It’s hard to believe that Def Leppard’s song “Photograph” was an (unfinished) leftover track from their High ‘n’ Dry album.
I’m not sure what’s more difficult to imagine: “Photograph” on the High ‘n’ Dry album, or the song not appearing on Pyromania’s tracklisting.
“Photograph” Best Represents Pyromania
Pyromania would not have been a massive success without “Photograph.” The song was the album’s first — and most successful — single, peaking at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In recent years, here’s how Billboard.com described “Photograph”:
“The classic first chords of the No. 12-peaking “Photograph” are the equivalent of revving an engine before a drag race. Between [Joe] Elliott’s mile-high cries and [Phil] Collen utterly owning the solo on the Pyromania track, it’s one of the quintet’s most passionate and best-performed songs.”
That definitely sums it up well and further reiterates why “Photograph” remains as enjoyable today as it did back in 1983.
An immense amount of credit goes to Steve Clark for coming up with the song’s unforgettable guitar riff, and to producer Mutt Lange for coming up with the line “All I’ve got is a photograph” during the song’s creation and putting all the pieces together to create one of Def Leppard’s greatest classics.
And what perfect timing for Phil Collen to join the band around that time as well and contribute his own exceptional guitar solo.
Def Leppard’s “Photograph”: A Whole New Perspective
Speaking of Joe Elliott’s “mile-high cries” and Mutt Lange’s incomparable multi-layered production, it’s fascinating to listen to a version of Def Leppard’s “Photograph” when it primarily focuses on Joe’s vocals, especially when you know what the song ultimately sounds like once all the pieces are put together.
For your enjoyment and amusement, here’s “Photograph” — spotlighting Joe Elliott’s vocals (along with backing tracks) — it’s like you’re hearing the song for the very first time, and it’s a lot of fun:
Listening to this version adds a whole new appreciation to the vocals, the final version of the song, and Mutt Lange’s brilliant overall production.
And in case you’re interested in adding a Def Leppard “Photograph” t-shirt to your wardrobe, it’s available — click on the shirt below to go to its Amazon page:
“Photograph”: Imitated But Never Duplicated
They’re respectable efforts (though some versions are definitely better than others), but the original still reigns supreme.
Decades after its release, Def Leppard’s version still crackles with energy and remains radio-friendly fresh.
DefLeppardReport.com ranks “Photograph” the #1 track on the Pyromania album. Here’s a snippet of what was said about the song:
“Just about as perfect as a Def Leppard power-pop song can get — filled with Steve Clark‘s massive, trademark guitar riffs (and a guitar solo courtesy of newcomer at the time, Phil Collen), soaring hooks, and unforgettable stadium-sized harmonies.”