By Evan Benton, Staff Writer

Let me take you back nearly 30 years to the era of the much underappreciated and misunderstood glam-metal genre.

Its heyday lay between the glitzy, extravagant and unapologetic years of 1981 and 1989, characterized by titans like Great White, Cinderella, Winger, Firehouse and L.A. Guns.

This was a time of rampant androgyny, of tight spandex pants and their essential bulges.

This was the golden age of Mötley Crüe, of Poison, of Warrant, who combined are responsible for truckloads of Jack Daniels passed through their collective veins, crates of cocaine passed through their naval cavities and tens of thousands of groupies just plain passed around.

This was a time of men, a time of giants.

And in terms of popularity, no band was more gigantic than Def Leppard, legendary libertines of the stage and multi-platinum recording artists.

Already a household name and relative icon of the age thanks to 1983’s Pyromania and almost constant MTV coverage, Def Leppard took nearly four years on hiatus before producing their next album.

In 1984 the band had to overcome a debilitating setback that would have ultimately destroyed a lesser group — the loss of drummer Rick Allen’s left arm in a freak car accident on New Year’s Eve.

But the band remained intact and stuck by Allen, rigging up an experimental electronic-acoustic kit with an array of foot pedals that replaced the accents that Allen would have usually used his left arm for. In 1987, after one of the longest album production process in rock music history, Hysteria was released, its name coming from the experience Allen suffered during his ordeal.

Hysteria is one of only a handful of albums that has charted seven singles on the U.S. Top 100 — surprising but completely warranted even with a casual listen to the album. “Women,” an ode to the fans that Def Leppard most loved to satisfy, sets the album in motion, establishing the more pop-oriented sound that became successful due in a large part to the mechanical, beat-driven ethereality of Allen’s electronic drum kit. “Animal,” the title track “Hysteria” and the love-hating power-ballad “Love Bites” are my favorites, with the catchy hooks and radio-friendly sounds that endure to this day.

Upon release, Hysteria immediately reached the top of U.K. and most European music charts, though not becoming the colossal hit it would eventually become in the U.S. until the release of “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” “Sugar,” along with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” is one of the era’s greatest rock anthems.

The popularity of “Sugar” boosted Hysteria to the peak of the U.S. Billboard 200 chart almost a year after its release, and the album today is certified 12-times platinum by the RIAA. This makes Def Leppard the most successful band of its genre.