On August 3, 1987, exactly 33 years ago, hard rock legends Def Leppard released their fourth studio album titled Hysteria. The album was the result of dreadful hours in the studio, record-producer Mutt Lange’s perfectionism, the never-ending debt of making the album, and drummer Rick Allen’s determination to be the best f*cking one-armed drummer in the whole world! The album combines sonic themes with big guitars, melodic harmonies, machine powered drums, and near-perfect production. With 12 great tracks spanning over 62 minutes, it’s hard to pick a favorite. So for today’s post, I’ll be counting down my top five tracks from the Hysteria album!
While the rest of the world had “Animal” as the first single for the album, the U.S. had “Women” as the first single. “We released ‘Animal’ as the first single worldwide, except in America. Cliff [Burnstein] had the bright idea of putting ‘Women’ out first, which was a complete disaster,” said Joe Elliott on Classic Albums: Def Leppard – Hysteria (2002). The latter didn’t chart as well as “Animal,” but I have no problem with this song. It’s a song about women and men’s infatuation with them; it can’t get more 80s than that! Can we talk about the opening riff too?!?!? Way to go, Phil Collen!!
The music video takes place in a circus, so that was a bonus for me! But seriously, it’s a great chorus, and the harmonies sound meticulously perfect that it’s hard to imagine how the band manages to perform it live. “Animal” is a crowd favorite, and it’s still performed at concerts to this day! That song took the longest to complete, spanning three years, again due to Lange’s perfectionism.
3. “Gods of War”
I hate experimental songs, but “Gods of War” is one of the few exceptions because of the intro, courtesy of Steve Clark. But also, I thought it was a killer title. “Steve always wore his guitar three notches too low. It made him play a funny way. I mean he was a sloppy player, there’s no doubt. He was not a technician; he didn’t ever want to be,” said Elliott from the same documentary. “Gods of War” is badass! People are fighting every day, but at the end of it, what’s the purpose of fighting?
2. “Armageddon It”
It’s storytime! When I got into Queen about two years ago, I discovered the power of oldies rock, and I made a Spotify playlist specifically for that category, didn’t matter the artist as long as the songs spanned from the 70s-90s. Two of the songs, I believe, were Def Leppard songs, and whenever “Armageddon It” played, my dad would say he likes the “C’mon Steve, get it” part. I had no clue what he was talking about at first, but once I did more research on Def Leppard and Clark’s life, I understood what my dad meant. The “c’mon Steve, get it” part is so iconic, and sadly, we’ll never get to experience that again because of Clark’s death. The band changed it to “C’mon boys,” which is a good substitute, but definitely not the same!
1. “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
“Pour Some Sugar On Me” was a blessing in disguise! It came up by accident when Elliott was messing around on an acoustic guitar, Lange heard it, and the rest is history. “So three or four weeks later, we ended up with another song, and we thought, ‘Oh god, we’ve got enough songs already!’ It actually turned out being like one of the better songs on the album,” said Elliott on MTV’s Def Leppard Sunday Special – Leppard Bites (1988). The song itself got me through my junior year of college, no matter what mood I was in, I’d sing this song walking to class and always have a smile on my face. Pure 80s, right there!
There you have it! Those are my top five songs from the Hysteria album. Let me know what your favorite track is and blast that album like there’s no tomorrow!
Take care and see ya real soon!