Tickets There Likes: Def Leppard – Hysteria
OK, ok I have to stop putting this one of and get it out of the way finally. You all knew this was coming and I can’t count how many drafts I’ve written in an attempt to get it done. Def Leppard’s mightiest of mighty accomplishments, the golden goose, the Holy Grail of their collection and one of the highest selling records of all time, Hysteria! It was the second album I ever owned and heard in full and was introduced to me just a few weeks after Adrenalize and made me a solid Leppard fan for life. Like my live review of Springsteen, I find it very difficult to write something about this record that thousands of others haven’t said before.
Let’s start by stating it’s very rare to find an album with so few album tracks like this. Almost every single song is a single or classic with almost no exceptions. On Hysteria, the bands efforts to write perfect pop rock and heavy ballads finally paid off without a hitch. Despite Rick Allen losing his arm, Steve’s continued problems with alcohol and the bands problems in their home country, producers and initial demo’s, Hysteria proved to be a feat very few critics, fans and interested parties thought they could pull off, especially considering the new levels of quality Pyromania set for them. Even 22 years on from its release the quality of the songs and production is infallible. This is the album that artists like Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Skid Row, Europe, Aerosmith and all the other 80’s Hard rock heavyweights wished they could come up with. Although Hard Rock took a different turn when Guns N Roses released Appetite for Destruction, Leppards Hysteria was the peak of the previous sounds perfection.
No song was written or produced on this with anything less than a grand, world changing effort. While some of the song’s lyrics may sound slightly cheesy in hindsight such as Women and Pour Some Sugar on Me, only a total knob end could flaw their energy and perfection. Pop rock rears its head on several of the albums singles and continue the job Photograph and Foolin’ had started previously. Animal, PSSOM, Armageddon it, Love and Affection and Women set a high bar for any band to reach and deck out the album with its foundations. The easily accessible, fist raising, mass sing along anthems that sealed the deal for Leppard and made them the biggest band on the plant for a couple of years. While more intimate numbers such as Love Bites and Hysteria ensured Leppard secured hordes of young females as lifelong fans.
Not to be overlooked, the guys still got the edge from the likes of Don’t Shoot Shotgun, Gods of War (Leppards one and only foray into the political world), Rocket, the heavier than heavy Run Riot (at least by Leppards standards) and the awesome Excitable. These provided the final master stroke to provide this album with everything it needed to entertain millions of fans around the work for the next two decades. Then again, no matter how serious the songs are, no matter how heavy or light the sound is and no matter what their theme, every song on Hysteria is a catchy rock classic that deserves respect from every rock fan. This is how pop rock is done folks, you won’t find any other album to equal Hysteria’s arsenal.
Nah Sayers will always be nay Sayers and the unfortunate rise of grunge music and its trend setting ideals about fashion, politics, depression, bullying meant bands like Leppard and their back catalogues were severely undermined all throughout the 90’s and early millennium. Fortunately the world is starting its traditional two decade revitalization and The Mighty Lepp are reaping the benefits. A few years ago the band were playing small theatres and state fairs but currently, they’re back in 10,000 + arenas reminding fans why they are a band that should never be forgotten. The years may have been cruel to their legacy but Joe Elliot, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil and Viv are a major force to be reckoned with. They have proven they can take anything and everything the music and personal world can lash on them and still emerge unscathed and ready for the next challenge. From the moment Joe Elliot wrote the band’s name on Sheffield’s town hall’s notice board in the late seventies, the band were destined to become legends and Hysteria is the pinnacle of that legacy.
Here’s a picture of the UK 12″ Vinyl sigles from Hysteria all together.