Lita Ford told us she was having “too much fun” on tour with Def Leppard, and it appears that all those good times finally caught up with Lep frontman Joe Elliott‘s vocal cords on Monday (Aug. 20).

We’re talking about the band’s decision to end its show in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. without an encore — a curious move that left some fans wondering whether there were problems brewing behind the scenes. As it turns out, there were — but the problems had everything to do with Elliott’s health.

“After the Boston gig, which was the first show on the whole tour where it was actually cold afterwards, I caught a hacking cough which just ripped the hell out of my voice,” explained Elliott in a post on the Def Leppard website. “Despite all the usual stuff singers do such as lemon tea, steam, etc. it just wasn’t going to heal overnight, but with sufficient rest and plenty of warming up I thought I might manage to do the following show in Saratoga Springs.”

Once he took the stage, however, Elliott quickly realized he wasn’t going to be able to tough it out. “I was ploughing through it as best I could, but by the time we got to ‘Photograph,’ there was barely anything left in the tank and it was starting to hurt, so I decided after struggling through ‘Sugar’ that I had to make a decision,” he recalled. “Do the encore and risk doing so much damage that we might have to cancel a bunch of shows, or blow out one song and sort out a doctor to have a look at me, which we did the following morning.”

With the benefit of a little medical attention — i.e. a couple of cortisone shots from a doctor — Elliott says he’s back on the mend, with Wednesday’s show in Bangor, Maine showing “a big improvement.”

Whether they’re singing rock or opera, singers depend on their voices — and no matter how big their range, those voices are still a fairly fragile instrument. “In most occupations, a cough doesn’t really affect your ability to work — not so for people who use their voice for a living,” Elliott pointed out. “I’ve had a couple of tough gigs, it’s happened before and no doubt it’ll happen again, but for now, I’m OK, the tour will roll on, we will all give our all, as we do every night, and we move on.”

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