Move over, Pebbles, because there’s another 1987 monster taking over our ear holes. No girlfriends here, just lots of pouring sugar and biting love. Def Leppard, one of my first favorite bands, jack-hammered the planet with their best-selling album, Hysteria. Selling over 25 million copies, Hysteria was acquired by just about every breathing soul in the late 80s, myself obviously included, and though she shows a few signs of her age, she is the gold standard to represent the year 1987. Spin, enjoy, repeat.
It’s been an Hysteria type of week, to say the least. Lucky for me, I’m able to revert to my 7-year-old self with this award winning, childhood favorite collection of (hard and / or arena) rock pop songs. Not only is this iconic (and at the time VERY futuristic) album cover branded into my brain, it’s also a staple of what shit was hot back in summer of 1987. If you’re one of those living-under-a-rock types, then you’ve likely not heard this monumental and critically acclaimed album… and you certainly should. For the rest of us, I pose a question: When was the last time you rocked out in your P-Jams to Pour Some Sugar On Me? Well, it’s about damn time.
There are certain milestones, chapters in a man’s life (obvious statement), and these chapters can be traced to the discovery and overabundant submersion into specific pop artists… for me, anyway. Phases may be a better term for it. When I was young I went through my Bon Jovi phase (ended), followed by my Def Leppard phase (ended). In Junior High it was the hip-hop (mainly ended) and Jane’s Addiction phases (on-going), before graduating to the punk, industrial, and metal phases (never-ending, never-ending, and mainly ended, respectfully). I’ll spare you the long line of personal music phases (as well as their lengths), and cut directly to the now, decade-long Jim Croce phase. First discovered from classic rock radio as a lad, my Croce chapter started with a 2-disc compilation titled, The 50th Anniversary Collection. Acquired during my brief tenure as a music coordinator, the digital version of this album opened a new and exciting door to some of the most profound, and emotional songwriting I’d ever hear. While some chapters conclude, I pray my Croce chapter has no ending.
You know that when you’ve started measuring out your cocktails, there’s an issue onboard the gravy train. 1988’s glam metal pop sluts from Pennyslvania made a shit-ton of parents unhappy with their questionably abhorrent cover for Open Up and Say… Ahh!, their second, and most successful makeup-laden album.
Competing against Def Leppard’s Hysteria (a personal fav), Bon Jovi’s New Jersey (another adolescent treasure), and Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (arguably the best album every released), it’s no wonder Poison’s Open Up… achieved only the no. 2 spot on the Billboard 200. Striving for that no. 1 spot, the band re-released OUaS…A! with a slightly less eye-catching, much more (parent friendly) subdued cover, but were never able to break into that coveted no. 1 spot; Unfortunate, but understandable given the timeless competition.
Alternate titles to today’s post are 1) The Groove Gets Nostalgic, 2) My Undeniable Infatuation With This Song, and the Reason My Father Hated It, and 3) So What If I Had Def Leppard Posters Up on My Walls as A Kid.
Def Leppard. It took me a few years to realize how much of a rip-off their name was, or, to put it more lovingly, how much of a COINCIDENCE it is that their name mirrors the mighty Led Zeppelin. If you’ve never seen this mind-blowing parallel, here it is:
Notice 1) the three letter first word, 2) the second letter to the first word being an E, 3) the first word having one syllable, 4) the second word containing EPP, and 5) that I may be obsessing over this a bit too much… nah!
My father, whose favorite band was Led Zeppelin, always seemed to have it out for Def Leppard and specifically the song, Pour Some Sugar on Me. This may have been because it was a striking departure from the music of his youth, but more likely it was because I played this song… ad nauseam… everyday… for like, two years! Can you blame me? I was eight! I know, I’m still making my round of apologies.
Pour Some Sugar on Me was the Stairway to Heaven of my youth. It spoke to me in a language I’d never heard, but instantly understood. I wanted to share my feeling of exceeded joy with any and everyone who would listen. More times than not, my biggest audience consisted of one individual… my cat.
One could say I got burned out on this song. A sensation, at the time, I’d never experienced. I’ll still give the ol’ girl a spin now and again. And when I do, I’m back in my bedroom, frantically trying to learn the lyrics, and understand what “sugar” actually meant.
I won’t go into how I used to hide my arm in my t-shirt and pretended to drum like Def Leppard’s Rick Allen. That’s an embarrassing revelation for another time.