Hysteria

Album: Hysteria (1987)
Charted: 26 10

Songfacts®:

  • "The song really is about finding spiritual enlightenment," said Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen in his Songfacts interview. "Not many people know that because it sounds like just getting hysterical, but it's actually about that. It's about finding this deeper thing, whether you believe it or not."
  • Def Leppard bass player Rick Savage came up with a guitar part for this song, and the song came together when he played if for Collen, who told us: "We were in Dublin and Rick Savage started playing this tune, so I immediately started singing, 'Out of touch, out of reach.' That was literally the first thing that came out of my mouth. He said that was cool and he goes, [singing] 'I got to know tonight,' this whole other section. We glued it together and we got very excited and we actually went around and played it for our friends who were clothes designers in Dublin. We sat down and were playing acoustic guitar, singing over the demo, and we thought that was going to be the chorus. And [producer] Mutt Lange said, 'Okay, that's a great verse, a great bridge. Now we need the chorus.' Uh, okay. [Laughs] So we sat down and we kind of just goofed around. Steve [Clark] had this idea and Joe came and sang this thing and before you knew it, the song was pretty much done."
  • With Mutt Lange producing, Def Leppard layered a bunch of guitars on this song, which made it impossible to replicate live. In an interview with Kaos2000 magazine, lead singer Joe Elliott explained: "The song 'Hysteria' has 11 guitar parts. What we did is made a hybrid of them into two - the ones that people could really hear and the ones that aren't that important to hear live."

Comments: 1

  • Steve from Torrance, CaIn spite of what it says above, from the first time I heard it, I was sure the main guitar line that opens this song was "borrowed" from Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Sky". Recorded in 1979, David Gilmour plays it on acoustic guitar and slower, while Def Leppard plays it on electric guitar and slightly speeds up the tempo.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rock Revenge SongsMusic Quiz

John Lennon, Paul Simon and Lynyrd Skynyrd are some of the artists who have written revenge songs. Do you know who they wrote them about?

Actors With Hit SongsMusic Quiz

Many actors have attempted music, but only a few have managed a hit. Do you know which of these thespians charted?

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s EditionMusic Quiz

You know the scenes - Tom Cruise in his own pants-off dance off, Molly Ringwald celebrating her birthday - but do you remember what song is playing?

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Billy Joe ShaverSongwriter Interviews

The outlaw country icon talks about the spiritual element of his songwriting and his Bob Dylan mention.

Chris Robinson of The Black CrowesSongwriter Interviews

"Great songwriters don't necessarily have hit songs," says Chris. He's written a bunch, but his fans are more interested in the intricate jams.