"Hysteria" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK hard/heavy rock act Def Leppard. The album was released through Mercury Records in August 1987. "Hysteria" is one of those albums with a really interesting recording history. Right after coming home from a one year long tour supporting "Pyromania (1983)", the band moved in together and imidiately starting writing material for their next album. The writing sessions were under the supervision of producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, but when it became time to record the album Lange bailed out because he felt exhausted. The band brought in Jim Steinman (Meat Loaf) to produce the album but after working with Steinman for many months and recording almost a full album´s length of material, the band fired Steinman because they didn´t agree with his vision, and decided to start from scratch. The band wanted a more polished and accessible sound compared to Steinman´s vision of a more raw and unpolished rock´n´roll sound. After firing Steinman the band opted to produce the album themselves with Robert John "Mutt" Lange´s recording engineer Nigel Green, but that turned out fruitless too. It´s wasn´t until Lange returned to produce the album that things started to happen, and they actually happened pretty fast.
So the band had a lot of trouble with the production of the album but in addition to that drummer Rick Allen was also struck with a personal tragedy on the 31st of December 1984, when he lost his left arm in an auto accident. Not only was the recovery process hard, but he also had to learn to play on a new special designed drumkit. "Hysteria" is definitely one of those albums which had a painful birth, which must have made it even more satisfying for the band when the album spawned no less that seven hit singles and sold millions of copies (estimated around 20 million copies worldwide).
The music on the album is an accessible, melodic and catchy type heavy rock. You won´t find much of a heavy metal edge here, but it´s damn catchy material. It´s obvious that everything has been thought through in detail. The sound production is big, layered and polished. The choruses generally feature a lot of AOR type layered choirs and they are easy to sing along to. There is no doubt the band got exactly what they wanted with "Hysteria": "A rock album that could hit the pop charts". With an album where seven out of twelve tracks are hit singles it´s almost ridiculous mentioned specific tracks, but I guess tracks like "Pour Some Sugar On Me", "Love Bites" and "Women" still deserve a mention.
No one can question the popularity of "Hysteria". It´s through and through a successful album. It sold incredibly well and the band were excited and happy about it. People into softer heavy rock will probably agree with the band, but if your preference is for more raw type of heavy rock/hard rock, this is probably not the best investment. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.