The hair band/pop-metal musical time period in the 1980s saw many bands come and go, but few reached the heights that Def Leppard achieved in their prime. Arguably their biggest and best album was their 3rd studio record, Pyromania, released on January 20, 1983. Although the album never hit #1 in the US, it stayed on the Billboard 200 for 92 weeks, and sold over ten million copies in the US (thus being certified diamond). It was ranked #384 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Let's take a closer look at this massively influential record.
The albums starts with "Rock! Rock! (Til You Drop)" and immediately the comparisons to AC/DC are understandable (thank you Mutt Lange). Joe Elliott screams his best Brian Johnson and the background vocals by the Leppardettes during the chorus are a great touch. Whether it was written about Marilyn Monroe or not, "Photograph" still was a massive hit, hitting #1 on the Billboard charts. It was named the 13th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. The shortest song on the record is "Stagefright," which also uses the same AC/DC techniques as the opener, to equal effectiveness. Hitting #9 on the mainstream rock charts, the ballad "Too Late for Love" was the last single off the record and although it is impressive at times, it doesn't quite match up to the band's previous ballad "Bringing On The Heartbreak."
The longest song on the album is "Die Hard the Hunter," whose sound is obviously influenced by Led Zeppelin. The lyrics are the band's deepest, talking about soldiers returning home from war and trying to acclimate to daily life. Side Two opens with another big hit "Foolin'" which hit #9 on the Mainstream Rock charts and shows off an excellent screaming guitar solo. Opening with nonsense German, "Rock of Ages" has one of the best opening verses ever, another great guitar solo, and a sound soon to be duplicated on the classic "Pour Some Sugar On Me."
Three very underrated songs finish off the album: "Comin' Under Fire" has quite the catchy chorus, "Action! Not Words" is often overlooked thanks to its position near the end of the record, and "Billy's Got A Gun" finishes things off with a tune that includes synthesizers to add to the production and an extra verse sung by the Leppardettes.