Def Leppard Gloss Over First LP In Three Years

Guitarist compares sound of upcoming Euphoria to their most successful Hysteria.

After taking a shot at funk and industrial on their last record, pop-metal icons Def

Leppard are bringing their next album back to the high-gloss, studio-intensive sound

that made them famous, according to Phil Collen, the band's guitarist.

"If you liked Hysteria, you'll love this," Collen said, referring to the band's most

successful release.

The band is putting the finishing touches on its first record in three years, which will be

called Euphoria, "spelled the regular way," Collen said, making fun of the odd

spellings of the band's name and some of its song titles.

The album is slated for release June 8, according to a spokesperson for the band's

record label, who declined to be named. "Everybody's very excited about it," the

spokesperson said.

The band -- Collen, singer Joe Elliott, drummer Rick Allen, bassist Rick Savage and lead

guitarist Vivian Campbell -- deliberately set out to make a record in the vein of their

most popular work.

The first single from Euphoria will be called "Promises," and the album's release

is expected to be followed by a world tour, although dates and venues have not been

decided, according to the band's spokesperson.

Hysteria, the band's biggest-selling release, catapulted Def Leppard to

superstardom when it was released in 1987, and has sold 12 million copies. Taking a

sound the band pioneered on 1983's Pyromania a step further, Hysteria

combined expertly crafted pop songs with high-tech production that featured multi-

layered vocals and guitars.

In addition to the lascivious mega-hit

HREF="http://www.sonicnet.com/artists/clip.cgi?track=%7Eb-

XXXXXX%2F3145287182000a01.ra&x=11&y=5">"Pour Some Sugar On Me"

(RealAudio excerpt), the album also included such hits as

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XXXXXX%2F3145287182000a03.ra&x=7&y=5">"Love Bites" (RealAudio

excerpt) and "Armegeddon It."

The Recording Industry Association of America, the body that oversees music-related

issues, recently presented Def Leppard with the newly-created Diamond Award,

marking more than 10 million copies sold of Hysteria. That distinction made the

band feel "like Viking raiders coming home with the loot," Elliott said backstage at the

Diamond Awards ceremony in early March.

"It's what you want to do in rock music," he said of the mass popularity the band achieved

with Hysteria.

Producer/songwriter Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who produced that album and co-wrote

many of its hits, also helped write several songs for Euphoria, Collen said.

Lange, whose most visible work of late has been his songwriting and production on

records by his wife, country-pop star Shania Twain, has often been credited with helping

create Def Leppard's signature sound. The producer also worked with Canadian

songwriter Bryan Adams on such hits as "Summer of '69." Lange last worked with Def

Leppard as a co-writer on their long-awaited follow-up to Hysteria, the 1992

album Adrenalize.

For production on Euphoria, Def Leppard turned to Pete Woodroffe, who worked

with the band on its 1996 album Slang. The record -- which was a sonic departure

for the band, dropping pop gloss in favor of funk and industrial experiments -- received

mixed reviews and was considered a commercial disappointment.

Def Leppard, which released their first record, On Through the Night, in 1980,

have seen more than their share of tragedy over the years. In 1984, drummer Rick Allen

lost his left arm in a car accident. He compensated for the loss with an electronic drum

kit. During the recording of 1992's Adrenalize, original lead guitarist Steve Clark

died of an overdose. Campbell, his eventual replacement, had previously played lead

guitar for the pop-metal band Whitesnake.

The spoken introduction to one of Leppard's earliest hits, 1983's "Rock of Ages," made a

surprise return to the airwaves last year when the Offspring sampled it, with the band's

permission, and used it as the intro to "Pretty Fly (For a White

Guy)" (RealAudio excerpt).