“Hysteria” by Def Leppard
The popular music industry has a tendency to release songs that may read as if they are romantic in nature but ultimately are anything but. Such is the case with “Hysteria”. The singer refers to the addressee as “babe”, which is commonly a phrase of romantic endearment. And on the surface he comes off like he ‘gets hysterical’, i.e. overly-excited, when this person is “near”.
Another way this track has been interpreted, due to its sound, is as one which is actually espousing hysteria. Hysteria, as in when a person loses control of their emotions, is generally perceived as being an undesirable state. However, this song uses the term more euphemistically as in it being akin to, as mentioned earlier, a heightened state of exhilaration. Or stated most-simplistically, it presents “hysteria” as being a good thing.
But one of the main co-writers of the tune, Phil Collen, went on to explain that this track is actually “about finding spiritual enlightenment”. Such is likely made lyrically evident for instance when the band references “a magical mysteria” or “a miracle” in the chorus. And they also insinuate that some kind of belief system is part of ultimately reaching “hysteria”.
So with that understanding in mind, we can say that the titular temperament is not based on the singer being madly in love or acting wild. Rather what “hysteria” is actually synonymous with, within the context of this song, is “spiritual enlightenment”.
Facts about “Hysteria”
This is the title song from Def Leppard’s fourth album. It was also released as the fourth single from that project on 16 November 1987. The record label that supported it is Mercury Records.
Def Leppard released a re-recorded version of “Hysteria” in 2012.
“Hysteria” peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the first time Def Leppard to score that high on this all-important chart. And it also charted in the UK and a handful of other countries.
The writers of this song are Rick Savage and Phil Collen, along with their Def Leppard counterparts Joe Elliott and Steve Elliot. And one of the tracks co-producers, Mutt Lange, is also credited as a co-writer.
The other co-producer of “Hysteria” is Nigel Green.