Elliott recently looked back at the band's big break in America in an interview with Radio.com and revealed that it took time for the group to catch on in the U.S. (their next two albums would be blockbuster releases).
He said, "When we first came to America for High 'n' Dry, there was no traction on the record. The traction came after we finished touring. It was really frustrating for us, because it was the first album we'd made with 'Mutt' Lange. To this day, we still really love it. You could argue that my singing on it, albeit better than on the first record, was a little shouty.
"We toured Europe first, with Richie Blackmore's Rainbow. We finally made it to [tour] the States in the summer, playing clubs opening for Blackfoot. Great guys--Rickey Medlocke is a wonderful man. But they're like southern rock, and we were out there trying to be like UFO or whatever (laughs). To the Blackfoot fans, we looked like the New York Dolls. It was a little weird. Luckily, we got to spend a few weeks playing arenas opening for Ozzy Osbourne."
Elliott then reflected on the original results of the album in the U.S. being less than they and the record company expected. "The album did OK. It sold maybe 250,000 copies. We were expecting it to do much better. We get home to prepare to record what would become Pyromania, and we starting getting telegrams from America saying there was this new cable channel called MTV, and they were playing our 'Bringin' on the Heartbreak' video. Since they only had like 17 videos at the time, and three of them were ours, because we'd shot promos for 'Heartbreak,' 'Let it Go' and the title track. They were playing all three of them in medium rotation, and then 'Heartbreak' ended up going into heavy rotation."
He then remembered how they learned MTV had helped them find an American audience, "We get wind of this happening back in America, and by the time we were wrapping up the recording of Pyromania, we get a telex saying that High 'n' Dry had gone gold," Elliott laughed.
"So while we busted our n*** touring it and getting nowhere, MTV took a three-minute clip of us miming to the song in front of a fake audience and turned it into a gold album," the singer adds.
"The album went gold around December of '82, and the next album, Pyromania, came out in January of '83. The first single was 'Photograph,' and the rest is history. Everything just went ballistic from that moment on.
"High 'n' Dry was a weird one," Elliott concludes. "It was one of those happy accidents. For all of the great planning that you do and the wishes and putting everything into place, it didn't really happen that way. But I'm forever grateful that it did."
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