Def Leppard: Pyromania Deluxe Edition

RIYL: Mutt Lange, cowbell, yelling “Oootdug gleeten glouten globen”

We’re admittedly late with this one (this was released in June), but better late than never when discussing the only album that came remotely close to challenging Thriller on the album charts in the early ’80s. Joe Elliott may make fun of Nick Rhodes for playing keyboards with only two fingers on those VH-1 “I Love the ’80s” shows, but as great as Pyromania is, it was Def Leppard’s ability to appeal to the fairer sex – a rarity for metal acts – that launched them into the stratosphere, and much like Rhodes and his mates in Duran Duran, Def Leppard’s music videos went a long way towards making that happen. (Come on, look at those pictures again of Joe Elliott in the sleeveless Union Jack shirt and his perfect hair. Dude’s the world’s first metrosexual.) Guys loved Def Leppard too because, let’s face it, they kicked ass. It was polished, obsessively overproduced ass, but ass just the same. There isn’t a band alive that wouldn’t claim “Photograph,” “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin'” for themselves. The album tracks, namely “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop),” “Stagefright” and “Too Late for Love,” were just as good.

What makes this deluxe edition of Pyromania a must-have, though, is the bonus disc. We normally dismiss the inclusion of live tracks on any expanded edition as filler, but the live performance here, recorded at the L.A. Forum in 1983, is smoking hot. The band is firing on all cylinders, and the set list is bulletproof. Along with the best moments from Pyromania, the band rips through “Wasted,” “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak,” “Let It Go,” “High and Dry (Saturday Night),” and they even bring out Brian May to play with them on, of all things, John Fogerty’s “Travelin’ Band,” with a verse of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock & Roll” thrown in for good measure. Rock, rock till you drop, indeed. (Mercury 2009)

Def Leppard MySpace page
Click to buy Pyromania from Amazon


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