The ‘Hysteria’ Song That Made Def Leppard’s Phil Collen Cringe
Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen named the song on the 1987 album Hysteria that used to make him “cringe” – although he’s over it now.
The record took three years to complete amid issues including a failed attempt to work with Jim Steinman and the car crash that left drummer Rick Allen with one arm. But when the album was finally released after the band’s reunion with producer Mutt Lange, it fulfilled all their ambitions and more.
In a recent interview with Music Radar, Collen recalled that they had run out of time to complete some of the songs - like "Run Riot." "We just didn’t get enough time to work on it, like chorus-wise," he said. "The verses are great, but we get to the chorus and it’s too … I don’t know. ... That’s just my opinion, although Joe [Elliott] thinks the same thing. It went a bit too poppy, a bit too happy. The vocal melody was a little too major scale. It should’ve stayed more rock ‘n’ roll, especially with the title.
“I remember I came back from Paris to do the solo, and I fumbled it and made some mistakes. I used to really cringe when I heard it, but it’s been 35 years now, so I’ve let it go. Actually, now I like mistakes here and there. You play something, you struggle, you leave a few hiccups in – it’s cool.”
Watch Def Leppard's 'Run Riot' Video
Collen noted that the drawn-out process of the $4 million project made Def Leppard "a bit crazy at times, mainly in the beginning," but that was mostly forgotten when he heard the completed album for the first time.
"We were staying at this little house on a lake in Holland," he recalled. "Steve [Clark] got a copy and put it on. It was the first time I heard drums on a lot of the tracks because when I was recording it, a lot of times I played to a click. So I listened to the record and I thought, ‘If it sells one copy and my mom’s the only one that buys it, I’ll be happy.’ It was the best thing I’d ever heard. I was completely satisfied. I was so proud and pleased. I can still listen to it and feel the same way.”