Written by Michael Oshust

Hysteria – The Def Leppard Story is a 2001 made-for-television movie about Def Leppard's humble beginnings, their rise to stardom, Pete Willis' struggle with the bottle and eventual firing, drummer Rick Allen's car accident, Steve Clark's battle with alcoholism and the making of their most successful album to date.

There is a long list of inaccuracies in the made-for-television movie that did not consult members of the band and is a dramatization .

  • The film gives the impression that the car accident occurred while Rick was under the influence. (In reality, Rick and Miriam did not take any drugs before it happened. They were driving on a sunny morning just after breakfast, and Rick was showing his girlfriend Miriam the beautiful nature around Sheffield.)

  • The band was shown working on the song "Pour Some Sugar on Me" before Robert John "Mutt" Lange's return as producer (in reality, the song was the last song recorded for Hysteria within two weeks)

  • Rick Allen auditioning for the band and playing on their Getcha Rocks Off EP. (He didn't join the band until after the record was recorded with Frank Noon playing drums.)

  • Phil Collen being discovered by the band at a show his band was playing. (He was friends with the members of Def Leppard when he was asked to join.)

  • Pete Willis being fired for drinking during a show. (Although he was fired for alcoholism, it was during the recording sessions for Pyromania.)

  • When the doctor compared John Bonham's blood alcohol level when he died (.41) to Steve Clark's (.54), it was in the hospital while recording Hysteria. (In reality, it was during the recording sessions for Adrenalize.)

  • Robert John "Mutt" Lange speaks with an American accent in the film. (In reality, Lange was raised in South Africa and has a corresponding accent.)

  • The film shows that Joe Elliott approached Peter Mensch after a Def Leppard performance. (In reality, it was Rick Allen who approached Mensch.)






Don't count Joe Elliott as a fan of this made-for-television movie. Joe Elliott said he fears no one would want to make a biopic about Def Leppard following the 2001 TV movie that he called “the biggest pile of shit ever made.” The VH1 produced movie was described as “the true story of one of the most successful pop-metal bands of the ‘80s.” 

Ahead of Def Leppard’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, frontman Joe Elliott was asked about the chances of becoming the subject of a biopic in the style of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

“We were subjects of a VH1 movie 20 years ago that was the biggest pile of shit ever made, I doubt very much anybody would be really interesting in making another one. We’ll see. We’re open to anything. Somebody comes along because ‘we want to make a movie about you guys,’ why not?” he stated.

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