Pyromania (album)

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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
LabelVertigo (UK and Europe)
Mercury (US)
ProducerRobert John "Mutt" Lange
Def Leppard chronology
High 'n' Dry
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.[7] 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[8] (kept from the top by Michael Jackson's Thriller), No. 4 on the Canadian RPM Album chart and No. 18 on the UK Albums Chart.[9] Selling over ten million copies in the US, it has been certified diamond by the RIAA.[10]


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.[11] 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.

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.[12] 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'".[13]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[14]
CD Guide to Pop & Rock3/5 stars[15]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[12]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[15]
The Great Rock Discography7/10[15]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[15]
The Village VoiceC[18]

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.[16] 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."[14] 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."[17]

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".[12]

"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."[19]

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.[14] 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.[10] In 1989, it was re-released by audio fidelity company Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs as part of their Ultradisc series.[20]

"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.[13] "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.[21] In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at No. 35 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[22] In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked Pyromania at No. 17 among the 50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time,[23] 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[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
1."Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)"Steve Clark, Rick Savage, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Joe Elliott3:52
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
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
  • "Comin' Under Fire" and "Action! Not Words" are listed inversely on the original Mercury vinyl release, but play in the order above.

Deluxe edition bonus disc[edit]

Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
1."Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)"Clark, Savage, Lange, Elliott4:16
2."Rock Brigade"Savage, Clark, Elliott3:25
3."High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night)"Elliott, Clark, Savage3:22
4."Another Hit and Run"Elliott, Savage6:14
5."Billy's Got a Gun"Clark, Savage, Willis, Elliott, Lange4:43
6."Mirror Mirror (Look into My Eyes)"Elliott, Clark4:24
7."Foolin'"Clark, Lange, Elliott4:59
8."Photograph"Clark, Willis, Savage, Lange, Elliott4:03
9."Rock of Ages"Clark, Lange, Elliott4:53
10."Bringin' On the Heartbreak"Elliott, Willis, Clark4:06
11."Switch 625"Clark3:23
12."Let It Go"Elliott, Willis, Clark5:56
13."Wasted"Clark, Elliott5:55
14."Stagefright"Savage, Elliott, Lange4:55
15."Travelin' Band/Rock And Roll (Snippet)" (featuring Brian May)John Fogerty, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham6:09


Def Leppard[edit]

  • Joe Elliott – lead vocals
  • Steve Clark – lead & rhythm guitars, guitar solos (tracks 4-5, & 8-10), backing vocals (except "Rock of Ages"), acoustic guitars on "Die Hard the Hunter" and "Foolin'"
  • Rick Savage – bass guitar, backing vocals, Moog bass synthesizer on "Rock of Ages"
  • Rick Allen – drums, backing vocals
  • Pete Willis – rhythm guitars on all tracks
  • Phil Collen – guitar solos (tracks 1–3, 6, 7 & 10), additional rhythm guitars, backing vocals

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Robert John "Mutt" Lange - backing vocals, spoken word intro on "Rock of Ages"
  • "The Leppardettes" – backing vocals
  • Rocky Newton – backing vocals on "Rock of Ages"
  • Chris Thompson – backing vocals on "Rock of Ages"
  • John KongosFairlight CMI programming
  • Thomas Dolby – keyboards (credited as Booker T. Boffin)
  • Tony Kaye - additional keyboards (uncredited)[24]




Country Organization Year Sales
USA RIAA 2004 Diamond (+ 10,000,000)[10]
Canada CRIA 1991 7x Platinum (+ 700,000)[31]
UK BPI 1985 Silver (+ 60,000)[32]

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]


  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 Media LLC. p. 105.
  4. ^ a b "The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 21 June 2017.
  5. ^ Wall, Mick (2010). Appetite for Destruction: The Mick Wall Interviews. Orion. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-40911-435-2.
  6. ^ a b Senff, Mark. "Def Leppard Online Discography – 7" vinyl". Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Def Leppard Pyromania (Album Anniversary): A Look Back". Def Leppard Report. 20 January 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Pyromania Billboard Albums". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Def Leppard Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "RIAA Searchable Database: search for "Def Leppard"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  11. ^ Fricke, David (1987). Animal Instinct: The Def Leppard Story. London, UK: Zomba Books. pp. 75–77. ISBN 0-946391-55-6.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Pyromania Billboard Singles". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. "Def Leppard – Pyromania review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Pyromania". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  16. ^ a b Fricke, David (31 March 1983). "Pyromania – Def Leppard". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  17. ^ a b Boy, Davey (6 January 2009). "Def Leppard – Pyromania". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (26 July 1983). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^
  21. ^ 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Pyromania – Def Leppard Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 November 2011
  22. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  23. ^ "50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 39, No. 3, September 17 1983". Library and Archives Canada. 17 September 1983. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Def Leppard – Pyromania (Album)". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  27. ^ "Def Leppard – Pyromania (Album)". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  28. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 38, No. 11, May 14 1983". Library and Archives Canada. 14 May 1983. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  29. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 39, No. 1, September 3 1983". Library and Archives Canada. 3 September 1983. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  30. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 39, No. 11, November 12 1983". Library and Archives Canada. 12 November 1983. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  31. ^ "Gold Platinum Search for Def Leppard". Music Canada. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Search for Artist Def Leppard". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 14 September 2015.