The 34th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York honored The Zombies, Roxy Music, Radiohead, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, The Cure and, on their first nomination, Def Leppard, who were the last honorees of the evening.
The British rockers were inducted by old friend (and fellow Hall of Famer) guitarist Brian May of Queen, who spoke about it before taking the stage.
Brian May talked about inducting Def Leppard into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "I'm very proud. I would have been really upset if anyone else had done it rather than me because they are like family to me. So, I'm hugely honored. Um, I'm a little nervous 'cause you got to do them justice. You know, I want to speak the right words. But I'm very excited."
Elliott, like Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music earlier in the evening, spoke on behalf of his bandmates. In the process, he brought drummer Rick Allen to tears when he talked about the accident in which he lost his left arm.
Highlights of Joe Elliott's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech: "It was 1983 that saw us move into a whole new orbit with the phenomenal success of the album Pyromania, where we were properly introduced to our new boss for the first time — our wonderfully loyal fan base, without whom we would not be up here tonight. For that, I have no doubt whatsoever, so thank you, thank you, thank you. You have stayed on board with us for the best part of the following 36 years and supported us through some tough times along the way. But those tough times have helped us make this band what it is today — it’s solid, we’re appreciative of who we are and what we stand for. And although it did seem that every time that we made some musical headway, life would just knock us back down somewhat. Pyromania is a raging success and then Rick has a life-changing accident and came out the other side stronger. Hysteria gave us the global success that we’d always craved, but then we lost [guitarist] Steve [Clark]. But we survived and we came out the other side stronger people. And that’s the way that it’s always played out throughout our career. So let’s face facts here: if alcoholism, car crashes and cancer couldn’t kill us, the '90s had no chance. We’re not blood, but we’re the closest thing to brothers that this only child has ever known. I couldn’t and I wouldn’t want to do it without these guys. Thank you.”