Def Leppard’s fourth album ‘Hysteria‘ is 30 years old this year. That’s older than myself. A few years ago I bought one of their greatest hits albums (can’t remember the name) because ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ was on it. That then lead on to me playing it for a friend who also loved it, and THAT lead on to us singing at every karaoke night or wedding we’ve been to since.
Prior to the recording of the album, and during, Def Leppard encountered some major setbacks, such as drummer Rick Allen losing his left arm after a car accident. He amazingly carried on with a drum set built to suit him, and appeared on this record. They also released a book which was written about their experiences which covered the 3 years it took to record the album. The album fared well in England because of their popularity but in America it didn’t take off until almost a year after being released, because of the success of ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’.
Now, you may know some of the hits such as ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, ‘Animal’ and ‘Rocket’, which is great because they are now 80’s rock standards, so you’re on your way. To be honest with you about the record, which was well received and is still highly regarded as a classic, it’s the first 6 tracks that do it for me. They seem to have some actual sound or purpose, whereas the last 6 tracks are kinda muddled and ”meh“. ‘Hysteria’ is in that final 6 mix, but it can’t hold it up. I tend to skip through some of the tracks which is fucking terrible, considering the effort they put in to record them. You still gotta respect that.
The first 6 tracks are classics because of the hard rock mixed with a bit of glam and love. ‘Women’ is a belter and fairly hard rock in sound and ‘Rocket’ which comes in next is pretty similar. The structure of this one is a bit mixed as they change from hard rock to chorus and back quickly. It works though I guess. ‘Animal’ was a leading track and is one of their best know tracks, with good reason. Even the way Joe Elliot sounds on this one is all rock, its well laid out and easy to listen to. So they absolutely prepared this one for the radio. ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Armageddon It’ sandwich ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’. ‘Armageddon It’ is a solid rock track and follows the same formula they had set themselves, not exactly pushing the boat out so far you would get your shorts wet, up above the ankle no less. ‘Love Bites’ is gas in fairness, Def Leppard, going from songs filled with sexual innuendos to a full on love song, playing the caring card but also doing what every 80’s rock band did. They all needed a track like this to break up an album but also a show. ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ is the stand out for me and I still love to hear it today. Whenever or where ever that may be I also sing along, its got an infectious sound a rhythm to it. “LOVE IS LIKE A BOMB A BOMB A BOMB” yeeeaaaaah. So catchy, shredding guitar in that 80’s way, building all the while, pure class.
I like this record because of the 80’s rock sound and feel, with all the frizzy hair and denim and hairy chests, rock love songs that are shite really and risky album covers. ‘Hysteria’ is one of the records you have to tick off you list when you go back, and its a trip worth taking.