Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Def Leppard
Album : Pyromania
Released : January 20, 1983
M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (One Of The Holy Grails Of Hard Rock Music.)
January 20, 1983. Thirty Four years ago today, one of the greatest and most important records of the early 1980s was released. Just as the original “British Invasion” took place on this very same date in 1964, a new one took place over 19 years later. Def Leppard released an album that would introduce what was becoming very popular in England to the masses in America. Even though at the time they were considered part of the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” they weren’t a metal band. As a matter of fact, most people in England thought they were an American band, because they broke big in the States first. But the release of their album “Pyromania” would open the door in America for other great British bands like Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest to gain a large following.
When the band started working on their third album they had to deal with heartache and drama from the very start. (Which sadly has become a theme with many Def Leppard Albums). Their founding guitar player Pete Willis had become a disfuntional alcoholic. He could no longer function in the studio, so during the sessions the band decided to replace him with Phil Collen. Also there were problems with Lead Singer Joe Elliott and their legendary producer Robert “Mutt” Lange. Joe felt that Mutt was pushing his vocal range too hard, especially on the song “Rock Rock Till You Drop”. Joe became so frustrated that he quit the band and left the studio. Later in the evening Mutt called Joe and said ” if you just wanna be an average singer go ahead and stay away, but if you wanna become a great singer like a Robert Plant or Freddie Mercury be back tomorrow and song it my way”. That was all of the motivation Joe needed to return.
Mutt was a perfectionist in the studio and pushed the band to do hundreds of takes of each song until he was happy with it . This gave the album a strong sense of melody which had been missing from many rock albums at the time. It also meant that the music would be perfect for what MTV was becoming. After months and months in the studio the album was released to strong sales in America, but took awhile to get off the ground in England. For anyone who grew up in the early 1980s knows the importance and influence of what this album became.
34 years later it is now considered a Hard Rock Masterpiece. It inspired for better or worse what would become the “Hair Metal” genre in the mid to late 1980s. It’s also an excellent lesson of brotherhood, of which the band had proven more than anything that they take care of their inner circle. Even though he was fired, they still took care of Pete Willis paying him a full band royalty rate, which made him a wealthy man. Many other bands would never do that. For many of us who were fans of Def Leppard in the late 1980s we knew there was a chance that this easily could’ve been the last album from them. Especially after drummer Rick Allen lost his arm. (Another example of their brotherhood). Thankfully it wasn’t their last record, but they would never again rock this hard on an album. This record sounds as fresh today as it did 34 years ago. A testament to what great music is.
1 Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop) 3:52
2 Photograph 4:12
3 Stagefright 3:46
4 Too Late for Love 4:30
5 Die Hard the Hunter 6:17
1 Foolin’ 4:32
2 Rock of Ages 4:09
3 Comin’ Under Fire 4:20
4 Action! Not Words 3:49
5 Billy’s Got a Gun 5:56