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The Story Behind The Album - Def Leppard 'Hysteria' - Part 2


Mutt Lange 1989.

Mutt Lange - Man Of Mysteria

The architect if Leppard's success.

Few rock fans these days can be unfamiliar with the reclusive South African's work. Currently raking in the dollars as producer, co-writer (and husband) of gorgeous, pouting Shania Twain, his CV includes names like The Cars, Boomtown Rats, City Boy, Foreigner, AC/DC and, most notably perhaps, Bryan Adams.

His reputation already established as a studio wizard whose painstaking multi-layered overdubs and complex soaring vocal harmonies became his trademark. It was Lange's two early-'80s albums with Leppard, 'High 'n' Dry' and 'Pyromania', which really put the band on the musical map, characterised by a sound Joe Elliott describes as Leppard's attempt "to make Queen albums, or better than Queen albums."

The in-demand Lange had bowed out of a third consecutive Leppard stint pleading exhaustion but that was back in January 1984, when pre-production had started in the band's adopted home town of Dublin. But by April the following year, once Mutt had savaged their post-Steinman attempts as too similar to 'Pyromania' ("it seemed they'd lost the ability to restructure the way they wrote songs, or weren't opening up enough - they needed something different") he consented to rekindle the partnership.

Lange currently lives in Switzerland with Ms Twain, whose recent album, 'Come On Over' became country rock's 'Hysteria' both in sales terms (12 million and counting) and the fact that it took over a year (and a million dollars) to make.

According to insiders, a Twain-Elliott duet might even be on the cards.

By Classic Rock 2000.

Rick Allen 1988.

Let There Be Drums

How Rick survived his accident.

In truth, 'bionic man' Rick Allen was lucky to come out of his car crash alive, let alone be able to consider resuming his rock career. Catapulted through the sun roof of his left-hand-drive Corvette after an overtaking manoeuvre went wrong, he was taken to Royal Hallamshire Hospital in critical condition. His severed left arm was reattached but had to be re-amputated a few days later to prevent infection spreading.

After regaining consciousness he took heart from hundreds of cards from fans and fellow drummers - and when a visiting Mutt Lange suggested a technique that would let him continue drumming by triggering sounds with his left foot, he immediately started practising with a pad of foam at the bottom of his hospital bed! Rick left hospital on January 29, defying doctors' predictions of a six-month stay, and on February 22 flew to Holland where the band had already been fielding inumerable crank calls from would-be replacements!

Reunited with their drummer Leppard returned to the stage at Donington's Monsters Of Rock in August 1986 - an experience that gave them added confidence for the task ahead. Jeff Rich had beefed up the sound during warm-up gigs in Eire., but when he was delayed for a show in Stockholm due to flight connections Rick had played the first 40 minutes solo - and no-one had noticed the difference!

Rich, who has since been recruited by Status Quo, monitored the next gig from the mixing desk, walked into the dressing room afterwards and stated: "I'm going home tomorrow - you don't need me." Rick returned to using an ordinary kit for the first time in 1996. "What an achievement." Joe Elliott told me. "11 years later he's playing better than he did when he had two arms! It puts a smile in your face."

By Classic Rock 2000.


Hysteria - The Facts


With 'Pyromania' and 'Hysteria', Leppard became the first act in rock history to sell seven million albums in America back to back.

Released in early August 1987, 'Hysteria' debuted at Number One in Briatain, where it would eventually spend 95 weeks on the chart.

The summit of the Billboard listings would remain unconquered until 23rd July 1988, 49 weeks after release when it replaced Van Halen's mighty 'OU812'. Only the eponymous albums by Fleetwood Mac and Whiteney Houston had taken longer the scale that peak.

The catalyst for US success had been a series of singles 'Women' (which reached Number 80), 'Animal' (19), 'Hysteria' (10), 'Sugar...' (2), 'Love Bites' (1) and 'Armageddon It' (3) - that showed impressive chart progress. 'Rocket' (12) would provide a seventh hit in 1989, but by that time it was almost inconceivable that anyone with a rock record collection hadn't invested in the album.

In Britain, 'Animal' had led the charge, becoming the band's first ever UK Top 10 single in the process. Joe explained the American sequence had been carefully chosen so as to involve their long-time fans. "We never expected 'Women' to be a big hit, we put it out because it was the heaviest thing on the album and we wanted the hardcore fans to be the first to know we were back. Otherwise you end up with a 95 per cent female audience who aren't going to be there next year."

The set list on 'Leps recent UK tour, supposedly promoting the new album 'Euphoria', still featured no fewer than seven songs from it's multi-platinum progenitor - the first six in the CD running-order plus the title track.

The album's inner-sleeve depicts Leppard 1986 appearance at Mannheim Monsters Of Rock festival - the gig that re-introduced Rick Allen into the band. Unfortunately, as you can see, the skies overhead opened and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson (not pictured) ran out to hold an umbrella over his counterpart's head!

In Britain, the 'Hysteria' singles were released with sleeve artwork that interlocked to reveal the album's cover design. When only seven of the projected eight were issued, Phohnogram re-packaged them in a collectable set with the missing 'piece'. - (actually five of nine and four missing pieces.)

At the first Diamond Awards at Manhatten's Roseland Ballroom in March 1999, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) preseted Joe Elliott with a trophy recognising 'Hysteria' as one of those albums to have sold over 10 million-plus copies in the US alone.

By Classic Rock 2000.


Hysteria - Statistics December 1989

(From the 'Rock Of Ages CD Sampler' Promo. Released to coincide with the second showing of the 'Rock Of Ages - The Def Leppard Story' TV documentary on BBC2 on 1st January 1990.)

'Hysteria' has, to date, sold an incredible worldwide total in excess of 13,000,000.

US - 9xPlatinum

The first act in US history to exceed 7,000,000 sales on two seperate albums.

'Pyromania' and 'Hysteria' - Both now certified 8,000,000. This surpasses both Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston who have two albums at 6,000,000.

The album was No. 1 for 6 weeks on three different jumps to the top of the chart.

Of the seven singles released, 6 went top 20, three top 5 and one to No. 1.

On the 'Hysteria' tour they played to 1.5 million in the US alone.

CANADA - 10xPlatinum

One in 25 man/woman/child in Canada own this LP.

'Hysteria' was on the national top 50 for two years. Three top 20 singles.

AUSTRALIA - 3xPlatinum

4 top 20 singles.

NEW ZEALAND - 5xPlatinum

8 weeks at No. 1.

5 top 10 singles, 3 top 3 singles, 2 No. 1's.

In New Zealand in 1988, 'Hysteria' was only outsold by one album (Phantom Of The Opera).


'Hysteria' has now sold over 730,000 copies in the United Kingdom.

Chart Positions for Singles in the UK