Don't get us wrong -- we love Def Leppard's Hysteria. We think it's their best album. But we also think it's too long.

That's partly a byproduct of the era. When the album came out in 1987, CDs were just starting to become a major player in the music industry, which was still dominated by LPs and cassettes at the time. But with the emergence of the compact disc came the ability for artists to cram more music onto them than the 45 minutes or so most vinyl records and cassettes clocked in at.

And, boy, did artists take advantage of that new 80-minute time limit, as countless albums in the early and mid-'90s filled every single shiny space on their CDs. Problem was, very few albums actually need that much time. There was a good reason records tapped out at 45 minutes for decades: Go much longer than that and you're gonna bore your audience.

At 62 minutes, Hysteria was one of the first albums to push the hour mark. After a four-year absence, Def Leppard no doubt had a lot of catching up to do. Thing is, there's about 45 minutes of truly great material on Hysteria.

So we asked five writers to cut down the massive length of Def Leppard's biggest-selling album to a more manageable length.

My ideal version of the album cuts four songs from the dozen found in the 1987 track listing. I kept all seven(!) of the album's singles, because, let's face it, they're the most memorable cuts here (nobody thinks the embarrassing "Don't Shoot Shotgun" is a good song, right?). I also left in the original album's closer, "Love and Affection," another of the album's big power ballads, but an effective one, and a great thematic wrap-up to the LP.

I made one switch to the running order, swapping the album-opening "Women" (which also, inexplicably, was the album's first single) with the way more awesome "Pour Some Sugar on Me" -- that song always sounded like a great way to kick it all off. "Women" sounds way better leading off my Side Two. Both sides end with big ballads, while the two most powerful rock songs -- "Rocket" and "Armageddon It" -- are sandwiched on each side.

Side One
"Pour Some Sugar on Me"
"Rocket"
"Animal"
"Love Bites"

Side Two
"Women"
"Armageddon It"
"Hysteria"
"Love and Affection"

Leave out: "Gods of War," "Don't Shoot Shotgun," "Run Riot," "Excitable"
--Michael Gallucci

Matt Wardlaw: I like where Michael's head is at with a lot of his proposed track listing and I'm okay with all of his proposed omissions, except for one key swap that we'll talk about in a moment. I would honestly almost pull "Love Bites" off of the album -- it's one of my least favorite songs on the record -- but if I was in that record company meeting, I can imagine that the reaction to pulling a potentially lucrative power ballad single off of the album would not be favorable, so that one stays, I guess.

I agree that "Pour Some Sugar on Me" always felt like one that would be a great opening track -- particularly if we're able to use some revisionist history to swap in the "video version" that got a good amount of radio airplay -- and continues to be the version getting a decent amount of spins these days.

But I have to stick up for "Gods of War." I probably lost some hearing thanks to taking in those sound effects over and over on my headphones back then. I think it would make a pretty epic closer for the album. I shuffled up the rest of the track listing a bit -- the first side is pretty high energy and things cool off a bit with "Love Bites" leading off the second side into the title track, and we finish strong with "Rocket" and "Gods of War," which make a cool back-to-back combo.

And for the record, I kind of like "Don't Shoot Shotgun," but it's definitely one of the weakest tracks on this record. It's intriguing to think what might have happened if they had written "Tear It Down" earlier in the album process (they recorded the initial version with Steve Clark as a B-side after the album sessions had been completed -- a subsequent re-recorded version, minus Clark, appeared on the Adrenalize album.). If it had been on the Hysteria album, I would have happily swapped it in as the lead track on the second side in place of "Love Bites."

Side One
"Pour Some Sugar On Me (video version)"
"Armageddon It"
"Animal"
"Women"

Side Two
"Love Bites"
"Hysteria"
"Rocket"
"Gods of War"

Leave out: "Love and Affection," "Don't Shoot Shotgun," "Run Riot," "Excitable"

Eduardo Rivadavia: My ideal 45-minute-long ‘Hysteria’ omits three of the same four songs as Gallucci’s: the nonsensical (yes, even more than usual) “Don’t Shoot Shotgun,” totally unexciting “Excitable” and “Run Riot” -- though I’ve always quite like that one because it brought some tempo to an oftentimes languid album. My fourth omission is the insufferable (to me at least) “Love and Affection” – worst song on Hysteria by far, if you ask me. As for my personal new running order, I begin with the rather impractical, slow-starting, but very dramatic “Gods of War” – and because it's the song that sounds most like the preceding Pyromania.

Then we blast through the fun-loving hits (“Animal,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me”), close Side One with one of two ballads (the title cut), and kick off Side Two with the interconnected tandem of “Women” and “Rocket,” which I couldn’t bring myself to separate. All that’s left after that is the second, must-include power ballad, “Love Bites,” and the irrepressibly buoyant “Armageddon It,” which I’ve always loved beyond all reason, and, I believe, ends this pared down Hysteria on a (falsetto) high: leaving Def Leppard fans begging for more.

Side One
“Gods of War”
“Animal”
“Pour Some Sugar on Me”
"Hysteria"

Side Two
“Women”
“Rocket”
“Love Bites”
"Armageddon It"

Leave out: "Love and Affection," "Don't Shoot Shotgun," "Run Riot," "Excitable"

Michael Christopher: I agree that “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” is a bad egg, and would venture “Excitable” is even worse; it’s so cheesy that any of the popular hair metal outfits might’ve hesitated to put it on a B-side. Some of Hysteria did feel as if it wanted to make up for the long gap since the breakthrough Pyromania, so maybe the band thought more would be better – and that’s not always true. That said, the likely most controversial of my moves is to remove “Love Bites” entirely. The year Hysteria came out, there was an overabundance of power ballads, and many of them better. Yes, it was a massive hit, but so was almost every single Def Leppard put out from the album. When it comes to ballads, the title track was much superior, mainly because it was so vague about what the lyrics actually meant. “Hysteria” is also the closing track in my drastically reconfigured running order.

Shaving the record to just under 45 minutes makes it leaner, but some things had to be shifted to make it flow a bit better. The slow building intro to one of Steve Clark’s contributions, “Gods of War,” makes for an interesting beginning before doubling up on radio and MTV hits and ending on the quick moving “Run Riot.” The second side is then more adventurous, with the ‘70s glam ode “Rocket” still fitting nicely alongside “Animal” and then closing out with “Women” and “Hysteria,” which forgoes the original ending track, “Love and Affection,” one of the more difficult cuts to make.

Side One:
"Gods of War"
"Pour Some Sugar on Me"
"Armageddon It"
"Run Riot"

Side Two:
"Rocket"
"Animal"
"Women"
"Hysteria"

Leave out: “Love Bites,” "Don't Shoot Shotgun," "Excitable," "Love and Affection"

Matthew Wilkening: It's unanimous; "Excitable" and "Don't Shoot Shotgun" should be the first songs cut from this album. "Gods of War" is a slightly more painful cut, but it's also a slow-building, nearly seven-minute long epic that doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the album's collection of razor-sharp pop hooks.

"Pour Some Sugar on Me" should be the opening track, and Wardlaw is correct that it should be the video edit and not the album version, largely so we never have to hear that instantly dated "you and me, babe .. hey! hey!" vocal introduction.

"Love and Affection" isn't bad in the slightest, but "Hysteria," "Animal" and "Love Bites" already cover very similar ground so that's out too. As great as all of Hysteria's growth and diversity is, it's also lacking a bit too much of Pyromania's balls-out riffing, so let's keep "Run Riot" and place it along with "Women" and "Armageddon It" on Side Two.

Side One
"Pour Some Sugar on Me" (video version)
"Rocket"
"Animal"
"Love Bites"

Side Two
"Women"
"Armageddon It"
"Run Riot"
"Hysteria"

Leave out: "Gods of War," "Don't Shoot Shotgun," "Love and Affection," "Excitable"

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