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Joe Elliott: My Life in 15 Songs

It was close to 40 years ago that the five lads in Def Leppard, then just teenagers, came roaring out of the gloomy industrial environs of Sheffield, England. But for singer Joe Elliott, it seems like not quite so long ago. "I feel like it's been half that amount of time," he says. "Because when you don't like what you're doing, time drags. But when you enjoy something, it goes too quick. And we've never stopped enjoying it."

Now 56, Elliott is having a very good time indeed. The singer is speaking with Rolling Stone from an undisclosed, but quite tropical-sounding, vacation spot, where he's "chilling with friends and family. We're having a barbecue in about an hour," he says. "It's just good to be in a nice, warm place instead of wet, overcast Dublin where I live."

The always affable and very chatty Elliott took time out of not one but two of his vacation days to walk Rolling Stone through 15 songs from that catalog. And while every tune may not have come off an album as big as, say, the more than 20-million-selling Hysteria, each has something unique to offer. Says Elliott, "I don't care if you're McCartney or Dylan or Springsteen whenever you go into the studio, from Day One until the day you come out, you don't try any less on any one song or record. Some of 'em just don't connect. And then some of 'em do."

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