REWIND SPECIAL: Def Leppard – Hysteria

Def Leppard, Hysteria.
A 1980’s masterpiece, this is not a joke.

By Ray Tarte  |  Transcribed by Andy Whorehall

{A new series, ‘specially’ created for Sock Monkey Sound called, Ray Tarte’s Rewind Special.  They will be told to our in-house writer, Andy Whorehall, who will then transcribe the amazing life lessons via music listened to by our new contributor & professional socio-psychological instigating prankster, Ray Tarte;  who has made a living off of terrorizing internet photographers with nice, expensive cameras & no tact.}



Def Leppard Hysteria

Well, well, well.  What have we here?  An indie podcast website?  Another one plugging up the wild west highway on the internets?   My friends, Mr. Whorehall & Danger, told me you’re different, special;  and that you need new writers too.  That the readers are different, they actually enjoy reading AND listening to the podcast, hmm, special?  I hear subscribers often gather to quarrel over subjects ranging from good music to horrible job professions, antagonizing the public into discussions.  Sounds interesting, yes…. very special.  So my lawyers talked with Brandon’s lawyers, the star voice of Sock Monkey Sound.  After failed negotiations, I dealt with Chip, Patrick & Mark to arrange a new series for Sock Monkey Sound’s growing audience.  Today marks the first in a series specially titled, Ray Tarte’s Rewind Special.  I choose a record you may have disregarded over time, then, I get drunk and tell you briefly why it matters along with other details about my life in music- and those who got ray tarted along the way.
Enjoy, monkeys. – Ray Tart

Def Leppard is a band that gets little appreciation by indie snobs, pop historians. They dabbled in pop, glam, punk, rock, metal, never quite owing allegiance to any genre, more so owing allegiance to their own teen inspirations: T Rex, Queen, & a little late 70s British punk.  In the early 80s they managed an impressive string of hits off of another disregarded 80s rock masterpiece, ‘Pyromania.’  The bar they set at the onset of the MTV movement, when MTV actually played music videos, was very high.  So high, they took years to make a follow up with many obstacles most bands would have never been able to get through or over.

Their drummer, Rick Allen, lost a f*cking arm in a car accident during the making of what became Hysteria.  Are you kidding me?  No.

Secondly, their descent into studio madness lingered on while working with crazy producer, Mutt Lange- a hit making machine and self-indulgent perfectionist.  The guy married & made Shania Twain a fake-country-pop star, thank him for that cultural disaster.

Def Leppard did the unheard of, they stood by their FRIEND, and drummer, not giving into quitting or looking for a new drummer while Allen recovered.  UNHEARD OF in today’s selfish music climate where singer-songwriters at a young age abandon their band mates for something, fame? Morons.  Indie bands can learn alot by looking at what worked for R.E.M, and yes, Def Leppard.

Along the way, Rick Allen decided he was going to be one of the first physically handicapped drummers ever.  His bandmates, family, rallying around him, seeking the proper technology of the time to have a drumset designed and constructed, to finish Hysteria;  and then to tour with.

One of rock’s great triumphs in seeking artistic perfection, mass appeal, while maintaining human spirit, friendship and camaraderie is Def Leppard’s Hysteria.


Rick Allen, the amazing, one-armed, THUNDER GOD.

It stands out decades later as a very special recording with a slight disregard for hair metal bands & college rock.  Their ability to avoid the genre tagging of each has increased their 80s discography’s respect.  The album’s perfect mix & track order sounds removed from the rest of the bands of that time.  That drum set is the kind of wonder only a one armed THUNDER GOD could master!  Joe Elliot’s harmonies with his own lead vocals, CMON!  Steve Clark’s guitar leads owing homage to Queen’s Brian May lingers all over the record in tone and teenage spirit.

Women is as amazing an opener to a record as I am Trying To break Your Heart from Wilco’s Hysteria like masterpiece, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.  What makes this intro FAR superior is the breakdown where Joe Elliot sings, Skin on skin, let the love begin!  That is a killer line and you just got ray tartedâ„¢ Wilco fans!

When was the last time you and your Pabst drinking punk friends listened to the mighty pop of Animal?  Don’t forget Rocket, it’s tucked between the opener and Animal.  Rocket launch, tribal one armed drum beats against Steve Clark’s sexy guitar lines and Rick Savage’s nasty, bass line.  (RIP to Mr. Clark, suffering an awful life ending event years later.)  You can dance to this too plus women love this song for extended foreplay, not many bands from the 80s you could dance or extend foreplay to.  So Animal comes on and I always get goosebumps.  8th grade dance, Jenny Mussleman or Heather Palombi?!  Who was I going to dance with first?  Animal always takes me back because after I danced with Jenny I danced with Heather; because guess what’s next after Animal?  LOVE BITES!  Hell yeah, another monster love ballad.

All your choices in life can come back to you when you listen to Hysteria.  It is a powerful rock record.  Remember Pour Some Sugar on Me?  I do, it graced the #1 spot on MTV’s daily top 10.  You, the callers, decided that was the case FOR MONTHS ON END.  What a hit!  It only gets better, the title song Hysteria is brilliant pop, a great chorus;  Gods of War suggests a complete DEF LEPPARD GLOBAL takeover and lives up to its title;  Armageddon It contains the crowd pleasing yelp, are you getting it? Armagedden it!  Oh I got it!  Don’t Shoot Shotgun is amazing to say the least.  Run Riot, Excitable, and closer, Love & Affection round out one of the most incredible listening experiences to mark my childhood.  Like all great records, repeat forever.


Def Leppard, after 1 tragedy turned into mighty triumph, but before the ones to horribly come.

In the year of 2000, I was driving around Rockford, IL’s east side with my friend, Phil.  He was very hungry, Phil was always hungry and loved his Friday Fish Frys.  This wasn’t a Friday at all.  This was a beautiful Saturday afternoon driving Rockford’s east side looking for chicks, beer and italian nachos from Old Chicago!  Hell yeah, the sun was perfect, the windows were down, my green buick lesabre’s oil engine light wasn’t on yet.  The opportunity arrived for a CD disc change in the portable I had rigged to the cassette adapter line in.  I reached in the back to quickly make the CD change at the intersection of Perryville and East State.  In the player went Hysteria and out went Lou Reed’s Berlin.  Anyone that’s heard Reed’s Berlin knows it’s not meant for sunny drives in green Buicks with overweight hungry friends.  ‘Women’ starts up, I’m smiling.  Wait, red light, get to Old Chicago!

My fat friend, Phil, says, What the hell is this?
Me: Man, it’s the Leppard!
Phil:  Uh no, not funny.
Me: Not funny at all man this is a masterpiece- you don’t like the Leppard?!
Phil: No, I’m not in the mood for your jokes today.
(Note: I used to play jokes on Philly Boy, often changing his answering machine message from remote locations because I figured out the machine’s #code to do such from my own landline.  The most abused prank I used to play on him was recording the alternative version of ‘A Last Request:  I want you sex PART 3 to his machine via the phone off of George Michael’s great Faith record.  It’s the last song on that record.  He never liked that joke so I did it repeatedly because everyone else that called him thought it was hilarious.}
Me: Man, this is not a joke, Hysteria is a masterpiece, you best check yourself.

Phil takes the CD out of the discman and tosses it like a frisbee out the window and onto the strip of land next to Border’s Book Store.  It landed in the grass there, barely.  What the fuck are you doing?!  I quickly get into the right lane and turn, finding a spot to go run and grab my copy of Hysteria.  I’ve had many copies of Hysteria in life, I waited quite awhile to pick it up on CD often choosing cassette copies, at least 3 I wore out before giving into the digital version.  I was not letting this Hysteria copy suffer the defeat of an indie snob’s attempt to kill the sunshine on this fine Rockford drive through the east side to Italian Nachos.

I got back into the car and Phil reminded me:  I told you I’m not in the mood for your jokes & I’m f*cking hungry.
Me:  Out of the car, out, now.  You’re walking to Old Chicago.  You need the exercise anyway.

When it comes to Hysteria
I’m not joking Phil.
I never was.

To all internets photographers with nice cameras but no skills or tact, and to everyone else,
Def Leppard’s Hysteria is a masterpiece- and yeah,
I’m not joking.

You just got ray tarted.â„¢


REWIND SPECIAL: Def Leppard - HysteriaAndy Whorehall

3 comments on "REWIND SPECIAL: Def Leppard – Hysteria"

  1. Truth.

  2. Wow, I just randomly came across this while searching for a .jpg of the album cover for my iTunes library version.

    Nice work.

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