The Classic Album at Midnight – Def Leppard’s Hysteria

The Classic Album at Midnight – Def Leppard's Hysteria


Tonight (November 1st) on the world famous Classic Album at Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing Def Leppard’s Hysteria.

The album is presented in full with no commercials or interruptions.

Def Leppard was formed in Sheffield in 1977 by singer Joe Elliott, bassist Rick Savage, drummer Rick Allen and guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell.

It was the band’s third album, 1983’s Pyromania, that propelled them to stardom, reaching number two on the US album chart. However, tragedy meant that their fourth album would face a delay.

Def Leppard moved to Dublin to avail of the tax exemption for artists in early 1984, and began work on their next album. Composer Jim Steinman, best known for Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell, was hired to produce the record but left soon after disagreeing with the band on the direction of the album.

On New Year’s Eve of 1984 Rick Allen was involved in a car crash in Sheffield, which resulted in the amputation of his left arm. Far from ending his career, Allen was determined to continue. He developed a method of playing drums with his right and pedals operated by his feet. The band delayed returning to work on the album until Allen had mastered this new method of playing.

As such, the final recording sessions wouldn’t take place until January 1987. By then original producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange had reunited with Def Leppard. Lange’s own car accident, from which he quickly recovered, had caused another delay, as did Joe Elliott catching the mumps.

Lange was determined to craft an album on which every track could be a potential hit single, comparing it to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. As a result, Hysteria was a far more commercial album than Heavy Metal fans expected, with some fans feeling the band had sold out. Melodies were favoured over simple riffs and the album had a more polished sound that Def Leppard’s earlier works.

The title Hysteria was chosen to reflect the reaction in the media to Allen’s accident and subsequent return to the band.

In its original release, Hysteria features 12 tracks. On Side A are Women; Rocket; Animal; Love Bites; Pour Some Sugar on Me; and Armageddon It. On Side B are Gods of War; Don’t Shoot Shotgun; Run Riot; Hysteria; Excitable; and Love and Affection.

Polish costs money, and it was estimated that just to break even on production and marketing costs, Hysteria would need to sell five million copies.

Released on August 3rd, 1987, Hysteria debuted at number one on the UK album chart. In the US it failed to make much impact on release, but a full year later, in July 1988 it topped the billboard album chart thanks to the success of single Pour Some Sugar on Me.

A whopping seven singles were released from the album, with four of them becoming Top 10 hits and Love Bites topping the US chart.

Hysteria is tied with Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA for the most weeks spent in the US Top 40 during the 1980s, spending 96 weeks on the chart. Worldwide it has sold over 20 million copies.

Hysteria is now considered a classic of what quickly became known as “Hair Metal”, with Rolling Stone awarding it the title of the greatest Hair Metal album ever.

As it’s Rick Allen’s birthday, we’re playing Hysteria at midnight tonight on Radio Nova.