Def Leppard’s classic rock hit, “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” nearly died a slow death at rock radio—until it was rescued by strippers.
So says Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott in a new Rolling Stone interview discussing the 30th Anniversary of their landmark album, Hysteria. The big day is tomorrow, August. 3.
Hysteria—the followup to 1983’s Pyromania, overcame many obstacles to get made –including the aftermath of drummer Rick Allen’s car accident, severing his arm and the temporary departure of producer Mutt Lange. Def Leppard almost recorded the record with Meatloaf collaborator Jim Steinman, but rebounded when Lange returned to the fold.
The album boasted the hits “Love Bites,” which went straight to No. 1 in the United States and “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” a top three hit that almost wasn’t.
“It wasn’t written for strippers,” said Elliott, who turned 58 yesterday. “What really happened was when we wrote the song, we slowed it to a tempo where Mutt said, “It’s got to be sexy. You’ve got to imagine people on the pole to this.” So I suppose he encouraged us to do it in that tempo, but I never walked in and went, “We’re gonna write a song for strippers.”
However, the song found new life in the battleground state of Florida –specifically in strip clubs during spring break.
“Then what happens is someone starts shoving dollar bills down G-strings and the girls start requesting the song at radio,” he continued. “Then that gets played, more people hear it and it gets more spins at MTV. It went like wildfire across strip bars, from what I’m told – from Florida all the way over to the West Coast in a couple of weeks. It wasn’t specifically written for strippers, but it was written to be as sexy as possible. We’re not a sexy band, but we do like sexy songs occasionally. I didn’t write it for strippers, but I’m glad they took to it.”
The band will celebrate with the release of a deluxe box set, released Aug. 4 through Universal.