DEF LEPPARD tour manager and longtime friend Malvin Mortimer has penned the following tribute to singer Joe Elliott‘s father, who passed away this past week:
“Joe Elliott‘s father (Joe Senior to all that knew him well) suffered a significant heart attack in April this year. Whilst in ICU, he suffered two more attacks. He was very low for a week or so.
“I was not surprised to hear from Joe a few days later that his dad was making a remarkable recovery. Not surprised because I knew him to be made of old-style bricks and mortar, upright, forthright and as tough as nails. He was a gadget maker; he showed Joe how he devised home made radios, model aeroplanes and air rifles amongst other projects, in his spare time.
“At the hospital Joe discussed the upcoming tour with his recovering father. Joe Senior insisted that his son go ahead and do the thing that had always made him proud. Joe packed his case and departed to start the 2011 tour.
“When Joe recently heard that his dad’s condition had deteriorated severely, he had to think seriously about his next move. We had already arrived at the next show when the news arrived. Joe decided to go home to support his father and mother but he insisted on doing the show that night in honor of his father: a tribute to the person who, had he not supported and financed his son and his friends, then DEF LEPPARD, as we know them, might never have been — and we might never have had the pleasure of listening to the music that spans more than 30 years from a group that has survived amidst great challenges and against all odds.
“That night Joe appeared to be tearful coming off the stage for a change of shirt, at the end of ‘Love Bites’, I checked to see that he was OK… He explained that it was his dad’s favorite tune. The next day, I took Joe to the airport and he flew to his father’s bedside.
“A few days ago, his condition worsening, Joe Senior finally succumbed to his increasing illness and passed away quietly in hospital. Joe and his mother were together at the hospital.
“At the age of 18 Joe had an opportunity to join a band. The band met regularly in Joe‘s bedroom in the family home in Sheffield, U.K. — with the full support of his parents.
“That band came to be known as DEF LEPPARD.
“In 1978 Joe asked his dad for some help to finance the recording and release of the first few songs written by the young and up and coming musicians. Joe Senior put up 150 U.K. pounds (at that time, about $500). They recorded at Fairview studios in Hull, East Yorkshire, it cost £148.50 and with the loose change they shared fish and chips on the way home. (Joe‘s mother Cindy played guitar and taught Joe his first few chords. Joe Sr. actually recorded, on a primitive cassette device, Joe‘s first ever song. Joe was eight years old. The song was entitled ‘Goin’ Forever’).
“Joe Senior will be missed by Cindy, Joe and all of us that knew him.”