Def Leppard Pyromania turns 40 on January 20, 2023. I think I can offer a perspective on the album that few others can.
January 20, 1983. I was six years old, about to turn seven. To this point in my life, my exposure to rock music had come from three sources: my parent’s record collection, the radio, and MTV. If you were a kid in the ’80s like me, or even a teen, you can relate. Aside from having a cool older sibling or cousin or friend, that’s how you got your rock back then.
Luckily, my parent’s record collection was deep. Beatles, Stones, Kinks, all the usual suspects you’d expect to find on the shelves of folks who graduated high school in the early ’70s. And the radio? We had WBCN in its heyday in the early ’80s. The rock station in Boston. I’d like to go back in time and tell my six-year-old self that I’d grow up and end up working there someday. I’d like to tell my young parents that, too!
MTV was only a couple of years old at the time, and that was where I first heard–and saw–Def Leppard. Pyromania‘s lead single, “Photograph,” was an MTV staple in early ’83. I can still see the opening 10 seconds of the music video in my mind’s eye. A chalk outline on the street, surrounding a pool of blood. A shiny stiletto dagger being thrown to stick out of a table, in time with the beat of the snare. A sultry poster of Marilyn Monroe. My little brain was on fire and the band hadn’t even been brought on the screen yet.
Def Leppard ‘Pyromania’ Turns 40
Had I been ten years older, Def Leppard’s third album might have been the soundtrack to my teen years. But I was only six. I don’t remember asking for the album for Christmas that year, but I certainly remember getting it. Maybe it was the way my parents saw me transfixed by the videos for “Photograph” and the other singles. No matter: soon enough, I had Pyromania on vinyl. Years later, I’d have Hysteria on cassette. And to this day, I still love Def Leppard.
Let’s go back in time to the early ’80s and watch those videos again and celebrate 40 years of Pyromania.