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Def Leppard: When Love Bites hit no.1 we had never played it together

(Image credit: Dave Hogan - Getty)

Def Leppard had never played Love Bites together in the same room when it hit the top of the charts back in 1988, says guitarist Phil Collen.

The song was just one of seven smash hit singles from 1987’s Hysteria – and was their only track to make it to no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

But in a new interview with Spotify's Under Cover podcast, Collen says they struggled to pull the song together following its release as they had recorded it piecemeal in the years before the album’s release.

He says: “We’d never played Love Bites together when we released it. It was a studio song. We did bits and pieces here, and the next year we did some in another studio and tracked crazy vocals.

“We release it and it goes to no.1 on Billboard and we’ve never played it – our only no.1 Billboard single. 

Pour Some Sugar On Me was no.2, Armageddon It was two, we’ve had top 10s and all that. This was no.1 and we didn’t know how to play it. It was a real struggle playing guitar and singing at the same time – there’s so many vocals on it, but we finally got it."

We’d never played Love Bites together when we released it. It was a studio song

Phil Collen

Collen also talks about why they decided to cover Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus for a Spotify session earlier this year.

He says: "We did a covers album called Yeah! and we made a point to not do Beatles, Stones or Zeppelin – the run of the mill stuff. When this session came up, what was really interesting was that everyone was going, ‘Maybe be could do an Eagles song or an Abba song.’

“It was like, ‘No! That’s naff, that’s passé. Let’s do something that we wouldn’t have normally done. It would be really cool to do something that’s quite vital.’

“And Ronan, who’s our out-front guy, used Personal Jesus to test the PAs.

“Vivian Campbell said, ‘Hey, why don’t we do Personal Jesus?’ That’s one song that everyone agreed on.”

Last week, Def Lep announced a new Best Of album which will include Personal Jesus, Hysteria: The Singles box set and launched a new track We All Need Christmas.

Def Leppard have also received their first-ever nomination for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. We’ll have to wait until December to find out if they’ve made it in.

The Sheffield rock heroes will return home in December for a run of UK shows centred around the Hysteria album. Find out more on our Def Leppard tour page.

Def Leppard: The Story So Far

Disc 1
1. Animal
2. Photograph
3. Pour Some Sugar On Me
4. Love Bites
5. Let’s Get Rocked
6. Armaggedon It
7. Foolin’
8. Two Steps Behind
9. Heaven Is
10. Rocket
11. Hysteria
12. Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
13. Make Love Like A Man
14. Action
15. When Love & Hate Collide
16. Rock Of Ages
17. Personal Jesus

Disc 2
1. Let’s Go
2. Promises
3. Slang
4. Bringin’ On The Heartbreak
5. Rock On (Radio Remix)
6. Nine Lives (feat. Tim McGraw)
7. Work It Out
8. Stand Up
9. Dangerous
10. Now
11. Undefeated
12. Tonight
13. C’Mon C’Mon
14. Man Enough
15. No Matter What
16. All I Want Is Everything
17. It’s All About Believing
18. Kings Of The World

Def Leppard - The Story So Far
Def Leppard's new Best-Of collection features a total of 35 tracks, including all the hits and their cover of Depeche Mode classic Personal Jesus.View Deal

Hysteria: The Singles Box Set
Disc 1: Women / Tear It Down (US Version)
Disc 2: Animal / I Wanna Be Your Hero (US Version)
Disc 3: Hysteria / Ride in To the Sun (Int Version)
Disc 4: Pour Some Sugar on Me / Ring of Fire (US Version)
Disc 5: Love Bites / Billy’s Got A Gun (Live)(Int Version)
Disc 6: Armageddon It / Release Me (Can Version)
Disc 7: Rocket / Woman (Live) (US Version)
Disc 8: Excitable / Run Riot (Album Version)
Disc 9: Love and Affection / Don't Shoot Shotgun (Album Version)
Disc 10: Animal / Tear It Down (Spanish Artwork Version)

Def Leppard - Hysteria: The Singles
Hysteria: The Singles is a limited edition 10-disc vinyl box set featuring the smash hits Pour Some Sugar On Me, Animal, Love Bites, Hysteria, Rocket and Armageddon It and more.View Deal