Sunday, August 6, 2017

Def Leppard - Hysteria (Deluxe Edition)

Def Leppard’s Hysteria is a masterclass in production.  The band said that they wanted to make the Hard Rock equivalent to Michael Jackson’s triller where every song could have been a hit single. Their goal was to make the audio equivalent of a Star Wars film.  They wanted to do something that was a big spectacle and they certainly succeeded.  Hysteria had seven hit singles, took over the charts from 1987 to 1988 and catapulted the band to a place where very few acts get to and sold 25 million albums along the way back when people actually bought albums.  Hysteria was B. I. G. Big.    


Let me make a confession here.  I don’t actually think Hysteria is perfect.  I can live without the majority of the tracks on side 2 (yes side 2 kids…) But side 1 is just … flawless!  Six of the seven singles are on side 1 of the album and it is the perfect mix of hard rock, glossy production, pop hooks and great playing.  In fact, side 1 is so good that I don’t even need to hear side 2.  By the time I get to the end of these six tracks I just want to start them again. 


This deluxe edition brings together 7 discs of live tracks, b sides, video clips along with the original album.  But interestingly there are no demos included in this package, which is a little disappointing.  I would have thought that this would be the perfect time to explore how this great album was made.  These days it is not uncommon for bands to release albums every 4 years, but in the mid-80s the length of the recording of Hysteria was legendary.  Stories about the band doing so many overdubs that they would wear the tape out were common.  It would be great to hear how the songs evolved from their early versions up to the finished ones that we hear today.  Having said that, they say that making a record is a lot like making a sausage.  You’d enjoy both more if you didn’t know how they were made. 


File under: Just listen to the original album (and side 1 at that!). 

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