One of the best TV movies Keith and I ever watched aired in 2001 on VH1 – Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story. Oh the ups and the downs! The tragedy and the triumphs! It turns out that you can rent the movie through Netflix but, maybe even better, you can watch it for free on YouTube in several installments.
This makes Hysteria seem like a fun webseries of 10-minutes episodes, which is maybe all you can take at one time. The story revolves around drummer Rick Allen’s accident, in 1984, that cost him his arm. Of course, Rick Allen and Def went on to triumph after that, which is what made this movie possible. If it had been Rick Allen lost his arm and became an angry, bitter man on top of Steve Clark dying of alcoholism, this movie couldn’t have been made. Well, it could have been made, maybe by Oliver Stone.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start in 1977 when the band formed in Sheffield, England.
PART I: Gettin’ Me Music On Down At Ye Olde Sheffield Spoon Factory
1. The wigs.
2. The easy way this band gets together. It feels like filmed Def Leppard Cliff Notes, doesn’t it? “I’m Joe Elliot, can I try out for your band? Oh, and then by the way, I have a name picked out and some drawr-ings… You like it? Well, sure, some minor tweaking with your eraser and.. Hooray! Def Leppard it is!”
3. That the current band thought Joe Elliot had a great voice based on his living room tryout. Did you think it was so great? When they started saying things like, “That’s fantastic,” I was wondering, “What is? What’s fantastic? His hair?”
4. Great use of foreshadowing… Steve’s making sick in the loo! We all know that’s going nowhere good…
5. Terrible use of foreshadowing… Did the producers get together and say, “Let’s put the most dramatic scene of this movie first, without a lot of context, so that people won’t turn it off right away? They’ll think… ‘Oooh, this looks exciting,’ and they’ll sit down with a bag of crisps to watch and that’s when we shuffle them off to Sheffield and that spoon factory…”
Next up… Part 2: Get Yer Rocks Off