This section looks at the 'Photograph' USA single release. The first song to be released from the 'Pyromania' album and their first hit single in America.
"It sounds brilliant on the radio."
Def Leppard released their classic Photograph single 37 years ago on this day in 1983 in the USA.
The Marilyn Monroe-inspired song was the first single to be released from the 'Pyromania' album.
It had already been released on 28th January in the UK.
It was released on 28th February 1983 in North America where it peaked at Number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The first Def Leppard single to reach the main Hot 100 chart.
It also became their first single to reach Number 1 on the US Rock chart.
The single was issued as a radio DJ promo 7" with 'Action! Not Words' as the B-Side and without the UK picture sleeve.
Heavy radio airplay together with the promo video being shown constantly by MTV meant the song would become the band's first major hit single.
Its success helped the album to go Platinum by the time they started their own US headline tour in late April 1983 following a support tour with Billy Squier.
Read some comments on the song by Joe from various interviews.
Photograph - Joe Elliott 2011 Interview Quotes
"It sounds brilliant on the radio. At the time we made Pyromania, we were actually trying to create songs that would sound great on the radio. That was the whole point. By then we had vaulted to another gear. We got the High ’N’ Dry thing out of our system, which was kind of like the homage to AC/DC. Now we were starting to bring in the pop elements. We did them on High ’N’ Dry, but they didn’t get noticed. People picked up on the title track, they picked up on “Let It Go,” and things like “Another Hit And Run.” They didn’t pick up on things like “You Got Me Running” off side two, which is a total pop song-precursor to "Photograph," maybe."
"But when we did “Photograph,” we just knew the way that that riff sounded, and the way that the drums sounded, and the melody, and the lyrical content, we knew that this was what it took to make a hit single. The rest is up to the people whether it’s a hit or not. There’s nothing else we can do. We can advertise it, which is what we did with the video. We can get it to radio and hope that they’ll play it, which they did."
"It took on a life of its own, then, because all of a sudden we’re now in there with your Elton Johns and everybody else who’s established. They’re now peers, if you like, as opposed to heroes. They’re always heroes, but you know what I mean. All of a sudden, we’re on the same playing field and given the same opportunities. We used to go out and buy their albums, Queen, all that kind of stuff. We were there. It’s not that we’d made it, but we were at least now through the door, and it was a different battle that you were going to be fighting, trying to stay in there."
UK Single Advert Quote
"Some like it hot. Some like it heavy. The new Def Leppard single PHOTOGRAPH is both, and their hottest and heaviest yet. 12" available with extra track. Produced and Mixed by Robert John 'Mutt' Lange."
Joe Elliott - February 1983 Interview Quotes
On Marilyn Monroe
"She's always been my dream. I used to stare at a poster of her in a shop for hours."
"Probably in those days I couldn't afford to buy it."
"I've got her film 'Some Like It Hot', and I can watch it over, and over again."
"Marilyn could act dumb, but she'd always win through, she was a great actress."
"And then there's the great mystery that surrounds her death."
"It's still not really known how she died, perhaps it will never be cleared up."
Photograph - Joe Elliott The Guardian August 2018 Interview Quotes
“We always had this inner demon of pop wanting to come out.”
“Rick Savage loved bands like Queen and T Rex; I loved T Rex and Bowie and Sweet and Slade. We were always aiming to do something like that, but we could never really pull it together until Photograph."
"I remember the first time I heard the riff through the studio wall: me and a couple of the crew went - (amazed face) - and when that happens collectively, you know somebody’s hit on something.”
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Leppard's nightly soccer vigils inadvertently had a lot to do with the later success of Photograph.
According to Joe, the song had a great bridge, a good chorus and a limp verse riff. Steve Clark changed that.
"Steve was the only one not interested in the games,' Joe points out. 'He'd sit around with us if England was playing, but he couldn't be bothered if it was Uruguay vs. Argentina."
"One night, we were watching the game when the announcer suddenly got quiet and we heard this loud guitar blasting from the room next door."
"It sounded great, so we got up and ran over to see what was going on. Steve sat there beaming, saying 'I fixed it.'"
"And that was it. Photograph was born."
2004 Best Of Def Leppard Song Quotes
"A leftover from ‘High ‘N’ Dry'. A real Thin Lizzy thing. Mutt suggested we give it another try - a great example of never throwing away an idea because it broke us in the States."
"We were trying to think of a subject. I had a big poster of Marilyn Monroe covering a hole in the wall of the toilet of my Isleworth apartment - and because she was dead it ended up being about the ultimate example of something you can’t possibly have."
"My strongest memory is filming the video in London’s Battersea. Down by the power station."
"It was a radio-friendly song. But the medium of video was just taking off and it really helped us. We were a new, young rock band and some of the older ones, such as Zeppelin and Journey, hadn’t embraced the concept of video straight away."
"To a certain extent it robbed bands of their mystique. But it was perfect for us because we were positioned somewhere between Duran Duran and heavy metal."
Watch all the Pyromania album promo videos on this
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