Taylor Swift’s career was red hot when she stopped by Nashville’s Acuff Theatre on October 9th, 2008 to tape an episode of CMT Crossroads with Def Leppard. The 18-year-old country star had just released “Love Story” as the lead single from her second album Fearless, which was still a month away from landing on shelves. The single would shoot to Number Four on the Billboard Hot 100 and be inescapable on country and pop radio for months, helping the album go platinum seven times over. She’d spend the next year on her first arena tour.
Def Leppard were about 20 years past their commercial peak, but they continued to pack amphitheaters nearly every summer with their hits-packed show. They released their new album Songs From the Sparkle Lounge in April, but they’d just play a single selection from it, “Love,” and it didn’t even make the broadcast. Instead, they centered their portion of the show around familiar songs like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Photograph,” while Taylor Swift broke out early tunes “Teardrops on My Guitar,” “Picture to Burn” and “Should’ve Said No.” Here’s video of them singing the title track to Hysteria together.
Last year, Def Leppard frontman spoke to Rolling Stone about the experience. “She was born to our music,” he said. “She was born in ’89, and her mom was a huge fan. So she was listening in her mother’s stomach all through ’88. And I just love the fact that doing something like that knocks noses out of joint. People go, ‘Def Leppard and Taylor Swift? What are they thinking?’ Well, that’s exactly what we’re thinking. The Four Tops don’t need to make a single with the Temptations, you know what I mean? Now, the Four Tops doing a single with Motörhead.”