Great Metal Albums of 1983: Def Leppard- Pyromania

220px-def_leppard_-_pyromania

Here’s the album that was said to have gone multi-platinum in the US while only selling 17 copies in the UK, “Pyromaina” by Def Leppard. At first, I might have been inclined to believe that. When I went to the UK for four weeks in the summer of 1983, many English people I spoke to could only say they had heard of the band and some couldn’t even say that. Furthermore, none of their singles made the Top 40 in the UK charts so wouldn’t have gotten a mention on Top of the Pops. However, thanks to a tiny bit of research, I do know that “Pyromania” did get to 18 in the UK album charts.

Lots of exposure on MTV helped get Def Leppard the notice they deserved from American audiences. The videos to the first two singles “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph” were really cool. In fact, the latter retained the all time MTV Friday Night Video Fight Championship for well over a year. Does anyone remember the Friday Night Video Fights? That’s for another time I guess. Video aside, “Photograph” is my all time second Def Leppard song, (number one hadn’t appeared by this time.) It’s just a great song in so many ways: the power chords, the harmonizing at the chorus and the guitar solo making a great concoction of a killer tune.

While released as singles, “Foolin'” and “Too Late For Love” didn’t achieve the chart status as the other two but they are also brilliant songs. I was gutted when I saw Def Leppard in 1986 and they didn’t play “Foolin.'” Like the Iron Maiden album I reviewed in the last post, the rest of “Pyromania” isn’t filler. “Rock, Rock til You Drop” is as good an opener as any. I also have a very warm spot for “Die Hard the Hunter” and think it could have been released as a fifth single. Love the guitar solo on it. With all this, it is no wonder why many people on both sides of the Atlantic considered “Pyromania” the album of 1983.

In spite of all the success the album has enjoyed, Def Leppard did have some challenges while recording it. During the recording, the rest of the band decided they had enough of guitarist Pete Willis’s alcohol problems and fired him. While Willis recorded all the rhythm guitar tracks on the album, Phil Collen was brought in to replace him and he recorded all the solos on the songs Willis was supposed to. Listening to the efforts on this album, I have to ask if we should include the guitar duo of Clark and Collen along with the greats of Tipton and Downing, Hanneman and King, Watson and Gillis to name a few.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock Rock Til You Drop
  2. Photograph
  3. Stagefright
  4. Too Late for Love
  5. Die Hard the Hunter
  6. Foolin’
  7. Rock of Ages
  8. Comin’ Under Fire
  9. Action! Not Words
  10. Billy’s Got a Gun

defl

Joe Elliot- lead vocals

Steve Clark- guitar

Phil Collen- guitar

Rick Savage- bass

Rick Allen- drums

Pete Willis- rhythm guitar

On amusing story I heard that when Def Leppard supported Billy Squier on tour in the States in 1983, many people left after Def Leppard’s set, leaving Billy Squier to play to a half empty arena. I’m not sure if this is true or not.  My sister saw them both, maybe she can shed some light on it. What I do know that “Pyromania” put Def Leppard on the world music stage in this year and rightly so.

Next post: Rainbow- Bent Out of Shape

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

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27 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1983: Def Leppard- Pyromania”

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised about the Squier story. I never heard it before, but it doesn’t strike me as impossible.

    Great writeup here, I can’t add anything. This is one of the best albums of the decade. I had it on vinyl, then tape, then CD and finally remastered deluxe CD. I think Too Late For Love was and is my favourite tune.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agreed. Great album. I have it on vinyl. Had it on cassette and CD as well a Gold CD that I sold for a nice profit years ago. The Billy Squier story is somewhat true. From what I remember is that everyone thought DL was just way better than Squier. I am sure some people left though. I so wanted to go the show, but wasn’t driving yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, you must have really liked this album and even better that you got to turn a tidy little profit out of it. Def Leppard was probably better than Squier on the tour but I would have stayed and seen Billy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read that about Squier as well….who knows though I would have stayed man!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh man… must have sucked for Billy Squier! This is just one of those perfect albums. Every track is great.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I just heard from my sister who went to a Squier/Leppard concert. She said that some people did bail after DL but it was in no way a mass exodus.

    Like

  6. I know Photograph from this one, but that’s about it. I keep saying it, but I really need to delve into the Def Leopard stuff I have given the love this community has for them.

    I like that Squier tale. Regardless of how accurate it is, it must suck to know your support act was so good it made it impossible to make any sort of impression after that.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Perfect pop rock, ’nuff said.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh man. Oh man. Total classic.

    I had this one on cassette, as a kid. Played it tons.Interestingly, it’s also where I got off the DL bus. Never bought Hysteria. Go figure.

    Great post. Well done! \m/ \m/

    Liked by 1 person

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