It’s hard to imagine without it, though Def Leppard‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ almost wasn’t part of their monstrous 80s album Hysteria. Here’s how the band’s biggest hit came on the album at the last minute.
Collen reveals, “The last song on the album was ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me.’ And we were done with the records and the label, everybody was on us, it’s like ‘well, when’s it coming out? You know how much money.. .'” And then, as he recalls it, Elliott was “just messing around” in the studio, and it quickly turned into “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
As the guitarist recalls, “[Producer] Mutt [Lange] sees Joe playing acoustic guitar in the corridor. And he goes [mumbles/sings: “pour some sugar on me”] He says, ‘what is that?’ he says, ‘oh, I don’t know’.”
Collen continued, “Then Mutt tells Joe to ‘just do it again,’ and he does, and then Mutt says, ‘We’re going to record this song. This is going to be the most important song on the record,’ and Mutt turns out to be right.”
Collen then talks about their influences during that 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 it was something we hadn’t done before. And it’s these massive guitars and massive drums. But it has this rap-style vocals done in a rock style First once you heard it, people would go…they were drawn to it. You know what I mean? And that was the genius of the Mutt thing.”
Elliott says the band was “really impressed” by the fact that Aerosmith had teamed up with Run-DMC to remake “Walk This Way”. “It was incredible,” says the singer. “Also, the thing about ‘Sugar’ is that they said about Mutt being open to these ideas, Phil’s absolutely right, I was just messing around with an acoustic. And he said ‘how’s it going?’ And he’d program a drum machine and put a synth base on it. And then he’d knock down some guitars and we’d sing the chorus. Then you started working backwards. If you got a chorus first, you’ve won.”
According to Elliott, Def Leppard “at the time were confident 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 the album has given us..we are extremely grateful for what it has given us. We put a lot of work into that record … So from that point of view, the inspiration that went into it and the inspiration that went into it, the reward is that it’s being celebrated. It’s been going on for so long, it’s going to last a little longer too, I think.”
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” was the third track released from Hysteria album hitting No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.