On the 3rd of August 1987, Def Leppard released their fourth studio album “Hysteria” which became their bestselling album to date, selling over 20 million copies worldwide, including 12 million in the US. The album charted at number one on both – the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart.
Hysteria was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The album is the follow-up to the band’s 1983 breakthrough, Pyromania. As with Pyromania, every song was recorded by every member in the studio separately, instead of the whole band. Lange’s methods improved the various vocal harmonies, even tuning background vocals on all tracks.
In 2005, the album was ranked number 464 in Rock Hard magazine’s book The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time. “Hysteria” got the same placement on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 best albums of all time.
The final recording sessions took place in January 1987 for the song “Armageddon It” and a last-minute composition “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, though Lange spent another three months mixing the tracks. The album was finally released worldwide on the 3rd of August 1987. While the ballad Love Bites was marked as Def Leppard’s only number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100, the song Animal was the lead single in most countries.
Love Bites – When Robert John “Mutt” Lange originally brought the song to the band’s attention, it was a country ballad, which the band thought sounded like nothing they had done before. The band then added power rock elements and emotive backing vocals. Love Bites became a top-10 hit in Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. On the UK Singles Chart, the track peaked at number 11.
Following the release of the album, Def Leppard released a book titled, Animal Instinct: The Def Leppard Story, written by senior editor of Rolling Stone magazine David Fricke, that details the three-year recording process of Hysteria and the difficult circumstances the band faced in the middle of the 1980s. Lasting 62 minutes and 32 seconds, the album is the band’s longest to date.
Def Leppard, album Hysteria:
Joe Elliott – lead vocals
Rick Allen – drums
Rick Savage – bass, backing vocals
Phil Collen – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Steve Clark – lead guitar
Robert John “Mutt” Lange – backing vocals
Def Leppard, Studio albums:
On Through the Night (1980); High ‘n’ Dry (1981); Pyromania (1983); Hysteria (1987); Adrenalize (1992); Slang (1996); Euphoria (1999); X (2002); Yeah! (2006); Songs from the Sparkle Lounge (2008); Def Leppard (2015); Kick (2022)
Def Leppard photo, by Ross Halfin / Getty Images