Def Leppard “Pyromania” – An Old School Flashback To 1983


DEF LEPPARD – I remember this scenario vividly. It was 1983 and I was a junior serving boring time in high school. I was hanging out in study hall in the school’s cafeteria, (the school cafeteria was used as a study hall area after the lunch periods ended). Per usual, I wasn’t studying in “study hall”, instead I always opted to chat long and hard with my Metal buddies about… Heavy Metal. That particular day, I made the announcement to my Metal buddies, Rich and Steve, that I bought the new Def Leppard Pyromania album. This was a telling moment in my teen Metalhead life, this was when I realized that the “battle lines” were drawn for Heavy Metal.

“You like that bubble gum stuff”? I couldn’t believe my ears. Did he really say that? Did Rich just refer to Def Leppard and their new Pyromania album as “bubble gum stuff”? My Metal loyalty, regardless of it being only a few years old, was receiving a verbal open hand slap! Rich shook his head at me in disgust. Steve, on the other hand, was always quite diverse in his music interests. I received a “cool” from Steve along with a nodding approval. (Phew), at least one of my Metal buddies was giving me some encouraging signals.

To sum it up best, Rich was anti-commercial MetalMotörhead, Venom and later that year, Mercyful Fate, were the Metal bands that Rich swore his loyalty to. Who could blame him for being loyal to those iconic bands? From that day forward, I understood there would be “groups” of fans showing their loyalty towards bands they considered “real Metal“. I always listened to whatever band psyched-me-out or moved me and still do to this day. I just remember that rejected feeling, of not getting that sacred Metal mark of “approval” from a fellow Metalhead peer for liking Def Leppard. Fast forward to 2011 and I can give a rat’s ass about receiving anyone else’s approval for the bands I hold Metal allegiance to.

I’ll never forget hearing for the first time, that “big chorus” in Rock Rock (Till You Drop), it was the first song I heard on the radio from Pyromania. Before I bought this album, that song kept me up many nights, as I tried to find it playing on the FM dial. I remember being familiar with just a few songs from the 1981 Def Leppard album High ‘n’ Dry, before I bought Pyromania. Good old FM radio was playing Let It Go, High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night) and Bringin’ on the Heartbreak rather consistently before Pyromania’s release. Due to Pyromania’s affect on me, I bought High ‘n’ Dry next and a year or two later the debut Def Leppard album – On Through The Night. Strange how I bought the first three Def Leppard albums in reverse, isn’t it?

Pyromania was/still is loaded with some amazingly potent Heavy Metal songs that are now deemed (by me anyways) Old School. Honestly, is there one “bad” song on this album? I say there isn’t. The MTV exposure that Def Leppard attained from Pyromania is Rock and Heavy Metal history in and of itself. Let’s face it… just like any Heavy Metal article or book written about the history of MTV should attest is: Def Leppard made, if not, helped build MTV into the music video juggernaut it once was.

My favorite song from Pyromania is Foolin’. Metal be thy name, that is a powerful sound of vintage 80’s Heavy Metal that explodes from Pyromania. I always could appreciate the vocals of Joe Elliot, let’s face it, who really sounded like him back then? Phil Collen and (the late) Steve Clark on guitars were not just cool to listen to, they were both damn cool to watch on all of those Def Leppard videos as well. Rick Allen on drums and Rick Savage on bass made me a believer in their booming beats on Pyromania. Just a classic album all around is Pyromania, from a legendary band, in my Metal opinion.

As for those Old School Metal buddies of mine from 1983, well, I’d bet Rich is now listening to Josh Groban and John Tesh now. Um, I doubt it. Then again, who knows? Towards graduation, Steve was getting into Christian Metal a great deal and was still quite diverse as a Metal fan. I don’t know what happened to these two Metal buddies of long ago… I sure hope they are doing well.

* Pyromania was released on Mercury Records and produced by the legendary Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange.

Track Listing For Pyromania:

Rock Rock (Till You Drop)

Photograph

Stagefright

Too Late For Love

Die Hard the Hunter

Foolin’

Rock of Ages

Comin’ Under Fire

Action! Not Words

Billy’s Got a Gun

LONG LIVE DEF LEPPARD.

Rest In Peace, Steve Clark.

Stone.

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17 Responses to “Def Leppard “Pyromania” – An Old School Flashback To 1983”

  1. Such a classic album, definitely my favorite Def Leppard album and it was the first album form them I listened to. I remember the first song I immediately liked after listening to it completely was Billy’s Got A Gun, that song is so under appreciated, and it is one of the heaviest songs on the album. My top three songs on the album are Stagefright, Billy’s Got A Gun, and Die Hard the Hunter.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      I find “Pyromania” to be such a complete album of songs. Your top three songs are cool, plus they aren’t even the “big hits” from this album either… it goes to show the true “strength” that this Def Leppard album bestows.

      I’ll definitely agree with you that “Billy’s Got A Gun” is under appreciated. I can’t recall it being played very often on FM radio back in the day either.

  2. >It was 1983 and I was a junior serving boring time in high school.

    You were in the eleventh grade?
    I was in seventh grade and my friend had this album…it was the first I heard of Def Leppard. I thought it was a great album…and I still do.

    The best song on it, I think, is “Rock Of Ages“.

    I was in the eleventh grade when their follow-up album, “Hysteria“, was released four years later.

    Hysteria was probably their most popular album…but I was disappointed by it. Pyromania is so much better.

    I did see Def Leppard in concert in Florida in ’87 on their Hysteria tour.
    Their drummer had recently lost his arm in that car accident…but he still played on stage.
    Tesla, who were a new band at the time, were the opening act supporting their debut album.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      I have to admit, “High ‘n’ Dry”, “Pyromania” and “Hysteria” are all incredible albums. “Rock of Ages” is a timeless Heavy Metal anthem. I personally like “Hysteria” just as much as “Pyromania”. I understand your point though, it is very difficult to top this “Pyromania” album’s all-out Heavy vibes. My wife and I had “Pour Some Sugar On Me” as one of our wedding songs. :)

      You saw the “Hysteria” tour! Don’t you think Def Leppard “live” are excellent? I saw that same tour and I remember Tesla playing an all acoustic set too. The “Hysteria” stage was “in the round” at the Hartford Civic Center.

  3. I was in 8th grade when it came out and loved it right away. Although I prefer High -n- Dry by a hair nowadays. I really don’t like much from them afre Pyromania though. Hysteria made me sick…okay it still makes me sick because these guys were so good on the first three albums and then they just became lame.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      “Euphoria” is an album that really impressed the living Metal daylights out of me. Yeah, “Hysteria” went that “love route” and was a leap into bigger commercial territory. I can’t help liking this album. (!) I’ll admit to the world though… and don’t laugh at me… (I know you will)… I get SUPER PSYCHED-OUT by “Animal” anytime I hear it. I hope I never hear it being played at the grocery store… I would probably embarrass myself by getting all giddy. o:

  4. Pretty good album. Too bad it never really caught on commercially. What happened to these guys?

    • metalodyssey Says:

      “Photograph”, “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)” and “Rock of Ages” were videos that MTV played non-stop it seemed back in those early to mid eighties. Seriously, this album was a commercial breakthrough for Def Leppard and put MTV on the map! ;)

      Def Leppard will be touring the U.S. this June through September of 2011 with HEART! :) Plus, the “first ever” Def Leppard “Live” album will be released this Summer: “MIRRORBALL”. I will be buying this live one of Def Leppard!

      * Plus a new book: “Def Leppard: The Definitive Visual History” will be released this June! Whoa… it’s a cool time to be a Def Leppard fan!

      Joe Elliot has his Down ‘n’ Outz band with a great CD “My ReGeneration” to boot. Def Leppard has toured consistently over the years. Def Leppard has toured with Styx, Foreigner, Poison and Cheap Trick over the last few years.

  5. GEEZ, Stone!

    It was just a joke! ;)

  6. DefLepplin Says:

    Hey stone, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and like your “metal” style. About the Leps, I’m with you; i don’t care if some metal “purist” says I’m a sellout or some such crap. My personal fave off of Pyromania is Billy’s Got A Gun. I’ve got video of a live German performance where they play it and man they kick ass! The performance was shortly after the album was released.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you are a “regular” visitor to Metal Odyssey, I appreciate it. ;)
      The more of us Metalheads that gather around for discussion, the Metal merrier! :)

      I’ll agree, “Billy’s Got A Gun” is a hidden Metal gem on this album. I can recall only a few times I heard it on FM back in the day. Plus… that song and this entire album is so relevant in 2011… in my Metal opinion. That video sounds cool…

  7. A legendary Album PERIOD!! Back in the early 80’s anything “Mutt” Lange touched was incredible From AC/DC to Bryan Adams!

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Bryan Adams… the one song from him that makes me stomach sick is: “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”. That song ventures into The Carpenters territory for me… an All-Time “elevator hit song” if you will. Ugh.

  8. Def leppard are great, they are kinda like Bon Jovi but they never did TV commercials in Japan LOL like Bon Jovi

    http://www.japansugoi.com/wordpress/bon-jovi-japanese-tv-commercials/

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