Joe Elliott explained how Robert Plant helped secure Alison Krauss a place on the upcoming Def Leppard album Diamond Star Halos.

The British singers were texting about their favorite sport when the conversation arose. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Elliott said his band had known Krauss – who’s recorded two albums with Plant – since the ‘90s.

“We’ve always been aware of who she is,” Elliott said. “I was actually texting back and forth with Robert Plant about soccer, of all things, when he asked what I was up to. I said, ‘Making a new record, but don’t tell anybody.’ He said, ‘I want to tell Alison. You know you’re her favorite fuckin’ band, right?’ I went, ‘Yeah, OK, fine.’

“Then our manager Mike [Kobayashi] just happened to be talking to her manager about something completely different, and he said the same thing. He said, ‘We heard she’d probably be up for doing something if you want her.’ We went, ‘Yeah, please.’ And so I texted her and said, ‘OK, so are you up for this?’ She said yes. I said, ‘We wrote two songs. I don’t know which one you’ll like best, but they both have a bit of a country tinge to them. Why don’t you pick?’”

He sent both songs to Krauss, who replied with “‘OMG’ and a bunch of exclamation marks,” he recalled. “‘I can’t pick.’ I just texted her straight back and said, ‘Do you want to do them both?’ She goes, ‘Yeah.’ We let her do anything she wanted and we left everything she did on. We heard it and went, ‘This is gorgeous.’”

The country singer’s voice is heard on the tracks “This Guitar” and “Lifeless.” Elliott said bandmate Phil Collen had written the former song nearly 20 years ago, but it had never found a home in any of their recording projects until recently. “I heard a demo of it in 2003,” the frontman reported. “[B]ecause we were throwing songs together at the beginning of this project, he was so giddy and open-minded. I said, ‘Can we finally try “This Guitar?” I’m dying to give it a go. I want to try singing it.’  He said, ‘Yeah, sure. Why not?’ Everyone else was waiting to hear the finished result before they chimed in with an opinion.

“Once I put my vocal on his new backing track, everyone was like, ‘Yeah, this is going to work.’ Vivian [Campbell] put on some awesome slide guitar. There’s some pedal steel on it. It was a finished song. The Alison job came in when it was already done. We have both versions, but the one with her is obviously the boss one.”

Diamond Star Halos arrives in May, just before Def Leppard commence their Stadium Tour with Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett.


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