Album: Hysteria (1987)
Charted: 26 10
  • "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

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Gary Brooker of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer and pianist for Procol Harum, Gary talks about finding the musical ideas to match the words.

Jesus Christ Superstar: Ted Neeley Tells the Inside StorySong Writing

The in-depth discussion about the making of Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neeley, who played Jesus in the 1973 film.

Charlie Benante of AnthraxSongwriter Interviews

The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.

Stan RidgwaySongwriter Interviews

Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.