Thursday, January 20, 1983

Def Leppard Pyromania released


Def Leppard

Released: January 20 1983

Peak: 2 US, 18 UK, 4 CN, 70 AU

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 0.06 UK, 14.9 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: heavy metal/hair band


Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Rock Rock ‘Til You Drop [3:52]
  2. Photograph [4:12] (2/3/83, 12 US, 13 CB, 16 RR, 1 AR, 66 UK, 32 CN)
  3. Stagefright [3:46]
  4. Too Late for Love [4:30] (5/21/83, 9 AR, 86 UK)
  5. Die Hard the Hunter [6:17]
  6. Foolin’ [4:32] (7/9/83, 28 US, 27 CB, 29 RR, 9 AR, 39 CN)
  7. Rock of Ages [4:09] (4/23/83, 16 US, 19 CB, 20 RR, 1 AR, 41 UK, 24 CN, 96 AU)
  8. Comin’ Under Fire [4:20]
  9. Action! Not Words [3:49] (10/15/83 42 AR)
  10. Billy’s Got a Gun [5:56] (10/15/83, 33 AR)

Total Running Time: 44:57

The Players:

  • Joe Elliott (vocals)
  • Steve Clark (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Phil Collen (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Rick Savage (bass, backing vocals)
  • Rick Allen (drums, backing vocals)
  • Pete Willis (rhythm guitar)


4.318 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Def Leppard’s rock sensibilities shot them right to the top of the charts in the ‘80s. On their third album, Pyromania, the band reconciled new wave melodicism with heavy metal and catchy hooks without compromising any of its edge.” SG “While Def Leppard had obviously wanted to write big-sounding anthems on their previous records, Pyromania was where the band’s vision coalesced and gelled into something more. More than ever before, the band’s songs on Pyromania are driven by catchy, shiny melodic hooks instead of heavy guitar riffs, although the latter do pop up once in a while.” SH

“But it wasn’t just this newly intensified focus on melody and consistent songwriting…that made Pyromania a massive success – and the catalyst for the ‘80s pop-metal movement.” SH “Guitarists Phil Collen and Steve Clarke may have provided all the pyrotechnics on Pyromania, but the focal point of Def Leppard’s sound, particularly for their teenage female fans, was singer Joe Elliott’s voice (and, of course, his hair).” SG

In addition, “heavy rotation on MTV” SG played a big part, “but even without their ubiquitous television presence, anthems like Rock of Ages and Foolin’ still had the stuff that drove the kids crazy. Bursts of screaming guitars and simple power riffs joined forces with choruses that begged to be shouted along to.” SG

Finally, “Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange's buffed-to-a-sheen production – polished drum and guitar sounds, multi-tracked layers of vocal harmonies, a general sanding of any and all musical rough edges, and a perfectionistic attention to detail – set the style for much of the melodic hard rock that followed. It wasn’t a raw or spontaneous sound, but the performances were still energetic and committed.” SH

“Leppard’s quest for huge, transcendent hard rock perfection on Pyromania was surprisingly successful; their reach never exceeded their grasp, which makes the album an enduring (and massively influential) classic” SH and “an essential brick in the foundation of ‘80s metal.” SG

Notes: A 2009 deluxe edition added a second disc of live material recorded 9/11/1983 at the L.A. Forum.

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First posted 3/28/2011; last updated 6/7/2022.

Saturday, January 15, 1983

Alan Parsons Project charted with “Old and Wise”

Old and Wise

Alan Parsons Project

Writer(s): Alan Parsons, Eric Wooflson (see lyrics here)

First Charted: January 15, 1983

Peak: 21 AC, 74 UK, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 9.8 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Alan Parsons started out as an engineer, working on such classic albums as the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. In 1976, he formed the Alan Parsons Project. While the collective featured a rotating roster of musicians, singer/songwriter Eric Wooflson appeared on all ten of the group’s albums from 1976 to 1987.

The group found its greatest success with 1982’s Eye in the Sky, a top ten album in the U.S. which featured the #3 title track. “Old and Wise” was also released from the album. It didn’t fare nearly as well, but it did mark the Project’s first UK chart entry and was a minor hit on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart.

Parsons and Woolfson co-wrote the song “about a man approaching death, addressing those he knew with fond remembrance.” SF They recorded a version with Woolfson singing lead – as he often did on songs by the Project – without the orchestration or saxophone solo which was featured on the final album version. Woolfson’s vocal version is, however, featured on the 2007 reissue of the Eye in the Sky album. WK

For the version initially released, however, the Project used a vocal by Colin Blunstone. Parsons knew him from his days in the Zombies when Parsons was an engineer on the group’s 1968 Odessey and Oracle album. SF Blunstone had worked with the Project before, having sung “The Eagle Will Rise Again” on the group’s 1978 Pyramid album.

Woolfson and Blunstone were both at Abbey Road studios and Woolfson told him, “I’d like to play you this song.” SF Eric sat down at a piano in the same studio where the Zombies had recorded “Time of the Season” and played “Old and Wise.” Blunstone thought it was wonderful and Woolfson asked if he’d take a stab at the vocals. SF Blunstone would record other songs with the Project, but this was the only single released by them which featured Blunstone on vocals. WK


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First posted 12/24/2019; last updated 12/28/2022.

Men at Work hit #1 on the Hot 100 with “Down Under”

Down Under

Men at Work

Writer(s): Colin Hay, Ron Strykert (see lyrics here)

Released: October 23, 1981

Peak: 14 BB, 15 CB, 14 GR, 15 RR, 13 AC, 15 AR, 1 CO, 13 UK, 13 CN, 16 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 1.2 UK, 3.68 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 500.33 video, 788.53 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The first version of this Australian classic was released in 1980 as the B-side to “Keypunch Operator.” After Men at Work signed with Columbia Records, they re-recorded “Down Under” with a different arrangement and tempo. It was released in Australia in late ’81 and reached the top of the charts. It would be another year before it charted in the U.S. After “Who Can It Be Now?” hit #1 in America, “Down Under” was released as the follow-up and hit the Billboard Hot 100 on November 6, 1982. It topped the charts in January 1983 and helped propel the album to the top of the U.S. charts for 15 weeks. The song also reached the pinnacle in the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland. WK

The song’s lyrics focus on a man who travels the world meeting people curious about his home country of Australia. Colin Hay was inspired by his own experiences as well as Australian entertainer Barry Humphries, who created a “larger-than-life character” SF who “was a beer-swilling Australian who traveled to England.” SF References include Vegemite sandwich (a popular Australian snack), a “fried-out Kombi” (an overheated Volkswagen), and “head full of zombie” (marijuana use), and “chunder” (Aussie slang for vomit). The song and its quirky video were practically a parody, but Hay said “it is ultimately about celebrating the country, but not in a nationalistic way and not in a flag-waving sense.” SF

Hay explained that Ron Strykert created the bass riff with percussion played on bottles filled with varying degrees of water, which would produce different notes. He said “it had a real trance-like quality to it. I used to listen to it in the car all the time. When I was driving along one day..the chords popped out and a couple of days later I wrote the verses.” SF

The band were sued in 2009 for copyright infringement. Larrikin Music claimed the flute solo in the song was based on the 1932 song “Kookaburra” written by Marion Sinclair. In 2010, it was ruled that Larrikin would receive 5% of royalties from 2002, WK which ended up being about $100,000. However, legal fees added up to about $4.5 million. SF

In 2001, the Australian Performing Rights Association named “Down Under” the fourth best Australian song in history. RC


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First posted 10/20/2020; last updated 9/25/2022.

Saturday, January 1, 1983

U2 “New Year’s Day” released

New Year’s Day


Writer(s): U2 (see lyrics here)

Released: January 1, 1983

First Charted: January 22, 1983

Peak: 53 US, 50 CB, 2 AR, 1 CO, 10 UK, 41 CN, 36 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 56.21 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

U2 formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1976. They built a loyal following at college rock radio with their first two albums, 1980’s Boy and 1981’s October. Their third release, War proved to be a breakthrough, reaching #12 in the United States and eventually selling more than 11 million copies worldwide.

The album’s lead single, “New Year’s Day,” became a favorte at MTV. It was filmed in the dead of the Swedish winter. As such, the band only appears in the performance scenes of the video. They were too cold WK and weren’t experienced enough riders SF to do the horseback riding scenes so four Swedish teenage girls were disguised as the band with masks over their faces. There is also footage of Soviet troops advancing in winter during World War II. WK

The song soared all the way to #2 on the Billboard album rock track. It was also the group’s first top-10 hit in the UK and first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Cash Box called it an “AOR-slanted single by a thinking man’s rock ‘n’ roll band.” WK The band’s lead singer, Bono, said, “I don’t think ‘New Year’s Day’ was a pop single, certainly not in the way that [record producer] Mickie Most might define a pop single as something that lasts three minutes and three weeks in the chart. I don’t think we could have writte that kind of song.” WK

Lyrically, the song started as a love song by Bono for his wife, but it evolved into a commentary on the Polish Solidarity movement. WK Poland announced they would abolish martial law after this song was recorded; coincidentally the announcement came on New Year’s Day, 1983. SF The song’s distinct bassline was the result of Adam Clayton trying to figure out the chords for the song “Fade to Grey” by Visage. WK


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First posted 10/1/2022.