How Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ Almost Wasn’t Part of ‘Hysteria’ Album
It's hard to imagine without it, but Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" almost wasn't a part of their monstrous '80s album Hysteria. Here's how the band's biggest hit made it onto the album last minute.
During Phil Collen and Joe Elliott's interview with Essentials Radio on Apple Music Hits, the two talk about the 35th anniversary of Hysteria and how grateful they are for its success.
Collen reveals, "The last song on the album was "Pour Some Sugar on Me." And we'd finished the records and the label, everyone was up our ass, it's like 'well, when is it going out? You know how much money…'" And then, as he recalls, Elliott was "just goofing off" in the studio and it quickly turned into "Pour Some Sugar on Me."
As the guitarist recalls, "[Producer] Mutt [Lange] sees Joe playing the acoustic guitar in the corridor. And he's going [mumbles/sings: "pour some sugar on me"] He goes, 'what's that?' he goes, 'oh, I don't know.'"
Collen continued, "Then Mutt tells Joe to 'just do that again' and he does and then Mutt says 'We need to record this song. This is going to be the most important song on the record' and turns out, that Mutt was right."
Collen then talks about their influences during that time period, citing Run DMC. "Mutt wanted to combine this rock thing with a rap meter," says the guitarist. He goes on to add, "It actually sounds like a rap lyric. So, that was something that we hadn't done before. And it's this massive guitars and massive drums. But it's got this rap-style vocal done in a rock style. First time you heard it, people would go…they were drawn to it. Do you know what I mean? And that was the genius of the Mutt thing."
Elliott says that the band was "really impressed" with the fact that Aerosmith had gotten together with Run-DMC to redo "Walk This Way." "It was incredible," says the singer. "The thing about 'Sugar' as well is, they said about Mutt being open to these ideas, Phil's absolutely right, I was just goofing off on an acoustic. And he went 'how does that go?' And he'd program a drum machine and put a synth base on it. And then he'd bang some guitars down and we'd sing the chorus. Then start working backwards. If you got a chorus first, you've won."
According to Elliott, Def Leppard "had the confidence by then that the 11 songs were bang on, but this 12th song sold the deal."
Elliott concludes, "[We're] extremely grateful for the opportunity and the lifestyle that album has afforded us..we're extremely grateful for what it's given us. We put a lot of work into that record … So from that point of view, the perspiration that went into it and the inspiration that went into it, that reward is the fact that it's being celebrated. It's lasted this long, it's going to last a bit longer as well I think."
"Pour Some Sugar on Me" was the third track released from the Hysteria album, hitting No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.