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Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria’ Went to #1 on This Day (July 23) in 1988 – What The Album Means to Me

Hysteria

Maybe I’ve mentioned it before, but ‘Hysteria’ by Def Leppard is my all-time favorite album. Released in late 1987 and really lasting into 1989, it spanned much of my time in high school and was at the center of many of those coming of age moments. It just so happens today on this day, July 23, 1988, the album went to #1 on the Billboard album chart.

I went through two or three vinyl copies of ‘Hysteria’ and a few cassettes as well as a CD but that copy somewhere along the line was lost. I do still have the original release on record with the story or “liner notes” on the sleeve. All that along with the 45s, I think I’ve given Def Leppard hundreds over the years.

The album ‘Hysteria’ starts off with oddly the biggest stiff on the record, “Women.” The song was released as a single, but didn’t really take off. The song reminds me of hanging out with my male friends talking about like girls in the way guys do.

The song “Rocket” was next on the album, which wasn’t released as single until almost the end of the album’s chart reign. What I remember most about that song is the video. At the time it wasn’t one I hit replay on too many times. Don’t get me wrong, I like the song, but it wasn’t really wasn’t my favorite on Hysteria. Today in 2014, I have done a 180 on “Rocket” and love it.

On to the song “Animal,” this was the song that made me say “WOW”, I want the album. Always had to crank it, and it was a great song for the car cruising around town. “Animal” was also a huge party anthem of the era.

After “Animal” on the album came “Love Bites.” This was the break up song of 1988 and really 1989 until Poison’s “Every Rose Has its’ Thorn” came along. “Love Bites” for me was a thinking song. You know the kind of song, you play it and think about who went out with or lost recently in a break up. As for her name, we’ll keep it a secret.

After “Love Bites” on the album comes, the album’s biggest hit, “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” That song reminds me of hanging out at Wendy’s after school and drinking coffee with friends. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” is probably the most played song of theirs so its impact on me now is minimal, but it’s the song that catapulted ‘Hysteria’ into the stratosphere when it came to the charts and record sales.

“Armageddon It” was the last song on side one and one of my favorites. The song reminds of a good friend in the late 80s and early 90s who passed away about eight years ago now. We’ll miss you Troy. Similar memories attached to “Armageddon It” as there are to “Animal”

Side two started with “Gods of War.” Was it a protest song? I don’t know, I was 16-17 years old. Song consisted of quotes from President Reagan and the line, “We’re fightin’ for the gods of war but what the hell we fightin’ for?” Musically “Gods of War” is a great song.

“Gods of War” runs right into “Don’t Shoot Shotgun. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite unreleased track on the album but it’s probably number two. It’s another song you want to crank at parties or while driving.

Run Riot is the song that follows “Don’t Shoot Shotgun.” Honestly probably my least favorite on the album but will sit through it to get to the title cut, “Hysteria.”

“Hysteria” has all kinds of memories and nostalgia attached to it, first love, the mystery of your first time and all of the emotions that go into being a teenaged boy. Absolutely my favorite hit on the album but not my favorite song on the album that comes after “Excitable” which follows “Hysteria.”

“Excitable” is a fun little song. Mostly a production piece with the over dubs and beats but a song great at parties.

The last song on the album is “Love and Affection” and is also my favorite. The song generates the same emotions, feelings and memories as the song “Hysteria” but “Love and Affection” wasn’t a hit and therefore not played as much if at all.

To sum it all up, the album ‘Hysteria’ was radio relevant through much of my time in high school, my first love, parties, cars, Friday and Saturday nights out with friends and all kinds of other crazy behavior and for those reasons and others is truly my favorite album of all time.

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