Craig Allen’s Fun Facts: “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
As it turns out, one of the inspirations for this great '80s song...is the first record that I bought as a kid...
Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott says:"Everything I've ever listened to seeps in," when he is writing music and lyrics.
That includes "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies...also Elliott's first-bought record.
WHO KNEW?!! (insert line about "great minds think alike" HERE.).
And, while Elliott can't identify specifics when it comes to all the song's influences...it was a huge hit for the Saturday morning cartoon band (in reality, studio musicians and singers including Ron Dante), in 1969.
Near the end of this hit, there's a line that Elliott says was a subconscious influence on the future-Def Leppard hit: "pour a little sugar on me, baby."
Further, he states that "Pour Some Sugar On Me" lyrics started out as "phonetic sounds" that matched the song's rhythm...sounds that later became actual words.
Elliott says this happened in the style of T Rex's "Bang A Gong (Get It On)." Words were there...but they didn't have to make any sense. A good "Bang A Gong" example: "a hubcap, a diamond star halo." HUH? Sounds COOL.
More on the lyric writing process in a moment.
"Pour Some Sugar On Me" is clearly about sex.
Elliott says that the song is "the metaphor for whatever sexual preference you enjoy."
But, the lyrics were shrouded in enough "metaphors" to make the song safe for radio and MTV of the 1980s.
Def Leppard was able to find the perfect formula of polished pop lyrics...with just enough "rock swagger" to keep the guys interested. Hence the sex...drums...and rock and roll.
"Pour Some Sugar On Me" is on the "Hysteria" album...the guys were in the recording studio, and producer Mutt Lange kept pushing for more songs. They were working on "Armageddon It," when the band took a break, and Elliott started playing his basic idea for "Pour Some Sugar On Me" on an acoustic guitar, in the control room.
Lange liked the overall sound...he liked the hook, and had the guys record the instrumental track very quickly.
To come up with those well-crafted lyrics that I was alluding to earlier, both Lange and Elliott grabbed tape recorders and just blurted out lyric ideas. Then, they listened to each other's ideas. Now...that's collaboration.
Joe Elliott says that he liked a line that Lange blurted out: "Love is like a bomb."
This line became the basis for the well-crafted lyrics that followed.
Does "Pour Some Sugar On Me" feel a bit...rap-ish (if that's a word) in the way its...sung?
Elliott said that Aerosmith and Run-DMC had just collaborated on "Walk This Way."
"All of a sudden," he says, "rock and rap did mix, so we wrote our own."
And, there you have it.
"Pour Some Sugar On Me" started climbing the Hot 100 chart in the spring of 1988...going all the way to..#2.
It stayed there for 2 weeks. Soooo close to #1...but...no.
In a 2015 radio interview, when asked if he had ever poured sugar on anyone, Joe Elliott replies: "I think we once had a competition backstage to actually, like, pour a pound of sugar over some pour girl's head who had been saturated in hot water. It was written in the contract that it had to be done, no doubt."
"She seemed to enjoy it, from what I can remember."
ONLY in Rock 'N' Roll.