On this day in music history: October 8, 1988 – “Love Bites” by Def Leppard hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, Phil Collen, Rick Savage and Robert John “Mutt” Lange, it is the biggest hit for the hard rock band from Sheffield, UK. Known for classic and memorable singles like “Bringing On The Heartbreak”, “Photograph”, “Rock Of Ages” and “Foolin’”, surprisingly none of them had reached the top ten on the US pop charts. Def Leppard would have to wait until March of 1988, when the title track of their fourth album “Hysteria” peaks at #10. The follow up “Pour Some Sugar On Me” released in April is an even bigger hit. However, the record has to settle for the runner up spot on the chart, peaking at #2 in July. “Sugar” is unable to move past Richard Marx’s ballad “Hold On To The Nights”, then Steve Winwood leaps over Def Leppard to claim the number one spot with “Roll With It”. While recording the “Hysteria” album, the band’s producer “Mutt” Lange brings them a song with a “country ballad” feel. Unlike anything that Def Leppard had done before, the band re-tool the song, adding more rock elements to it. Re-crafting it into a rock power ballad and re-writing the lyrics, the song is given the title “Love Bites” which had been the title of another song that is re-titled “I Wanna Be Your Hero”. Issued as the follow up to “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Bites” quickly becomes another smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #52 on August 13, 1988, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. Having finally reached the top of the pop singles chart in the US, “Love Bites” helps propel “Hysteria” back to number one of the Top 200 album chart, for an additional four weeks (non-consecutive). The back to back success of “Sugar” and “Bites” are responsible for nearly tripling the sales of the album to over nine million in the US alone by the beginning of 1989.
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