The Lowlist: Def Leppard's Hysteria, the album that changed melodic rock

Def Leppard's Hysteria
(Image credit: Def Leppard)

Def Leppard’s fourth album Hysteria took three years to record, had its fair share of ups and downs along the way, defined the term ‘slow burn’ in the US and ultimately changed the sound of melodic rock. It also redefined the genre’s production standards. Released in August 1987, the album reached number one in both the UK and the US, and has shifted over 25 million copies worldwide. No fewer than seven singles were released from Hysteria.

Suffice to say, Sheffield rockers Leppard had a vision of the album they wanted to create, rather than settling for a simple repeat of 1983’s Pyromania. Producers Mutt Lange and Jim Steinman came and departed before good fortune and timing saw Lange return to the fold and go on to create a sound, and a way of working, that has created a legend of its own. His time, craftsmanship and attention to detail were exhausting, as the band members are quick to confirm, at a time when studio technology was developing rapidly. The proof was in the pudding and 30 years on, Hysteria is still a defining moment in rock music – not least because of the blood, sweat and tears incurred to create it.

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