Long before the album Hysteria – the hard rock version of Thriller as producer Robert “Mutt” Lange referred to it – Def Leppard was a part of the new wave of British heavy metal hailing out of Sheffield, England. One of their earlier videos, “Bringing on The Heartbreak” featuring original guitarist, Pete Willis), was one of the first videos played on MTV.
The song and video that garnered then the most attention, however, and turned them into a household name was “Photograph” from their third album, Pyromania.
The video supplanted Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video as the most requested video on MTV. It’s also why I bought a Union Jack muscle shirt like the one lead singer Joe Elliot is wearing. Pyromania produced two more videos: “Rock of Ages” (my personal favorite) and “Foolin'” (with the creepy eyeless girl playing the harp).
After the success of Pyromania, their album High n Dry was re-released and it’s two singles, “Bringing on The Heartbreak” and “Me and My Wine”, had low budget, completely forgettable videos re-shot for them with new guitarist, Phil Collen.
Nothing compared to the success they would achieve with the album Hysteria, however. Producer Robert “Mutt” Lange’s goal for the album was for it to be a hard rock version of Thriller in that every track had the potential to be a single. Along those lines, there were seven singles released from the album, including every song on the first side of the album. Of the seven video singles produced for this album, my three favorite are “Women”, “Animal” and, of course, everyone’s favorite Def Leppard song “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.
The band came through town last summer and I went to see the show. I have to be honest and say that, for most of the show, they seemed like a Def Leppard cover band. Not that impressive. However, their final song of the night was “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and believe me when I say it made up for the ENTIRE show preceding it. It’s an iconic 80’s song and they did it complete justice. Hysteria is one of my favorite albums to come out of the 80’s and the tour for that album is still one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
Def Leppard, ladies and gentlemen…