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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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

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 (opens in new tab).

Def Leppard have also received their first-ever nomination for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (opens in new tab). 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 (opens in new tab).

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

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Def Leppard - The Story So Far (opens in new tab)
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.

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)

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Def Leppard - Hysteria: The Singles (opens in new tab)
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.

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.