[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Def Leppard – HYSTERIA


There are a number of essential classic rock albums from the ‘80s and then there’s Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” – the monstrous record that goes way beyond that! In addition to the brilliant technical and song-writing skills demonstrated on this album, “Hysteria” is significant due to the human stories that surround its production and release. Furthermore, till today it remains their best-selling and most successful album of all time! I don’t think something so extraordinary and out-of-this-world can actually be made nowadays. “Hysteria” is the perfect ‘80s rock album – catchy, fun, sexy and full of passion and timeless hard rock hits.

The creation of “Hysteria” took over three years due to a number of hardships the band had to go through. Rick Allen – their drummer, lost his arm in a car accident. Before this tragic event, Def Leppard were still riding on the train of success thanks to their phenomenal album “Pyromania”, released in 1983 – a record that proved that the band is here to stay and change the world! For a moment, though, their future didn’t seem as bright as they thought…What happened? Well, Def Leppard were the unquestionable kings of hard rock and such events couldn’t stop them from continuing their quest. Rick started using a custom-made electronic drum kit and not only became one of the greatest inspirations for so many people, but he became an even better drummer. Now, we call him the thunder God and he indeed is! Imagine the strength of his will and the degree of his passion. He is such a remarkable human being…

“Hysteria” is the last album to feature the outstanding guitarist Steve Clark, before his death. Some of his songs do appear on the following album – “Adrenalize” (1992), however Hysteria’s promotional tours and concerts were the last times we saw him on the stage with his bandmates, unfortunately. Losing their guitarist once again shook the band’s grounds but they rose from the ashes and kept on making great rock music!

“Hysteria” is produced by none-other than Mr Mutt Lange – the producer I adore and respect with all my heart and soul. His goal was to create an album that’s going to be the “rock version” of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” – an album in which every track is a potential hit single! Well, he did it – “Hysteria” spawned 7 phenomenal hit singles I don’t even know how to describe. From the breathtaking power ballad “Love Bites” to the sexy and timeless guitar riffs of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Hysteria” can just instantly settle down in your heart and never leave it.

Oh by the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, YES – “HYSTERIA” it’s my favorite album of all time…

Let’s talk more about it and listen to some tunes!

1987 def leppard



Def-Leppard-HysteriaReleased: August 3, 1987
Recorded: February 1984 – January 1987; Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum;
Windmill Lane Studio 2, Dublin;
Studio Des Dames, Paris; Mixing: February – May 1987
Genre: Hard Rock, Rock, Glam Rock
Length: 62:32
Label: Mercury (US), Phonogram (Original Release), Mercury (2000 re-release)
Producer(s): Robert John “Mutt” Lange
Singles: “Animal”, “Women”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Hysteria”, “Armageddon It”, “Love Bites”, “Rocket”
Personnel: Joe Elliott – lead vocals; Phil Collen – guitars; Steve Clark – guitars; Rick Savage – bass guitar;  Rick Allen – drums
Certified: 12xPlatinum (RIAA)


“Love Bites”
“Pour Some Sugar on Me”
“Armageddon It”
“Gods of War”
“Don’t Shoot Shotgun”
“Run Riot”
“Love and Affection”


2006 Deluxe Edition: Disc one
“Tear It Down”

“Ride into the Sun”
“I Wanna Be Your Hero”
“Ring of Fire”

2006 Deluxe Edition: Disc two
Elected” (Live in Tilburg, Holland)

“Love and Affection” (Live in Tilburg, Hollad)
“Billy’s Got a Gun” (Live in Tilburg, Holland)
“Rock of Ages” Medley: Not Fade Away/My Generation/Radar Love/Come Together/Whole Lotta Love” (Live in Tilburg, Holland)
“Women” (Live in Denver, CO)
“Animal” (Extended version)
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” (Extended version)
“Armageddon It”” (The Nuclear Mix)
“Excitable”” (Orgasmic Mix)
“Rocket”” (The Lunar Mix)
“Release Me” (credited as Stumpus Maximus & The Good Ol’ Boys)





“We’ve always wanted to be a band for the people,” Phil Collen says. “When we started working on Hysteria we had just sold eight million records with Pyromania so we knew we had a fanbase. We weren’t necessarily trying to top that because you can’t go into something saying, ‘Okay, yeah, this one’s going to sell more than 8million copies.’ That’s a lot of records. We just wanted to make a record with good songs that we really liked and that were maybe a little more polished and more modern sounding. Even when we finished Hysteria we had no idea how it was going to do, but it felt like a triumph for us.”


“Pyromania” established a very high standard for what should be called a very well-produced and fine as hell hard rock album. In 1987, however, “Hysteria” raised the stakes even higher. Once again, Robert “Mutt” Lange was on board and his obsessive desire to create the perfect and most commercially successful hard rock album of all time, resulted in a painful squeezing of every tiny bit of talent and effort from the music engineers and technicians to the band members themselves. Undoubtedly, “Hysteria” was not an easy album to make – it took years, a lot of money and tons of planning.

Throughout the years, many critics have claimed that “Hysteria” is just a very well made pop sell-out product that doesn’t really possess any sort of artistic value or originality. If releasing seven hit singles from one album is not valuable and doesn’t speak for a band’s efforts and hard work then I don’t really know what else we should call “valuable and impressive”.

The brilliant consistency and marriage between pop and hard rock can easily be felt as we go from one song to another. To make the sound of “Hysteria” so unique and essential, Mutt Lange went above and beyond by using a variety of technology, vocal and sound layering and adopting numerous other effects to give the tracks a “stadium rock vibe” and “extra solid sound” that pierce your heart and gives you chills the moment you play them.  

Def Leppard’s sense of craft was successfully portrayed in “Hysteria”. This pop-rock guilty pleasure record is filled with killer riffs, exquisite sonics, brilliant hooks and easy to sing along with lyrics. From the ultimate power ballad “Love Bites”, fueled with Joe Elliott’s gentle but rather extreme vocal delivery techniques to the timeless hard rock anthem “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, the album rocks song after song. Bottom line is, “Hysteria” will forever remain as one of the greatest pop-metal records ever. Not to mention that “Hysteria” completely revolutionized the industry at that time. No other rock record managed to impress with such polished production, album length and number of singles. The album and the band simply did the impossible with this album. They also paved the way and set a new and very high standard for all the rockers out there releasing albums.

My favorite thing about “Hysteria” is that there is just no weak song. Even the tracks that were not released as singles are equally impressive and important. The album is very consistent, easy to listen to, easy to sing along with and so exciting. We can just listen to it forever…

Now let’s listen to some music…


The most instantly recognizable rock tune of all times! Do I even need to introduce this song? Sexy, fun, spectacular and essential for every rock party! It hit number 2 on Billboard Hot 100 chart and is an epitome of ‘80s hard rock. The song sent sales of “Hysteria” so high that we can surely say that this song is one of the main factors behind the success of the album. The MV is also iconic and one of MTV’s most favorite and played one of all time!

Pour Some Sugar On Me

Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on
Livin’ like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin’ like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man?
Razzle ‘n’ a dazzle ‘n’ a flash a little light
Television lover, baby, go all night
Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little miss ah innocent sugar me…


Power ballads were the thing back in the ‘80s. It was essential for every rock musician to have such a song in their album. However, none other is as beautiful and captivating as “Love Bites”. Joe Elliott’s vocal delivery is what makes it so strong and effective. So far, “Love Bites” is Def Leppard’s only number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Following the huge success of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, the explosion called “Love Bites” shot Def Leppard right to the stars!

Love Bites

When you make love, do you look in the mirror?
Who do you think of, does he look like me?
Do you tell lies and say that it’s forever?
Do you think twice, or just touch ‘n’ see?
Ooh babe ooh yeah

When you’re alone, do you let go?
Are you wild ‘n’ willin’ or is it just for show?
Ooh c’mon

I don’t wanna touch you too much baby
‘Cos making love to you might drive me crazy…


This is my favorite songs from “Hysteria” and as a matter of fact I often point it out as my favorite Def Leppard song of all time. The reception of “Women” was not as good as Def Leppard might have expected and many believe it’s the least interesting song from “Hysteria” but I can never agree with such statements. The intro, heavy bass and lyrics hit so hard that I can’t even explain it. Just listen and tell me how come this awesome track flopped?


In the beginning
God made the land
Then He made the water and creatures, then He made man

He was born with a passion, love and hate
A restless spirit with a need for a mate
But there was somethin’ that was missin’, somethin’ lost
So he came with the answer, here’s what it cost

One part love, one part wild
One part lady, one part child
I give you…

Some other memorable tunes from the album…



Love And Affection



“Hysteria” is THE album of the ‘80s! It has everything I ever wanted from an album and there’s a reason why it’s my favorite one of all time! Every song is a piece of art, fueled with so many emotions. You can actually feel their immense passion, devotion and determination as u go from one track to another. This album meant a lot to them and they poured out their souls in it. Most importantly, “Hysteria” is the perfect combination of music technology, outstanding craftsmanship and the strength of human will and ambition. The greatest records are not the ones who sound good but the ones that allow you to hear the people inside of them. I can never have a more favorite album than this one…



Def Leppard lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/defleppard
Def Leppard Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Def_Leppard
“Hysteria” Album Review, retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com
28 Years Ago: Def Leppard Unleash ‘Hysteria’, retrieved from http://loudwire.com/def-leppard-hysteria-album-anniversary/
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

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I'm a girl who wants to keep great rock music alive!

5 thoughts on “[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Def Leppard – HYSTERIA”

  1. Hi Velina,

    Thanks for the review.
    I was thinking about what I could, or should, say about my favourite album from my favourite band. You’ve covered the music, the production and your personal thoughts.

    On comments about the song ‘Women’ being the least interesting; never heard these so Booo! to them…. – It was my favourite. It was released only in North America, due to the popularity of hard rock music at the time. To me it never had hit single written all over it and is one of the harder tracks on the album. Hysteria came out 4.5 yrs after Pyromania was released which is an eternity in the 80s where people actually bought albums. The song reminded the American hardcore fans that Def Leppard were back. The album sold a million copies in the first two months. Job done.

    I feel compelled to add a couple of statistics….
    78 weeks in the US Billboard Top 10. 6 weeks at #1. At the same time Hysteria was battling Appetite for Destruction and Van Halen’s OU812 for #1 spot so Hysteria spent 8 weeks at #2…damn it….What a popular time for these great artists. (source: My book: Billboard Top 10 album charts 1963 to 1998).
    Not only that, it was #1 in Australia for 3 wks in June/July 1989. Australia was behind the times so Def Leppard didn’t tour here. Of all the singles it was the last one, Rocket, reaching #15 that made Hysteria go to #1. But do you think I grabbed the top 50 Australian albums chart from my local record store and took that to school? Yep. It may as well have been stapled to my forehead.

    Why is Hysteria so special?
    I’ve gone down my own memory lane to try and put it into words. Even just for my own benefit.
    Def Leppard, when I first discovered them hit some chord with me. In mid-late 1987 a new group of friends in a suburb we had moved to were all into rock music. I had never heard so much rock music before. There was AC/DC, Van Halen, Deep Purple, …..one guy into thrash metal. I heard a lot. A friend’s older brother had the Pyromania record……he taped that for me along with a mixed tape of early Van Halen and some songs I forget now. I started reading magazines like Circus, Hit Parader, Kerrang….I found out there was a new album called Hysteria. At this point in time I owned two ‘classic’ various artists tapes.. .’Smash Hits 86’ and ‘Summer 87’ … 😉
    So in April 1988 I had some money saved and bought Hysteria on cassette: my first real album. I stared at the unusual, and striking, cover…and the photos inside of the band members. I couldn’t wait to get home and put it into my stereo. I played it…not knowing what was coming…..’Women’ starts……I hear guitar chords, Rick Allen’s drums crashing, Joe Elliott’s wailing, and then it slows down and then the lyrics…….’In the Beginning………God made the land’………it sounded like a story. I sat and listened to it from track 1 to track 12. Then I played it again.
    I knew I had found something special.

    Hysteria represents so much: hearing one of the songs, the album title or seeing the album cover. It will always be the best album of all time.

    Cheers and Thanks


    1. Ian! Thank you so much for writing this amazing comment! And thank you for sharing these amazing memories and moments you had with DL and their music! I felt so good while I was reading your comment – I could just feel how much you love and cherish them!
      About “Women” – I read a lot of reviews and it seems like people don’t really like it as much as I want them to. One review even said that it was the worst song of the album (?)…can you imagine that? To me, this song is the perfect rocker and I am ready to defend it anywhere and anytime. At first I fell in love with the strong intro and then the drums – probably my favorite part of the song. Also “one part love, one part wild, one part lady, one part child” is one of my favorite lines of all time!!
      Once again, thank you for sharing your amazing story about first encountering and falling in love with their music. Hysteria is pure gold and I think the people who claim that “it’s too commercial and they are sell-outs and blabla” are twisting their hearts on purpose (not sure if there’s a phrase like that haha). No person in their right mind can hate Hysteria. Best 80s record, hands down!


  2. I completely agree that Hysteria is one of THE best records ever made! It was what made me fall in love with Def Leppard in the first place. This record means the world to me and I’m glad someone else feels that way too. This was also the hardest record for me to find, because it took me all the way to a different state after looking in almost 10 record shops before I found a Hysteria vinyl (they’re EXTREMELY hard to find!!). This record was amazingly produced and I think it really set the tone for the 80’s. Nicely done post!


    1. Hello, fellow Def Leppard fan! SO glad to meet other Hysteria enthusiasts!!! I completely understand what you mean by “this record means the world to me” – it’s the same with me, I cannot live a day without listening to it…
      Also, vinyls of Hysteria are soo hard to find – u are right! ;// Especially nowadays and in European countries (I’m not from the states) ^^
      cheers! Hope to see u around again

      Liked by 1 person

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