Def Leppard’s Hysteria Turns 30

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Hysteria, the fourth studio album by hard rockers Def Leppard, proved to be a turning point for the group, becoming their most successful record ever.

Released 30 years ago today on August 3, 1987, the title came from drummer Rick Allen’s car crash where he lost his left arm and the media frenzy that it caused. It’s also the last album before guitarist Steve Clark passed away and took over three years to make.

A revolving door of producers, plus singer Joe Elliott’s case of the mumps in 1986 pushed the record further back. It wasn’t until January 1987 when recording wrapped. After mixing, the album was released the following August.

In the liner notes, the band apologizes for the long wait. However, because of the death of Steve Clark, their following album Adrenalize would be released after a five-year window.

Def Leppard Hysteria

Managing Director of Phonogram Records at the time of release, David Simone, said the album “might have been the most expensive record made in the UK.” It reportedly would’ve had to sell 5 million copies to break even.

Luckily, they broke that mark… five times over. Hysteria would eventually go on to sell 25 million units worldwide, with 12 million certified sales in the United States alone. The album spawned seven hit singles:

  • “Animal”
  • “Women”
  • “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
  • “Hysteria”
  • “Armageddon It”
  • “Love Bites”
  • “Rocket”
  • Lasting over 62 minutes, it was the longest album to be issued on a single vinyl at the time of release.

    What’s your favourite song from Def Leppard’s Hysteria? Let us know in the comments below!


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