Pyromania

Def Leppard

1983's Pyromania represented many changes for Def Leppard, most notably the replacement of Pete Willis with Phil Collen on guitar (and thus began the Terror Twins). The album artwork began a run on the circular motif featured on Hysteria and Adrenalize as well. Musically, Pyromania features some of Def Leppard's finest work, from hits like Rock of Ages and Photograph to incendiary rockers like Comin' Under Fire and Stagefright (All Night!).

Pyromania: Def Leppard’s incendiary third studio album

A year after releasing Pyromania, drummer Rick Allen got in the car accident that nearly derailed the band. The man prevailed though, learning how to drum one handed with a series of electronically aided foot pedals.

And Rick Allen’s drums weren’t the only electronic additions to Def Leppard. Pyromania starts to represent a shift in songwriting and sound, adding more synth pads and vocal effects to the mix.

Rating Def Leppard’s Pyromania

I give Pyromania a 9.7510

THIS is how you write an album. Cranked amps, huge riffs, screechy vocals, heavy beats, thumping bass, Pyromania has it all.

The album cover to Def Leppard's Pyromania (1983)
The songs on Pyromania mention fire quite a bit

Def Leppard Pyromania Songs and Track listing

  1. Rock Rock (Till You Drop)
  2. Photograph
  3. Stagefright
  4. Too Late For Love
  5. Die Hard The Hunter
  6. Foolin’
  7. Rock Of Ages
  8. Comin’ Under Fire
  9. Action Not Words
  10. Billy’s Got A Gun

Pyromania notes

Rock Rock (Till You Drop)

Let’s start by saying that the chorus is a perfect rock chorus.

“Rock Rock Till You Drop, Rock Rock Never Stop”

That’s magical songwriting. In fact, singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson belives that Def Leppard isn’t given enough credit for their songwriting, even going so far as covering their songs with his EP, Pyromattia.

Photograph

Just an amazing tune. Steve Clark knew KNEW how to write a riff. Love the pre-chorus cowbell. Def Leppard rules the pre-chorus better than perhaps any band.

YOU’VE GONE STRAIGHT TO MY HEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!

According to “The 1980s” by Bob Batchelor and Scott Stoddart, Photograph, “… sparked a headline tour across the country. Sales for the album surpassed 7 million in America alone.”

The best version of Photograph (non Def Leppard) actually belongs to Kelly Clarkson singing Photograph with Metal Skool (now Steel Panther).

To note, Photograph is the music video debut of Phil Collen.

Surprisingly, Jani Lane of Warrant has a cover of Photograph flying around the internet for Leppardmania, a tribute to the band. The solo just doesn’t live up to the original. Even Lane’s vocals can’t come to matching the splendor that is/was Joe Elliott.

Stagefright

A third track tour de force. Stagefright is everything a rock song should be. It appeals to minor chord and major chord lover alike.

The band is pure fire on Stagefright, really doing the album title justice.

Def Leppard pumps in some crowd noise to stunning effect.

Stagefright is perfectly respectable innuendo about convincing your lady to come over for some … uhh … cribbage. DL was so much better at being classy than their contemporaries. Sure, they were all about babes and booze, but their lyric writing was far more nuanced.

Stragefright! All night!

I feel like this song should be constantly playing at the grave of Steve Clark.

Too Late For Love

Track four (almost) always slows down the album with a love song. Sorry, Babe, Def Leppard is moving on from you with Too Late For Love. The beat drips with darkness. Gosh this tune is majestic.

Four songs in and Pyromania is just crushing it.

Die Hard The Hunter

This track would make John McClane proud. Die Hard The Hunter could have waited to appear on Hysteria, but it’s just too bad ass.

Foolin’

IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE! Foolin’ mixes riffs with aplomb. Huge Hysteria “OH” shining through.

Elegantly simple chorus: F-f-f-Foolin’!

The verse recalls the moodiness of Bringing On The Heartbreak.

Rock Of Ages

A song so massive they named a musical after it (saw it, loved it). and a movie after that (didn’t see it). Everyone knows the intro to Rock Of Ages from the Germanic gibberish that starts it out - Gunter glieben glauten globen. It supposedly means nothing according to the Def Leppard FAQ.

Comin’ Under Fire

Keeping with the Pyromania theme, Comin’ Under Fire nails the Def Leppard sound. Why deviate off course when everything you write hammers hard and shreds massively? Rick Allen is the Thunder God for a reason.

The post solo verse at 2:43 is tough as nails.

Look kids, brunette Joe!

Action Not Words

Has a British AC/DC feel to it and in the best way, dirty. Elliott’s vocals even recall a Brian Johnson timbre.

ACTION! ACTION! ACTION NOT WORDS!

WAY better lyric writing than Extreme’s More Than Words. Hair Metal was about seizing the moment, not subtly wearing down her defenses. Aww hell, ok, it was about both.

Come on, talk to me with your body!

Elliott recalls Stagefright’s starring role theme (for the ladies) and brings it back in Action Not Words. As Chaka Luther King said, “I film this shit, I yell cut and then I get the fuck outta here back to my trailer, because I got more white girls in there than the first lifeboat of the Titanic, and they all want a part in my movie, and I got just the part for ‘em!”

Billy’s Got A Gun

There’s danger in the air! Billy’s Got A Gun could also have appeared on 1987’s Hysteria. Just another bad ass tune. Rik Savage really doesn’t get enough credit.

Love the synth in the pre-chorus. Gang vocals all over this album so no reason to not expect them here.

The solos in Billy’s Got A Gun sound creatively borrowed from David Gilmour. Just saying.

Love the reversed outdo.

Matt Nathanson, 80s Day, and a Def Leppard Pyromania shirt

Matt Nathanson covering Pyromania’s Stagefright and Comin’ Under Fire.

80s Day Loon - Rick Allen of Def Leppard rocking a Pyromania shirt
Huff straight killing it as Rick Allen at Loon Mountain's 80s Day