Def Leppard’s New Album: Our Best Since 'Hysteria,' Says Phil Collen

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Def Leppard’s 11th album drops in October, and guitarist Phil Collen is already declaring it their best album since 1987’s Hysteria, the band’s smash hit that has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Collen says the new album, the followup to the band’s 2008 release, Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, is “probably the most diverse thing we’ve done.”

“I think it’s the best thing we’ve done since Hysteria,” he told WAAF radio in Boston. “I really do. It’s the loudest rock guitars we’ve ever had.”

Hysteria, Leppard’s fourth album, was a monster success that succeeded their breakthrough album, 1983’s Pyromania. Its creation took more than three years, due to delays that included drummer Rick Allen’s car crash on December 31, 1984, that cost him his left arm. Running more than 62 minutes in length, Hysteria was also one of the longest albums issued on a single vinyl disc.

The album spawned seven singles, including “Women,” “Animal,” “Hysteria” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” the video of which is shown below.

Whether or not Def Leppard’s latest will be as successful is clearly not the point for Collen. It’s more about the band’s inspiration and integrity.

“There wasn’t any industry—no record company executive or anyone—saying, ‘You’ve got to do an album,’ ” he says. “It was purely because we wanted to write songs, and we felt the need to do that.

“In the old days the Stones, Zeppelin, James Brown, the Beatles—they’d go into the studio when they had an idea and they’d record it. We’ve done it like that, and it has a fresher kind of sound for it. The integrity is just amazing. You can hear that in the grooves.”

In related band news, Vivian Campbell, Collen’s coguitarist, revealed last month that the Hodgkin’s lymphoma he has been battling for two years has returned. Though he originally thought his treatment would prevent him from joining the band on their current tour, the schedule will actually allow him to make all but two of the shows.

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