Saturday, July 23, 1988

Def Leppard hit #2 with “Pour Some Sugar on Me”

Pour Some Sugar on Me

Def Leppard

Writer(s): Joe Elliott; Phil Collen; Rick Savage; Robert John "Mutt" Lange; Steve Clark (see lyrics here)

Released: September 8, 1987

First Charted: September 19, 1987

Peak: 2 US, 12 CB, 11 RR, 25 AR, 18 UK, 22 CB, 26 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.4 UK, 0.9 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 137.9 video, 300.85 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The band were behind schedule in recording their Hysteria album, but producer Mutt Lange felt they still hadn’t nailed down a strong crossover hit. He was wrong on that point, considering the album sent four songs into the top 10 of the Billboard pop charts and had two more top-20 hits, but his instincts arguably produced the most important song of Def Leppard’s career.

After Lange heard singer Joe Elliott playing a riff he’d developed on acoustic guitar, he thought it had the potential to be the hit he was seeking, saying, according to Elliott, “That’s the best hook I’ve heard in over five years.” SF When the rest of the band came back in the studio, they rolled their eyes when Elliott and Lange said they had a new song, but were sold once they heard it. SF Within two weeks – by far the fastest they’d worked on a song SF – it had been fleshed out into the final track recorded for the album. WK

Elliott and Lange wrote separate lyrics for the song and then listened to each other’s contributions. Elliott cited several songs as inspiration. He said it was done in the style of T-Rex’s “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” SF and that it was partially inspired by the Run-D.M.C.’s version of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.” As he said, “All of a sudden, rock and rap did mix, so we wrote our own.” WK He’s also said the line “pour a little sugar on me, baby” from the Archies’ 1969 hit “Sugar Sugar” (the first record Elliott ever bought) was at least subconscious inspiration. SF

“Pour Some Sugar on Me” didn’t end up as highest-charting song from Hysteria (“Love Bites” reached #1) nor was it the first single. It did, however, become their signature hit. WK It effectively had a year-long chart life, thanks to staggered appearances on various charts. It was first released in the UK in September 1987 as the second single from the Hysteria album after “Animal” in July. In the U.S., the song made its first appearance as an album cut on the mainstream rock chart in January 1988. However, it wasn’t released as an official single in America until April 1988, making it the fourth single after “Women” (August 1987), “Animal” (September 1987), and the title cut from the Hysteria album (January 1988).

The song climbed the Billboard Hot 100 for three months, eventually peaking at #2, held back from the top spot by Richard Marx’s “Hold on to the Nights.” The success of the song pushed the Hysteria album to #1 after it had been out more than a year. In 1991, MTV ranked “Pour Some Sugar on Me” the #1 video of all time. In 2006, VH1 ranked it the #2 song of the ‘80s. WK


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First posted 11/27/2020; last updated 10/28/2022.

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