Put it on, leave it on – Essential albums: Def Leppard – Hysteria

Although Cottage Country Mix is the best variety of rock tunes for the cottage and is always your best choice (ahem), sometimes you just want to throw on a rock LP or cassette, that’s so good, no skipping or fast forwarding is required. So, in our second, Put in on, leave it on – essential albums, we take a look at another 80s classic album, Def Leppard’s Hysteria (1987).

How are you going to have a Def Leppard mullet but no Def Leppard albums on deck?
Its a good idea to buy ‘futuristic’ looking clothes. That way you can return them easily in the future.

Hysteria was made at a tentative time for the band, Def Leppard. They had just started to gain momentum in the North American market after a tour and the release of Pyromania (1983). However, this was not without some major setbacks, including the injury that saw their drummer, Rick Allen, lose his arm. After a stint of producers, it looked as though their follow up to Pyromania, would not see the light of day. However, record producer, Mutt Lange had different plans. He wanted to put them in the stratosphere with what he envisioned as the rock version of Jackson’s Thriller or the “Star Wars” of rock albums. That is, a super-produced rock album for the “ages”. Sonically speaking, listening to Hysteria it sounds like a culmination of everything Mutt Lange had done up to this point. It had the rock hook of AC/DC (“Black In Back” vs “Pour Some Sugar on Me”) but embraced more use of synthesizer so it sounds a bit like Foreigner’s 4 album (“Urgent” vs “Armageddon It”). So, it definitely has Mutt Lange indelible stamp.

The faces depicted chronicles various stages of a hangover. From the left: hungover (moaning but in denial); hungover (need food); finally, post-Advil (feeling like an alien).

For the band it definitely was an evolution of their sound, this was partially by the way it was made. Although many of the songs were recorded in the tradition of individual live takes, more or less culminating as a band. Many of the songs (e.g. “Hysteria”, “Rocket”, and “Armageddon It”) were created by punching in every take from tape to tape. They also utilized hi-tech sampler workstations of the time (e.g. The Synclavier & the Fairlight), much in the same way we use Pro Tools now, before Pro Tools (you can read about it here on Def’s website). For these songs, Lange’s and engineer, Nigel Green’s acute tinkering is the stuff of OG legends. Supposedly, as going as far as to eq each vocal take of almost each word/syllable. Lange was going for rock/pop perfection. Because of this, the intensive labour and the set backs, Hysteria did not appear until 1987, four years after Pyromania. It was a huge success and has since sold 25 million copies.

That’s a lot of hits, guy! You can ‘stadium voice’ sing to all of them.

An essential album for the cottage?

So, do you need Def Leppard’s Hysteria in your cottage cassette/lp/mptree collection? Absolutely! The whole album is very listenable. Albeit, the first side has most of the hits (ie. “Women”, “Rocket”, “Animal”, “Love Bites”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” “Armageddon It”). Whereas, the second side, more so adds to the aesthetic (“Run Riot”, “Hysteria”) and mystique (“Gods Of War”) of the album as a whole. But all and all a very listenable album. It was a hit record so you can find copies of the cassette everywhere. The only problem is people usually listened the shit out of the first side (so many hits). So finding a cassette that’s not worn is the trick. Otherwise:

“Armageddon It” appears on Dougie Boom’s Cottage Country Mix Vol. 8

“Animal” appears on Dougie Boom’s Cottage Country Mix Vol. 15

“Rocket” appears on Dougie Boom’s Cottage Country Mix Vol. 20.

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