Remembering a summer of mass ‘Destruction and “Hysteria”

Remembering a summer of mass ‘Destruction and “Hysteria” 

Posted: 1:12 pm Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

By Pete Rizzo


You may not find two albums more stylistically different from each other that helped shaped rock music in the 1980s in their own unique ways. It’s no secret that we play the heck of both Def Leppard’s classic “Hysteria” and Guns ‘N’ Roses’ revolutionary “Appetite for Destruction” here at BAB. Each album is loaded with classic tunes for days. And they both turn 30 this summer.

I remember saying to myself “Hey, I remember these guys!” upon receiving a dubbed copy of “Hysteria” on cassette from a classmate in ninth grade art class back in September of 1987. I hadn’t heard a peep from them since reading about Rick Allen’s terrible accident three years earlier. And yet I instantly fell in love with the Leps all over again from the moment I first heard the chorus of “Women”.

It took me a while longer to come around to “Appetite for Destruction” frankly because I had seen a picture of the guys in GNR and they unnerved me. While hearing “Sweet Child of Mine” for the first time on the radio definitely warmed me to Guns, it was hearing “Welcome to the Jungle” that broke me down and prompted me to hit Mr. Cheapo’s in Mineola to buy “Appetite” on cassette.

It’s also important to note that both albums are still very well represented live by both bands to this day:

For some time after both albums came out, I was resolute in my defense of “Hysteria” as the better album of the two. Three decades and a deeper appreciation of truly ageless music later, I’ve changed my vote. “Appetite” for me wins by a hair as the better album of the two. One for how revolutionary it was at the time. Two, for an aesthetic they created that I feel more rock and metal bands to this day try to emulate. And three: for the reaction “Appetite” elicits to this day among kids who hear it for the first time.

How about you? Which album of the two was your favorite in the summer of ’87? “Appetite” or “Hysteria”?