Two weeks ago, it was the 30th anniversary of Appetite for Destruction. This week (tomorrow, to be exact), it's the 30th anniversary of Def Leppard's mega-album, Hysteria. That's right. Arguably the two best albums of the hair band genre and two of the best hard rock albums of the '80s were released a mere two weeks apart.
If there was ever a band that went through hell and deserved huge success, it was Def Leppard between the Pyromania and Hysteria albums. After the Pyromania tour, the band went home for the holidays in 1984, when drummer Rick Allen got into that fateful car accident in the English countryside that resulted in the loss of his left arm. He had to basically build his own drum kit (part regular drums and part electronic drums), so that he could play the parts that he had played with his left hand by using pedals with his left foot -- and then he had to reteach himself how to play the drums that way. That's pretty fucking amazing, if you ask me (not to mention that his bandmates stuck by him the whole time, rather than get another drummer). And then, while making Hysteria, the band went through a few producers before Mutt Lange finally came back on board. And then Lange got into a car accident of his own. And then lead singer Joe Elliott got the mumps.
After Hysteria was finally released in August 1987 -- four and a half years after Pyromania had been released -- it struggled to gain momentum, and it was said that the band needed to sell 5 million copies just to break even. Enter "Pour Some Sugar On Me" -- the third single released off of the album. I remember the first time I heard it. I only caught part of the song, and the DJ didn't say who sung it. But I immediately fell in love with it, and I was determined to buy the tape of whoever sang it as soon as possible. During my next trip to Phar-Mor, I flipped through all of the tapes, looking for a song called "Burning Like a Flame" because that's what I misremembered the "love is like a bomb" lyric as being. As a result, I nearly bought a Dokken tape, since they had a song called "Burning Like a Flame," but I didn't pull the trigger because something told me that wasn't the right band. When I finally figured out it was Def Leppard, I bought Hysteria and have never looked back. I credit the Hysteria album with turning my musical focus from pop and the Beach Boys to hard rock and hair bands.
It's an amazing album, top to bottom, that has sold 25 million copies worldwide and 12 million in the U.S. Hysteria topped the album charts in the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia, among others, and it ended up spending 96 weeks in the Top 40 of the Billboard album charts -- tied with Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. for the most weeks an album spent in the Top 40 during the '80s. It spawned an unheard of (for a hard rock band) seven songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100, including six Top 20, four Top 10, and one #1. They were, in order: "Women" (#80), "Animal" (#19), "Hysteria" (#10), "Pour Some Sugar On Me" (#2), "Love Bites" (#1), "Armageddon It" (#3), and "Rocket" (#12). With Hysteria and Pyromania, Def Leppard has two RIAA-certified diamond albums, making it one of only three hard rock bands that can say that (along with Led Zeppelin and Van Halen).
"Pour Some Sugar On Me" quickly became my favorite song, and that hasn't changed since. It is, to me, the perfect rock song. It's about sex (which was way over my head at the time), it's catchy, it has a snarling riff, it has a sing-along chorus, and it just fucking rocks. And there are two videos for the song (the original was a UK-only release). Because I love you, I'm posting both. With that, step inside, walk this way . . .