Def Leppard's longtime tour manager Melvin Mortimer has penned a heartfelt tribute to singer Joe Elliott's father, who died on Friday (08Jul11), revealing he was largely responsible for the band's existence.
The band was forced to scrap a series of U.S. concerts last week (ends08Jul11) after Elliott flew home to be with his family as his dad, also called Joe, fought for life following a series of heart attacks.
Mortimer recalls the singer coming offstage in tears at the end of Def Leppard's final show before he made the decision to fly home - and the road manager insists all Def Leppard fans should be grateful to Joe Sr.
In an essay posted on, he writes, "Had he not supported and financed his son and his friends... Def Leppard 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.
"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.
"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 Sr 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 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 (wife) Cindy, Joe and all of us that knew him."
The rock star and his mother were at Joe Sr.'s bedside when he died on Friday.