Brian May, guitarist and co-founder of QUEEN, will induct DEF LEPPARD into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at the 34th annual ceremony, which takes place tonight (March 29) at Brooklyn, New York's Barclays Center. "It was a no-brainer for us," singer Joe Elliott tells the New York Post of asking May to do the honors. "He's always been an incredible supporter of the band since we first met him backstage, I think in Montreux [in Switzerland] in 1981. We were opening for Ritchie Blackmore's RAINBOW."
May previously gave a speech when DEF LEPPARD was inducted into the Hollywood's RockWalk in Hollywood, California in 2000. "We've shared a lot of emotions together," says Elliott, who calls May "the sixth member" of his band. "He was the first person to speak to me outside of the band after Steve [Clark, DEF LEPPARD's former guitarist] passed away. And I believe I was one of the first, when Fred [Mercury] died, to speak to him."
The 2019 Rock Hall class also includes Stevie Nicks, THE ZOMBIES, Janet Jackson, THE CURE, RADIOHEAD and ROXY MUSIC. To be eligible for this year's ballot, each nominee's first single or album had to have been released in 1993 or earlier. HBO will broadcast a truncated version of the ceremony on Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. EST.
For the seventh consecutive year, the public had the opportunity to vote alongside the more than 800 artists, historians and music industry insiders of the Rock Hall voting body — with DEF LEPPARD snagging the coveted "fan vote."
DEF LEPPARD had a hunch that 2019 would be its year to enter the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame when it immediately led, then won, the fan vote — but remained unsure until the official announcement. The Pulse Of Radio caught up with Elliott, who explained how the news came down to the band while on the road in Europe during an early morning hustle to their next gig. "We got the news in Glasgow, so when we all got on the bus, there was a lot of, 'Hey, Hall Of Famer! How ya doin'?' High-fiving and hugging and stuff like that at 10 o'clock in the morning as best you can when you just woke up," he said. "So, it wasn't like a movie, where it was champagne and there was balloons and stuff — it wasn't one of them kind of things. It was mid-tour. We took it in our stride, 'cause we are a working band — and it was just another bit of information coming towards us that day that was one of many things that we were dealing with. But it was, like, 'Yeah! We're in — great!"
One of the top-selling rock acts of of all time, DEF LEPPARD has been eligible for the Rock Hall since 2004.