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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.
29 Years Ago Def Leppard Release Animal Single In The UK

Wednesday, 20th July 2016

Animal 1987.

Def Leppard released their classic Animal single 29 years ago on this day in 1987 in the UK.

The first single to be released from the 'Hysteria' album in the UK.

It was also the first single release since 1984 when 'Photograph' was re-released in the UK and the remix of 'Bringin' On the Heartbreak' came out in America.

It was released on 20th July 1987 and would become the band's first ever hit single in their homeland following many press articles on their comeback and Rick's return to drumming.

The "new" single was actually already three and a half years old by the time it was released having been written in Spring 1984 at the band's house in Dublin as they started work on 'Hysteria'. Joe completed his lead vocal in July 1985 at Studio Des Dames in Paris, France.

The first Top Ten single of the band's career and the first of six Top 40 hits in the UK from the 'Hysteria' album.

The success was also helped by appearances on many TV shows performing a playback version of the song such as The Roxy and Top Of The Pops.

Def Leppard were now in the music mainstream in the UK for the first time. This single helped send the forthcoming album to Number One upon its release and result in a sold out 17-date tour in August/September.

The single sleeve featured the center of what would turn out to be nine segments of the main 'Hysteria' album cover.

Initially released on 7" and 12" as well as cassette.

Two Limited Edition versions were also released. An ultra rare CD single limited to just 3,000 copies with each one being numbered. Plus a Limited Edition Coloured Red Vinyl 12" single.

The 12" and CD included a new B-Side 'Tear It Down' which would be played on the UK tour and eventually re-recorded for the 'Adrenalize' album. And an extended version of the single later to be released as the 'remix' version.

Read some quotes about the song below.

Animal 1987.
UK Advert

The single was the first to be released from the 'Hysteria' album. It was also the first release following Rick Allen's 1984 car accident.

The single was released on 20th July 1987 and reached number 6 in the UK Top 40 chart. The first ever major hit in the UK and the first Top 10 single of the band's career. The band performed the song on Top Of The Pops in mid August, their first broadcast appearance on the legendary show.

Rick Savage Interview Quotes

"It was a guitar riff that Steve and Phil came up with together. We recorded the song with all these guitar parts and then recorded the vocal, which we all thought was one of Joe's best efforts. In fact, the vocal was so good we decided to redo the backing tracks. What eventually happened is that we kept a finished lead vocal and completely rewrote the song underneath that vocal. We had to keep the same chord changes so the vocal would work, but the verses, bridge and chorus were all rewritten. The original version sounded much heavier, but once we heard the style of the lead vocal we thought it would be best to make it more of a pop song."

Phil Collen Interview Quotes

"Our first top-ten hit in England, and it broke us in Europe. It took about three years to finish recording the song. We kept changing the guitar parts. I used a clean, compressed tone reminiscent of The Fixx."

Rick Savage 1995 Interview Quotes

"I got a lot of satisfaction out of that just because it was nice to have a top ten hit in your home country and it was the lead off single from Hysteria and it just set everything up nice you know. I remember we’d tour England. England was the first place that we actually toured on the Hysteria record and the minute we started the first two bars of ‘Animal’ the crowd just lost their minds and it was like Wow this is what it’s like to have hit singles in this country you know, people do respond."

Joe Elliott - September 2014 Interview Quotes

"My recollection of Animal is it's fading somewhat because it's a long time ago. The one thing about that song, as opposed to everything else on the album, or anybody that's ever been in a band and had a song that they've lived with for a while but then ended up re-writing parts of it. I sang the lead vocal to a completely different backing track. It was vastly different."

"I did the vocal for it in Paris. We went to work in Paris. I remember we were there when Live Aid was on. We were there for Bastille Day. And we worked in this little studio and I did the vocal. We spent a couple of days just experimenting with it and then nailing it down. And then when we took the tapes back to Holland. Where we went to finish the album off. Between Holland and Dublin."

"We kind of grew tired of the backing track. But everybody was commenting on how much they like the lead vocal. So I think it would have been Mutt who just said well look what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna strip all the track off. And just leave the vocal playing against the drums. I want you guys to just play underneath and see what you come up with."

"And totally updated the song to the point where it's timeless now. Which before it was starting to age even before it was released in it's original form."

Phil Collen - October 1988 Interview Quotes

"The song Animal we wrote - re-wrote three times and re-recorded it three times. In three different forms. And it's like it still didn't have that magic. And then one day we just changed the bridge or whatever it was and it just clicked. And we knew that we'd done something right."

"And this happened with a lot of the tracks. I think that was the main reason why they took so long. It's just getting them so that we were happy with them."

1995 - Vault Liner Note Quotes

Phil Collen

"A total nightmare to record but our first UK hit. Thank you."

Rick Savage

"1st Top Ten single in England. Gave me biggest sense of accomplishment."

Joe Elliott

"Our first big hit in England & finally broke us in our home country - At last!."

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