This section looks at the 'Love Bites' USA single release. The fifth single to be released from the 'Hysteria' album in North America.
"It made my Mum cry. That's how I knew it was special."
Def Leppard released their classic Love Bites single on this day in 1988 in the USA and Canada.
The fifth single to be released from the 'Hysteria' album in the USA.
It was released on 27th August 1988 and would go on to become the band's first and only Number One single.
The single had been released on 4th July 1988 (US Independence Day) in the UK where it peaked at Number 11.
The previous two US singles had both made the Top Ten - 'Hysteria' (10), 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' (2) - paving the way for this song to reach the Top spot.
On the same day the single was released the 'Hysteria' album was at Number 2 and about to retake the top spot for a fourth week.
'Pour Some Sugar On Me' was also still at Number 35 on the Hot 100.
Along with the 'Hysteria' album being on the Top 200 chart for all of 1988. The band also had singles inside the Hot 100 for the whole year.
'Animal' continued its chart run into January 1988 and 'Armageddon It' carried on from 'Love Bites' at the end of the year and into 1989.
This impressive chart run actually started when 'Animal' entered in October 1987 and did not end until 'Rocket' left the chart in May 1989 with all singles overlapping each other.
Read some quotes about the song below.
Def Leppard Love Bites - Band Quotes
"That was written by Mutt. When he first showed it to us, it sounded a bit country-and western. Mutt has always been a big fan of country music. He recently produced his wife's album (Shania Twain's multiplatinum "The Woman in Me"), and it's one of the biggest-selling country releases. For "Love Bites," we just added Def Leppard guitars to it. There was a harmony guitar thing that me and Steve did where we orchestrated the chords. Steve and I jammed the song out with a drum box, and recorded it. The backing track was recorded live, and it ended up on the record. The song went on to become our first and only number-one U.S. Single."
"It made my Mum cry. That's how I knew it was special. It was actually a country and western song when Mutt Lange played his demo to Steve Clark and I. He always loved the Eagles. We goofed around with it quite a lot to Lepparddise it. But it's essence was kept."
"It was our first ever number one single anywhere in the world. I wasn’t overly keen on it at first. In it’s original demo form it didn’t sound anything like us. I was in my hotel room in Holland working on ‘Rocket’. So I had very little to do with it other than we took the chorus line of the title from another song we’d written called ‘Love Bites’ (That one later became ‘I Wanna Be Your Hero’ on the ‘Retro-Active’ album). Another example of never throwing away an idea!."
"It was a play on words. When somebody chews on your neck, you get a bruise. We're aware of the fact that in Britain, love bites, you guys call them hickeys. We call them love bites. The idea of it was that it's like, love bites, love bleeds. It was a case of taking it and just showing how the English language is an awkward beast. Many words mean many different things."
"It was something that Mutt and Steve and Phil worked on, I had really hardly any contribution to the song at all. The only contribution that I can ever acknowledge to was that the chorus was pulled off another song and I kinda help write the other chorus. It’s the only number one single we’ve ever had in America, it was our first number one single that we've ever had so I mean that kinda made it a little more pleasant for me but at the time it was like ‘I don’t wanna do this song cause I can't!’. But Mutt doesn’t let you get like that and I’m glad he doesn't he said ‘Look you can do anything you want, if you just maybe don't get it first time you don’t get it first time."
Billboard 1000 No. 1's - Joe Elliott/Phil Collen Interview Quote
"It was a very interesting thing cause that was a studio song. We'd never actually played it live. And it went to number one and we'd never played it as a band. So we had to put the tour on hold and rehearse it frantically so we could sing and play it at the same time cause it's quite involved as well."
"I remember it nearly not getting to number one. I remember being told we probably wouldn't get to number one because Red, Red Wine I think it was by UB40 was gonna pip us."
"Wow. I know Bobby McFerrin was the other side of it."
"And we were at the age as well where we thought it was about bloody time. You know because everybody says overnight success but it was actually seven years since we formed when Pyromania broke. So it was seven years before we hit real success in the States and it was ten years before we hit it in England. And it's strange because we'd been to number one on the album and it had been back and forth. For six weeks we'd been swapping places with Van Halen and Guns N' Roses all summer. So we kinda felt comfortable with that. I wouldn't say we were taking it for granted. But now we wanted a No. 1 single because we'd never had one. So it was like 'come on! come on!' When we got there, it was, as you can imagine, a 'yes!' moment."
"I think cause we were an absolute hybrid of a hard rock band and pop music. You know you could sing along to these songs but they still had a rock edge. It wasn't say like Boston which was great. It had all these lovely harmonies and everything but they weren't as hard rocking as we were so that was the weird one. We kinda sounded a bit like AC/DC. It had a bit more of that edge but we kinda fit image wise more with something like Duran Duran. So it wore lots of different hats at the same time. So that was very exciting for us cause we always wanted to appeal to lots of different age groups, lots of different genres. We didn't just want to be a rock band you know it was something a bit more special - we felt. And I think it really was as well."
Def Leppard Love Bites - VH1 Love Songs 2002 Quotes
"I think the fact that it started as a country song in the first place as well kind of separated it from all the rock power ballads. It actually kinda sounded like The Eagles and we kinda rocked it up."
"I mean I played it to my Mum and she started bawling her eyeballs out. So we actually, we knew then it kinda, it had something special about it."
"Love Songs touch on human emotion. I mean that just never tires. It changes everyday and there's always something that happens that people all over the world can relate to. Especially if you can put it in a decent lyric."
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