Pyromania (album)

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Pyromania
Def Leppard - Pyromania.jpg
Studio album by
Released20 January 1983 (1983-01-20)
RecordedJanuary–November 1982
StudioPark Gates Studios, Battle, East Sussex, England; Battery Studios, London
Genre
Length44:57
Label Vertigo (UK and Europe)
Mercury (US)
Producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Def Leppard chronology
High 'n' Dry
(1981)
Pyromania
(1983)
Hysteria
(1987)
Singles from Pyromania
  1. "Photograph"
    Released: 3 February 1983
  2. "Rock of Ages" / "Action! Not Words"
    Released: May 1983 [6]
  3. "Foolin'" / "Comin' Under Fire"
    Released: September 1983 (North America only) [6]
  4. "Too Late for Love" / "Foolin'"
    Released: 25 November 1983 (UK only)

Pyromania is the third studio album by English rock band Def Leppard, released on 20 January 1983 through Vertigo Records in UK and Europe and through Mercury Records in the US. The first album to feature guitarist Phil Collen who replaced founding member Pete Willis, Pyromania was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. The album was a shift away from the band's traditional heavy metal roots toward more radio-friendly glam metal and hard rock, finding massive mainstream success. Pyromania charted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, [7] No. 4 on the Canadian RPM Album chart and No. 18 on the UK Albums Chart [8] selling over ten million copies in the US, thus being certified diamond by the RIAA. [9]

Def Leppard British rock band

Def Leppard are an English rock band formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement. Since 1992, the band has consisted of Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen, and Vivian Campbell. This is the band's longest lasting line-up.

Vertigo Records British record label

Vertigo Records is a record company, which originated in the United Kingdom. It was a subsidiary of the Philips/Phonogram record label, launched in 1969 to specialise in progressive rock and other non-mainstream musical styles. Today it is operated by Universal Music UK.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Contents

Recording

The album was partially recorded with original guitarist Pete Willis, whose rhythm guitar tracks appear on all songs. Toward the end of the recording sessions, Willis was fired for excessive alcohol abuse, and was replaced by guitarist Phil Collen, who contributed a few guitar solos as well as additional guitar parts that had not yet been recorded by Willis. [10] On the original LP release, Willis is visible in the background of the photograph of lead singer Joe Elliott, while Collen is given his own personal photo as the new full-time member of the group.

Peter Andrew Willis is a retired English musician, best known as a founding member of the band Def Leppard. He co-wrote many tracks and played guitar on the band's first three albums: On Through the Night, High 'n' Dry, and Pyromania, which was being recorded at the time of his departure. He was fired from Def Leppard in 1982 and replaced by Phil Collen. In 2019, Willis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Def Leppard.

Phil Collen British musician

Philip Kenneth Collen is an English musician. He is the lead guitarist for the rock band Def Leppard, joining the band in 1982 during the recording of the Pyromania album.

Joe Elliott British singer; lead singer of Def Leppard

Joseph Thomas Elliott, Jr. is an English singer-songwriter, musician and actor, best known as the lead singer of the English rock band Def Leppard. He has also been the lead singer of the David Bowie tribute band the Cybernauts and the Mott the Hoople cover band Down 'n' Outz. He is one of the two original members of Def Leppard and one of the three to perform on every Def Leppard album. Elliott is known for his distinctive and wide ranging raspy singing voice.

The album can also be seen as a transitional one between the heavy metal sound of their first two albums and the beginning of the radio-friendly direction of later releases. [11] The album featured heavy metal rockers such as "Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)", "Stagefright" and "Die Hard the Hunter" as well as Top-40 hits "Photograph", "Rock of Ages" and "Foolin'". [12]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

"Rock! Rock! " is a track by British hard rock band Def Leppard from their 1983 album, Pyromania. An edited version was released as a single in Mexico that same year. The song was originally titled "Medicine Man" and contained different lyrics.

Photograph (Def Leppard song) Def Leppard song

"Photograph" is a song performed by English hard rock band Def Leppard and produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. It is the lead single from the band's third studio album, Pyromania (1983). Their lead vocalist Joe Elliott has described the song as generally about "something you can't ever get your hands on". When released as a single it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart, where it stayed for six weeks, and No. 12 on the Pop Singles chart. In 2006 the song was used in promotional adverts for the DVD release of Blades of Glory. In 2009 it was named the 13th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. It was also listed as the No. 17 greatest song of the past 25 years by VH1.

Reception and legacy

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [13]
CD Guide to Pop & Rock Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [14]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 7/10 [11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [14]
The Great Rock Discography 7/10 [14]
MusicHound 3.5/5 [14]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [14]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 [16]
The Village Voice C [17]

Pyromania has received mostly positive reviews, being commonly considered, along with its follow-up, Hysteria , one of the band's finest efforts to date, and one of "Mutt" Lange's best productions. David Fricke of Rolling Stone praised Leppard for putting "much-needed fire back on the radio", producing sophisticated music "more emotionally charged than most of the synthesized disco that passes for 'modern music'" over the airwaves; adding that the band "may not be highly original, but they mean what they play" and "Lange's artfully busy mix" easily covers up any fault. [15] AllMusic reviewer Steve Huey stated that Pyromania was "where the band's vision coalesced and gelled into something more." He described the songs as "driven by catchy, shiny melodic hooks instead of heavy guitar riffs, although the latter do pop up once in a while", and added that "transcendent hard rock perfection on Pyromania was surprisingly successful; their reach never exceeded their grasp, which makes the album an enduring (and massively influential) classic." [13] Sputnikmusic staff reviewer, equally enthusiastic, thoroughly recommended the album, "filled with tight musicianship, infectious melodies and anthemic choruses" "to pretty much anyone… No matter what their taste in music is." [16]

<i>Hysteria</i> (Def Leppard album) 1987 studio album by Def Leppard

Hysteria is the fourth studio album by English hard rock band Def Leppard, released on 3 August 1987 through Mercury Records and reissued on 1 January 2000. It is Def Leppard's best-selling album to date, selling over 25 million copies worldwide, including 12 million in the US, and spawning seven hit singles. The album charted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart.

David Fricke is a senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine, where he writes predominantly on rock music. His career has spanned over 30 years. In the 1990s, he was the magazine's music editor before stepping down.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and music critic Ralph J. Gleason, which became famous for its coverage of rock music, and for political reporting by authors such as Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine broadened and shifted its focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

In contrast, Canadian journalist Martin Popoff considers Pyromania the beginning of Leppard's "creative degeneration" and criticizes Lange's "painstaking approach to detail" that strips the album "of its sweat and grit", making it sound "phony". [11]

Martin Popoff is a Canadian music journalist, critic and author. He is mainly known for writing about the genre of heavy metal music. The senior editor and co-founder of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, he has additionally written over twenty books that both critically evaluate heavy metal and document its history. He has been called "heavy metal's most widely recognized journalist" by his publisher. Popoff presently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

"I remember meeting Phil Lynott…" recalled Joe Elliott. "We'd delivered Pyromania and, with us sharing a label with Lizzy, he'd heard it. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'I heard your album – it's the reason I've split the band. I can't compete with that.' The crappiest backhand compliment I've ever had. I wish I had been brave enough to shove him up against the wall and say, 'Well, make a better album then!' But I just said, 'Oh,' and scuttled off." [18]

Phil Lynott Irish singer-songwriter and musician, founding member of Thin Lizzy

Philip Parris Lynott was an Irish musician and songwriter. His most commercially successful group was Thin Lizzy, of which he was a founder member, the principal songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist. He was known for his distinctive plectrum-based style on the bass, and for his imaginative lyrical contributions including working class tales and numerous characters drawn from personal influences and Celtic culture.

Thin Lizzy Irish rock band

Thin Lizzy are a hard rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. Two of the founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist and lead vocalist Phil Lynott, met while still in school. Lynott led the group throughout their recording career of twelve studio albums, writing most of the material. The singles "Whiskey in the Jar", "Jailbreak", and "The Boys Are Back in Town" were major international hits. After Lynott's death in 1986, various incarnations of the band emerged over the years based initially around guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes, though Sykes left the band in 2009. Gorham later continued with a new line-up including Downey.

With its melodic hooks and heavy MTV exposure, Pyromania became a massive success, and was a major catalyst for the 1980s melodic hard rock movement. [13] The album sold six million copies in the US in its original release (about 100,000 copies per week for much of the year). It has since sold over ten million there and been certified diamond. [9] In 1989, it was re-released by audio fidelity company Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs as part of their Ultradisc series. [19]

"Photograph", "Rock of Ages" and "Foolin'" became top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, with the first two reaching the top 20. [12] "Photograph" (6 weeks) and "Rock of Ages" (1 week) both topped the Billboard Top Rock Tracks while "Foolin'" and "Too Late for Love" made the Top 10. "Comin' Under Fire", "Billy's Got a Gun" and "Action! Not Words" made the top 40 of the Top Rock Tracks chart.

In Canada, "Rock of Ages" charted highest at No. 24, while "Photograph" and "Foolin'" reached 32 and 39, respectively. The hard rock nature of the songs resulted in some Top 40 radio stations choosing to play only one or two of the singles, rather than all three. At CHUM-AM in Toronto, one of Canada's largest audience Top 40 stations at the time, "Rock of Ages" never reached its Top 30 countdown; whereas down the highway in Hamilton, at the CKOC-AM Top 40 radio station, it peaked at no.2. It also topped the chart at many album-oriented rock stations such as Q107 in Toronto.

In 2004, the album was ranked No. 384 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. [20] In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at No. 35 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s". [21] In 2015 Rolling Stone ranked Pyromania at No. 17 among the 50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time, [22] and in 2017, the same magazine listed the album at No. 52 on its list of the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time. [4]

Track listing

Original release

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)" Steve Clark, Rick Savage, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Joe Elliott 3:52
2."Photograph"Clark, Pete Willis, Savage, Lange, Elliott4:12
3."Stagefright"Savage, Elliott, Lange3:46
4."Too Late for Love"Clark, Lange, Willis, Savage, Elliott4:30
5."Die Hard the Hunter"Lange, Clark, Savage, Elliott6:17
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
6."Foolin'"Clark, Lange, Elliott4:32
7."Rock of Ages"Clark, Lange, Elliott4:09
8."Comin' Under Fire"Lange, Clark, Willis, Elliott4:20
9."Action! Not Words"Lange, Clark, Elliott3:49
10."Billy's Got a Gun"Clark, Savage, Willis, Elliott, Lange5:56

Deluxe edition bonus disc

Personnel

Def Leppard

Additional musicians

Production

Charts

Certifications

CountryOrganizationYearSales
USA RIAA 200410x Platinum (+ 10,000,000) [9]
Canada CRIA 19917x Platinum (+ 700,000) [30]
UK BPI 1985Silver (+ 60,000) [31]

Catalog numbers

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>High n Dry</i> 1981 studio album by Def Leppard

High 'n' Dry is the second studio album by the English rock band Def Leppard, released on July 1981. High 'n' Dry was Pete Willis' last full-time album with Def Leppard. It charted at No. 38 on the Billboard 200 and No. 26 on the UK Albums Chart. "High 'n' Dry ", ranked No. 33 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs. Following the success of Pyromania, the album re-entered in the US chart and reached No. 72 in 1983.

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