ROCK HALL 2019: Def Leppard

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.

"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."

May focused his speech on his relationship with the band, which began in mid-'80s. Telling a number of personal anecdotes, he laughingly thanked singer Joe Elliott for saving his life the first time he played onstage with them when he wandered a little too close to the pyro. 

A portion of Brian May inducting Def Leppard into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

"They recorded 11 incredible albums and they played their asses off around the world many, many times. They did it the old-fashioned way -- they played and played and played, and they made great music in the studio. They sold, eventually, more than 100-million albums. They wrote real songs that people can sing and carry in their heads is the reason that Def Leppard will be remembered in hearts and minds long after all of us have left the building.”

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 albumPyromania, 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.Pyromaniais a raging success and then Rick has a life-changing accident and came out the other side stronger.Hysteriagave 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.”

Then, with Brian May on guitar,Steve Van Zandt,Susanna Hoffs,Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent on vocals, Joe brought out his buddy Ian Hunter who, earlier in the week told us he was asked to perform but didn't think he would be able to. With it being 45 years to the day that his former group Mott the Hoople released their last studio album, Hunter led everyone through "All the Young Dudes." (Hunter and Mott start their first U.S. tour in 45 years this Monday night in Milwaukee.)

Highlights of this year's ceremony will air on HBO, HBO Go, HBO Now and On Demand on April 27th at 8 pm [ET/PT].

Next year's ceremony will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, home of the Hall of Fame and Museum.

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