Def Leppard – Pyromania (1983)
Not sure of a dog’s breed? The canine is unceremoniously labeled a mutt.
Not sure who produced a record? Ironically, “Mutt” Lange has perhaps the most distinctive production style in the business.
His is the sound of arena anthems: snare drums that can be heard for miles, harmonies galore, big multi-tracked guitars. For some groups, such gloss would be inappropriate. On Pyromania, it fits nicely.
The opening track drifts through AC/DC territory (also on Mutt’s resume) before the unique Leppard sound is established on Photograph.
I enjoy trying to pinpoint the moment a band/an artist hits its stride. Also in ’83, Sunday Bloody Sunday’s iconic intro and the ‘na na na’ outro from Cuts Like a Knife would be sound-defining turning points that helped shape the next three decades for U2 & Bryan Adams respectively.
Many listening to Pyromania for the first time will do a double take upon hearing the phrase, “Gunter glieben glauchen globen.” Hey isn’t that from Pretty Fly for a White Guy? Well, yes, but originally it’s here kicking off Rock of Ages.
Then again, DL lifted Neil Young’s ‘better to burn out than fade away’ in that song (and they would famously not be the last). A case of Oscar Wilde’s quote, talent borrows, genius steals?
Either way, when it comes to creating fist-pumping 80s anthems that still please the crowds today, DL is rivaled only by Bon Jovi.