Great Metal Albums of 1987: Def Leppard- Hysteria

The challenge for me writing about Def Leppard’s 1987 “Hysteria” album is what I can I say or write about it which hasn’t been said before? I mean this album spawned seven singles, went platinum in many countries and gold in a few more as well as going to number one in the charts. Furthermore, the album was finally recorded four years after their previous sensational album, “Pyromania,” in which the band had to overcome the tragic accident which cost drummer Rick Allen his arm and Steve Clark’s battle with alcohol. There was also the problem with producers. Mutt Lange started producing but walked out and Jim Steinman didn’t last. The band tried to produce it themselves but Mutt came back and helped the band make history. So, in many ways, this album was a remarkable triumph for the band.

As soon as I heard the opening riffs to “Women,” I knew this album was going to be a good one. True, many heavy metal purists said that it was a slide away from metal to more power pop but the songs are so good, I don’t care. There is a lot of good metal bits on the album for me to enjoy. The entire first side of the album, (I first got it on cassette), was nothing but the hits. Most of you know them already so I don’t feel the need to go through each one individually. Besides, some of you have written a lot about the album that I fear that I would simply be repeating.

On the subject of metal vs power pop, the one track and it’s my favourite on the album and second favourite Def Leppard song of all time, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is definitely a heavy metal song. Those power chords just blow me away and yes the way they sing the title in the chorus may sound cheesy to some but this song just knocks it out of the park. A grand slam because the previous tracks load the bases. (For my non North American readers, I’m using baseball terms). In addition, it sets up very nicely for the next track, “Armageddon It.” Love those opening riffs.

With all of the singles, you might be asking which track do I put for hidden gem. Okay, you’re probably not asking that but I’m going to answer anyway. The hidden gem is “Gods of War.” True, nowadays some might think the exploding bombs and machine gun noises in the background are a bit silly but at the time I thought they were cool. I thought the same when they used excerpts from Ronald Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s speeches about the 1986 US bombing of Libya and the Falklands War. On top of that, I really love Rick Savage’s bass line and the guitars on it, great song.

With the exception of the title track, the rest of the second side weren’t singles, even the hidden gem. However, it would be wrong to call any of these tracks filler. They are certainly not in my book. “Run Riot” comes pretty close to being another hidden gem.

Track Listing:

  1. Women
  2. Rocket
  3. Animal
  4. Love Bites
  5. Pour Some Sugar on Me
  6. Armageddon It
  7. Gods of War
  8. Don’t Shoot Shotgun
  9. Run Riot
  10. Hysteria
  11. Excitable
  12. Love and Affection

Joe Elliot- lead and backing vocals

Steve Clark- guitar, backing vocals

Phil Collen- guitar, backing vocals

Rick Savage- bass, backing vocals

Rick Allen- drums, backing vocals

While I don’t agree with those who say that Def Leppard sold out with “Hysteria,” they’re laughing all the way to the bank, I wouldn’t debate those who say that it was the start of the slippery slope away from metal and more into commercial rock. But in 1987, I didn’t give two and a half shits about that, I just really liked the album.

Next post: Envy- Ain’t It a Sin

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43 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Def Leppard- Hysteria”

  1. 12 tracks… you’re missing one. Excitable I believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, this is one of my FAVORITES! Several good songs! The songs “Run Riot,” and “Exciteable,” didn’t get a whole lot of airplay but were awesome songs! Every song on this CD is great! 😃💥💖

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Whipped Owl and commented:
    Here is 80’s Metalman bringing me back to the glory days again. Gods of War is a great tune and I consider Excitable to be a hidden gem, as well. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What aN album… not sure words can ever do it justice…even your esteemed Musings… just gotta listen 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What an awesome album. Still not my favorite of theirs but no denying that commercially, this is the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry…I don’t like “Hysteria”. I liked Def Leppard a lot when “Pyromania” came out…so, I was excited when they finally released a follow-up album – until I heard it. I found it a let down.

    The only thing I can say positive about “Hysteria” is that it’s much better than every album that Def Leppard released from then on!

    (And I strongly disagree with you about the terrible song “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t apologize, I welcome all opinions on here even if they do hate songs I really like. However, I agree with you that “Hysteria” was much better than what they released after. I was totally unimpressed with “Slang.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This album is always on my Desert Island Top Five Albums list. It’s one of my favorites of all time. “Gods of War” is, indeed, a hidden gem, and I’ve always loved “Love Bites.” Hits close to home, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. One of my favorites! ❤️🦋🌀🎼

    Liked by 1 person

  9. One of my favorite albums ever!! The whole thing is pure gold

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I do like this album, but not as much as ‘Pyromania’ and ‘High ‘n’ Dry.’ ‘Hysteria’ is not a perfect album for three tracks: “Rocket,” “Run Riot,” and “Don’t Shoot Shotgun.” I used to like “Rocket” and I’ll sing it sometimes when I’m watching a Def Leppard YouTube concert, but I got sick of hearing it over and over again. Since all they play nowadays are mostly ‘Hysteria’ songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the problem with hits, they get played to the point where people just get sick of hearing them. I would agree that “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” is probably the least strongest track on the album.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know, that’s the curse of writing a hit! The artist is forced to play it for the rest of their lives, mostly because of the radio I’m guessing. Correct me, if I’m wrong. Yeah, I mean what the heck were they thinking with that song?!?! Just no.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, you’re not wrong. Hits are a blessing and a curse at the same time. I didn’t think “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” was that bad, it’s just the other songs are all noticeably better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that’s right! Hits are a blessing because they get casual people into the artist’s music and a curse because that’s all they want to hear at gigs, nothing else. Fair enough, we all like different songs.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Back in the day, I grew to dislike this album. I had Pyromania on cassette, but everyone played this one to death and it sort of squashed my excitement over it. I still have a CD of it here, of course. Maybe I oughta give it a try in 2022 and see what I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Perfect Twitter post right here.

    “True, many heavy metal purists said that it was a slide away from metal to more power pop but the songs are so good, I don’t care”

    Amen to that. And “Gods Of War” is one of my favorite cuts as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. […] Great Metal Albums of 1987: Def Leppard- Hysteria […]

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