50 Rock Albums Every Country Fan Should Own

From the 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' to the Kings of Leon, 50 LPs that rock the jukebox

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Def Leppard, 'Hysteria' (1987)
Def Leppard, 'Hysteria' (1987)41/50

Def Leppard, 'Hysteria' (1987)

Let's start with half-man, half-amazing super-producer Mutt Lange, who made this 20-million-plus-selling pop-metal behemoth sound like 12 different summer blockbusters playing in 12 different IMAX theaters simultaneously. Title track aside, maybe, there wasn't a ton of Nashville in this thing, but every hard-rocking country dude who name-checks Guns N' Roses or AC/DC comes closer in practice to evoking Hysteria, with its echoing drum sound, bubblegum melodies and ungodly huge choruses. Taylor Swift famously tapped Def Lep for her CMT Crossroads episode, but the only current star capable of making such a racket — or, more to the point, the only star with a voice powerful enough to withstand it — is Carrie Underwood. Still, this album's populist bombast electrified everyone, and at least one current country A-lister likely lost his or her virginity to "Love Bites." R.H.

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