DEF LEPPARD frontman Joe Elliott has released a touching video tribute to his friend and early guitar hero, the late, great legendary musician Mick Ronson. Filmed in the midst of his band's recent sold-out North American stadium tour, the video opens with a film projector projecting cinematic footage of Elliott performing Ronson's ballad "This Is For You" on acoustic guitar in various locations on the road as archival photos and vintage black and white footage shows Ronson performing solo and with longtime musical partner David Bowie. As Elliott sings the lyrics, "This is for you! How are you doing? It's been a while/Where have you been? What have you seen? And did you smile?/Like I'm Supposed to do/Like I remember you," the song takes on new meaning as the love letter to a long-lost lover turns into a musical conversation between two old friends.
"I had an opportunity on a day off on tour to shoot a video... it just seemed rude not to!" says Elliott. "This video is my gift to the memory of Mick Ronson who gave me so much in my youth and then later on when we got to know each other."
The video was unveiled this past Saturday, August 25 on the 46th anniversary of the filming of David Bowie and the SPIDERS FROM MARS' shadowy and subversive video for "John, I'm Only Dancing". Directed by iconic rock photographer Mick Rock, the video featuring Bowie and the band in their best glam attire and androgynous dancers, was banned by "Top Of The Pops" in the U.K. and was never released in America as it was deemed too risqué by the record label.
Elliott recorded "This Is For You" exclusively for the soundtrack for the documentary "Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story", which was released in June via UMe following last year's successful theatrical run and the DVD/Blu-ray releases. The acoustic guitar and piano ballad, penned by Laurie Heath of the NEW SEEKERS, was included on Ronson's 1975 album "Play Don't Worry". Elliott's rendition is especially poignant as it features the late Dick Decent's last-ever performance on the piano. Decent was a frequent DEF LEPPARD collaborator and played with Elliott in CYBERNAUTS, their Bowie cover band, formed as a tribute to Ronson.
The first official career retrospective compilation for the guitar virtuoso, known affectionately as "Ronno," includes highlights from Ronson's solo records alongside material from his key collaborations with Bowie, Elton John, Ian Hunter, Michael Chapman and QUEEN.
Elliott first became a fan of Ronson's as an adolescent entranced by Bowie's breakthrough album "Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars". "I just wanted to give something back, because I was the kid that when I was 12 years old, staring at the inside sleeve of 'Ziggy Stardust', four squares of Bowie and the SPIDERS, I would be staring at Mick as much as I was staring at Bowie — it was the Jagger-Richards thing. It was Page-Plant; it was Perry-Tyler," Elliott told Salon earlier this year about recording the song.
Elliott and Ronson developed a friendship after meeting in the early '80s which lasted until Ronson's death in 1993 from cancer. Elliott helped Ronson record his final record and sang on two tracks. After Ronson passed, Elliott finished the album for him and "Heaven And Hull" was posthumously released in 1994.
Despite his production and guitar work with Lou Reed, Morrissey, Ian Hunter and MOTT THE HOOPLE, Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp and many others, it is Ronson's dynamic support, contribution, and co-creation of the expansive and multi-faceted career of Bowie and in fact that era of music, that the film and the soundtrack exposes. Featuring exclusive narration by Bowie and exclusive contributions by Rick Wakeman, Joe Elliott, Roger Taylor, Ian Hunter, Angie Bowie and many more, the career-spanning documentary "Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story", produced and directed by Jon Brewer, is a tribute to an uncomplicated man who achieved the pinnacle of success in the music industry as well as the rarefied respect from his contemporaries for his production and guitar skills.