Pyromania (album)

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Pyromania
Def Leppard - Pyromania.jpg
Studio album by
Released20 January 1983 (1983-01-20)
RecordedJanuary–November 1982
Studio
Genre
Length44:57
LabelVertigo (UK and Europe)
Mercury (US)
ProducerRobert John "Mutt" Lange
Def Leppard chronology
High 'n' Dry
(1981)
Pyromania
(1983)
Hysteria
(1987)
Singles from Pyromania
  1. "Photograph"
    Released: January 1983[10]
  2. "Rock of Ages"
    Released: June 1983
  3. "Foolin'"
    Released: August 1983
  4. "Too Late for Love"
    Released: November 1983

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 a more radio-friendly sound, finding massive mainstream success. Pyromania charted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200,[11] No. 4 on the Canadian RPM Album chart and No. 18 on the UK Albums Chart.[12] Selling over ten million copies in the US, it has been certified diamond by the RIAA.[13]

Recording[edit]

The album was partially recorded with original guitarist Pete Willis, whose rhythm guitar tracks appear on all songs. Toward the end of the recording, Willis was fired for alcohol abuse and replaced by guitarist Phil Collen, who contributed solos and guitar parts not yet recorded by Willis.[14] "I had all the fun stuff, none of the heavy lifting…" Collen remembered. "Pete and Steve [Clark] had done these amazing rhythm guitar beds, and it was a joy to whizz around and play solos over the top… Mutt [Lange] was going, 'Just have fun: be a lead guitarist, go nuts."[15] On the original LP release, Willis is visible in the background of the photograph of singer Joe Elliott, while Collen has his own photo as a new full-time member.

The album can be seen as a transitional one between the heavy metal sound of Leppard's first two albums and the radio-friendly direction of later releases.[16] It featured rockers such as "Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)", "Stagefright" and "Die Hard the Hunter" as well as the Top 40 hits "Photograph", "Rock of Ages" and "Foolin'".[17]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[18]
CD Guide to Pop & Rock[19]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[16]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[19]
The Great Rock Discography7/10[19]
MusicHound3.5/5[19]
Rolling Stone[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[19]
Sputnikmusic4.5/5[20]
The Village VoiceC[21]

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.[8] 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."[18] 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."[20]

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".[16]

"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."[22]

With its melodic hooks and heavy MTV exposure, Pyromania became a massive success, and was a major catalyst for the 1980s pop-metal movement.[18] 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.[13] In 1989, it was re-released by audio fidelity company Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs as part of their Ultradisc series.[23]

"Photograph", "Rock of Ages" and "Foolin'" became top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, with "Photograph" peaking at No. 13 and "Rock of Ages" at No. 16.[17] "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 No. 32 and No. 39, respectively. 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 70 km away 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. "Rock of Ages" also charted the highest in the UK at No. 41 compared to No. 66 for "Photograph".[24]

In 2004, the album was ranked No. 384 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[25] In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at No. 35 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[26] In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked Pyromania at No. 17 among the 50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time,[27] and in 2017, the same magazine listed the album at No. 52 on its list of the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.[7]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)"3:52
2."Photograph"
4:12
3."Stagefright"
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Savage
3:46
4."Too Late for Love"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Savage
  • Willis
4:30
5."Die Hard the Hunter"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Savage
6:17
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
6."Foolin'"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
4:32
7."Rock of Ages"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
4:09
8."Comin' Under Fire"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Willis
4:20
9."Action! Not Words"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
3:49
10."Billy's Got a Gun"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Savage
  • Willis
5:56
  • "Comin' Under Fire" and "Action! Not Words" are listed inversely on the original Mercury vinyl release, but play in the order above.
  • The last 56 seconds of track 10 following "Billy's Got a Gun" is a hidden track named "The March of the Wooden Zombies".[28]

2009 deluxe edition bonus disc[edit]

Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Savage
4:16
2."Rock Brigade"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Savage
3:25
3."High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night)"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Savage
3:22
4."Another Hit and Run"
  • Elliott
  • Savage
6:14
5."Billy's Got a Gun"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Savage
  • Willis
4:43
6."Mirror Mirror (Look into My Eyes)"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
4:24
7."Foolin'"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
4:59
8."Photograph"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Savage
  • Willis
4:03
9."Rock of Ages"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Lange
4:53
10."Bringin' On the Heartbreak"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Willis
4:06
11."Switch 625"Clark3:23
12."Let It Go"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
  • Willis
5:56
13."Wasted"
  • Clark
  • Elliott
5:55
14."Stagefright"
  • Elliott
  • Lange
  • Savage
4:55
15."Travelin' Band" (featuring Brian May)John Fogerty6:09

Personnel[edit]

Def Leppard[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Robert John "Mutt" Lange – producer, mixing
  • Nigel Green – mixing (uncredited)[30]
  • Mike Shipleyengineer
  • Brian "Chuck" New – assistant engineer (Battery Studios)
  • Craig "Too Loud for Boys" Thomson – assistant engineer (Park Gate Studios)
  • Bob Ludwigmastering
  • Bernard Gudynas – front cover illustration
  • David Landslide – back cover photograph
  • Satori – album sleeve concept and design

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[41] 7× Platinum 700,000^
France (SNEP)[42] Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] Diamond 10,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Catalog numbers[edit]

  • USA: Mercury Records 810-308-1/2/4
  • USA/JAPAN: Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs UDCD 520 (Mobile Fidelity Ultradisc Reissue)
  • UK: Vertigo Records 6359 119 [LP]/7150 119 [Cassette]/810-308-2 [CD]
  • USA: Mercury Records/Island Records/UMe B0012491-02 (Eco Friendly packaging of Mercury Records 810-308-2)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Def Leppard -Biography, Discography, History". MetalDescent. Archived from the original on 13 January 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2015. Their 1983 album Pyromania helped establish a virtual blueprint for glam metal bands to work with throughout the 80s.
  2. ^ "Top 50 Glam Metal Albums". Metal Rules. Archived from the original on 26 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  3. ^ Eddy, Chuck (July 2008). "Essentials – Hair Metal". Spin. p. 105.
  4. ^ Westhoff, Ben (6 December 2011). "Chuck Klosterman's Favorite Hair Metal Albums". LA Weekly. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  5. ^ "With Pyromania, Def Leppard made a pop-metal hybrid for the ages". Music. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Pop Metal". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b "The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 21 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Fricke, David (31 March 1983). "Pyromania – Def Leppard". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  9. ^ Wall, Mick (2010). Appetite for Destruction: The Mick Wall Interviews. Orion. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-40911-435-2.
  10. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (1995). The Great Rock Discography. p. 212. ISBN 9780862415419.
  11. ^ "Pyromania Billboard Albums". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d "Def Leppard Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  13. ^ a b "RIAA Searchable Database: search for "Def Leppard"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  14. ^ Fricke, David (1987). Animal Instinct: The Def Leppard Story. London, UK: Zomba Books. pp. 75–77. ISBN 0-946391-55-6.
  15. ^ Wall, Mick (May 2018). "A wild ride over stony ground". Classic Rock. No. 248. p. 35.
  16. ^ a b c Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Pyromania Billboard Singles". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  18. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. "Def Leppard – Pyromania review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d e "Pyromania". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  20. ^ a b Boy, Davey (6 January 2009). "Def Leppard – Pyromania". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert (26 July 1983). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  22. ^ Barton, Geoff, Dome, Malcolm, Kendall, Jo, Ling, Dave: "The night I set Phil Lynott's todger on fire and other stories"; Classic Rock #219, February 2016, p55
  23. ^ "Gold CDs". Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Archived from the original on 15 September 2019.
  24. ^ "Steve Clark ••• Top Songs as Writer ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts".
  25. ^ 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Pyromania – Def Leppard Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 November 2011
  26. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  27. ^ "50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  28. ^ Eddy, Chuck (10 August 2011). Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism. Duke University Press. p. 121. ISBN 9780822350101.
  29. ^ Progressive Palaver (30 December 2018). "Special Episode - Interview with Tony Kaye". SoundCloud. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  30. ^ THE STORY OF DEF LEPPARD'S PYROMANIA ALBUM (RELEASED 35 YEARS AGO) "I was really tired and pissed off," Mutt admits. "I was told we had to send those tracks off on the Concorde to New York the next day. So I worked right through the night with Nigel Green, because Mike Shipley had passed out again."
  31. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4327a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  32. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  33. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  34. ^ "Charts.nz – Def Leppard – Pyromania". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  35. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Def Leppard – Pyromania". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  36. ^ "Def Leppard | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  37. ^ "Def Leppard Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  38. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 38, No. 11, May 14 1983". Library and Archives Canada. 14 May 1983. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  39. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 39, No. 1, September 3 1983". Library and Archives Canada. 3 September 1983. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  40. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 39, No. 11, November 12 1983". Library and Archives Canada. 12 November 1983. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  41. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Def Leppard – Pyromania". Music Canada. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  42. ^ "French album certifications – Def Leppard – Pyromania" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 9 September 2021. Select DEF LEPPARD and click OK. 
  43. ^ "British album certifications – Def Leppard – Pyromania". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  44. ^ "American album certifications – Def Leppard – Pyromania". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 28 October 2016.