Joe Elliott celebrated Paul McCartney‘s 80th birthday by playing the opening lines to THE BEATLES song “I’ve Just Seen A Face” during DEF LEPPARD‘s June 18 concert in Miami, Florida as part of “The Stadium Tour”.
Elliott reflected on his attempt at performing the track during the second episode of DEF LEPPARD‘s “Behind The Stadium Tour” YouTube video series. He said: “I took it upon myself to try and play ‘I Just Saw A Face’ [sic] by THE BEATLES and I completely bollocked it up. I couldn’t remember the words. I forgot the chords. I wouldn’t have passed the audition for ‘America’s Got Talent’, put it that way. But I did get the entire audience to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Sir Paul McCartney, which was very special. Hopefully he’ll see it on YouTube or something like that and he’ll know that we were thinking about him, because he’s a big part of our lives.”
Joe previously discussed his appreciation for THE BEATLES in an interview with Classic Rock magazine. He said: “THE BEATLES gave us something we wouldn’t have otherwise had because they spent so long in the studio with [John] Lennon and McCartney no doubt saying, ‘What does that machine do? What happens if we turn it upside down?’. When LEPPARD were in the studio with Mutt Lange, we said, ‘We wouldn’t have been able to do this if THE BEATLES hadn’t done it first’. They showed everybody the way. Our production techniques were influenced by what they were doing on ‘Sgt. Pepper’, the White Album… That influenced us more than us trying to rip off their chord structures.”
When THE BEATLES producer Sir George Martin died in March 2016, Elliott paid tribute to him on his weekly radio show, saying”: “Back in , I had the great pleasure of meeting Sir George Martin at the Nordoff Robbins prize-giving ceremony. I’d won an award for the song ‘Two Steps Behind’ and he presented me with the award and as he handed it to me. He whispered in my ear, ‘That’s a lovely song, young man.’ Talk about making you feel ten feet tall and putting a bit of a spring in your step. When you hear those words from the legendary Sir George Martin. You can only imagine what it’s like for Paul McCartney working with this gentleman for almost his entire career throughout THE BEATLES and bringing him back in for the odd song here and there in his solo career.”
DEF LEPPARD‘s long-delayed North American trek with MÖTLEY CRÜE, POISON and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS was originally planned for 2020 and later moved to 2021 and then to 2022. “The Stadium Tour” will conclude on September 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada.