During my holidays this week I watched a documentary on the making of Hysteria – one of the classic rock albums of all time. I was stunned to learn of all the trials the band had to overcome in order to get this album out. It took 4 years, required firing the first two producers and ofcourse includes the horrific crash in which drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm.
My favourite part is the recounting of their gig at Donington in ’86 – their first concert in 4 years, and the first with Rick drumming with one arm. Joe Elliot explains that they didn’t want to play on the sympathy vote so they resisted making any mention of Rick. Finally toward the end of the show he (Joe) felt they had to say something. He simply turned to the crowd and said ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, Rick Allen’. An audience of over 60,000 erupted with screams and applause. Emotional stuff.
Hysteria went on to sell over 17 million albums. Def Leppard are one of only five bands in the world to have had two albums each sell more than 10 million copies (the others are Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Van Halen btw)
I dusted off my copy of Hysteria and have had it on constant rotation in the car ever since. A little dated now ofcourse (it was released in 1987) but none the less this is a truly great album.