During 1987/88, if you went to any sort of family celebration that had a DJ, chances are you would hear at least two or three Def Leppard tracks. ‘Animal’ usually early on in the evening, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ when the drinks were in full flow, and everyone was feeling a little saucy, and if the venue wanted the floor clearing and everyone out, one of the not-so-commercial tracks like ‘Armageddon It’. “Call that music?” Uncle Pete would say as the Special Brew began to take effect and he was carried out of the door. Def Leppard were the default setting for when the DJ wanted to shake it up without scaring the old dears… just light enough, and easy to sing along to. Thirty years later, and the memories of breaking a hip getting down to Leppard at an 18th, 21st or an engagement party (remember them?) are fleeting. However, thanks to this damn sexy 30th anniversary edition of ‘Hysteria’, the album that spawned the monster tracks mentioned above, those painful memories are coming back.
Career defining, multi-platinum, and still a template for copycats to this day, ‘Hysteria’ is the sound of a band essentially capturing lightning in a bottle. Not quite the rock version of ‘Thriller’ that Def Leppard had hoped for (not every track was a massive single like Jacko), but 30 years on, it has aged incredibly well. The pacing might seem out of whack as the first six tracks are so strong, but perhaps no-one foresaw how massive ‘Animal’, ‘Love Bites’, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ etc would actually be? The remaining six tracks have some gems in there, like the title track, ‘Run Riot’, and the funk-tastic ‘Excitable’, but it’s the opening six that still form the bulk of Leppard’s set today. What you get with this re-issue is dependant on how much you want to spend. The vanilla version is perfect for those not wanting to shell out too much, but still want to bust a move. There is also a triple disc extended CD version, double vinyl version, and the big kahuna super deluxe version! The 5 CD/ 2-DVD super deluxe version is a veritable feast for Leppard fans everywhere, and I bet that come Christmas, there will be a fair few in Santa’s sack. Boasting books, B-sides, remixes, live tracks, as well as the audio for ‘In The Round In Your Face (Live)’ for the first time on CD, this has been put together with love and affection, not cheaply thrown together like so many collections on the market today. It might have taken blood, sweat, and tears decades ago recording the bugger, but ‘Hysteria’ rightfully takes its place amongst the likes of ‘Slippery When Wet’ and ‘Appetite For Destruction’ as the mammoth rock albums of the late 80’s.
‘Hysteria – 30th Anniversary Editions’ available here
Review: Dave Stott