guilty pleasure monday: photograph (def leppard)

the one song where i required actual medical attention.

the creme de la creme of hair metal, english band def leppard (intentionally misspelled by the group so as to not seem like a punk band) are still rocking it worldwide, in spite of losing band members as well as band member body parts. (bionic drummer rick allen has been drumming for the band for decades even though he lost his arm in a car crash. perhaps he was meant to be a spinal tap drummer at some point in his life?)

i have particularly happy memories of def leppard from the summer of 1983, when i was about to enter college. as mentioned in an earlier post, i had worked as a day camp counselor (for the whopping sum of $50/week), which left my evenings free to be a somewhat economically-challenged teenager. some nights, when my oldest brother, BTD, had no one interesting to hang with (i always knew i was asked only after every conceivable person did not pan out before me, but what the hell), we’d drive over to the boardwalk and play pinball and drink cheap grape water and sometimes, sometimes, get cheap pizza at the sawmill. with some financial support from my folks, we’d maybe go on one of the wildly unsafe waterslides at night, which was extra cool because i was afraid back then to wear my contacts when i did that. so there i’d be, a few stories up in the air, in the dark, going down a waterslide (where one false slip and you’d end up as road pizza a few hundred feet down) where i could not see. good. times.

but, most of the time, my oldest brother was having a life (and my middle brother larry did not want to be within one mile of my presence because i was that annoying moody 18 year old sister (tonight on ABCFamily!)). so i spent the bulk of the summer with my buddy, simone. simone would drive like a big ass bird (to quote her dad) to toms river, pick me up, and we’d end up pretty much where we’d always end up: the ocean county mall. we’d rock the stores, gossiping about everyone we knew, then finish up at friendly’s (where my freshmen 15 started before i entered college thanks to the reese’s peanut butter cup sundae). many times, we were obliged to bring her younger brother, joel, along for the ride. joel was so cool, we nicknamed him chilly willy. [i’m not certain, but i believe he is now an accountant, a profession which would suit him to a T, considering he was so calm, cool, and collected, even as a young guy. it’s important to be cool when people are crapping themselves after realizing their tax realities.]

i’m pretty sure it was joel’s def leppard tape.

we listened to def leppard’s pyromania c o n s t a n t l y that summer in simone’s dad’s car. it must have been a tape. but what a killer summer soundtrack. foolin’ — what a great song to scream out a window! the videos made no sense, of course (and this was back in the day when we watched videos, boys and girls born after 1980) but the music wailed — and of course, gave us important words to live by, like:

Gunter glieben glauchen globen

you betcha.

anyway, it was a special summer for me, thanks in no small part to simone (and chilly willy’s soundtrack).

fast forward to 1990. i was a newlywed in VA, back in the days before the internet had been invented by al gore. it had been a long while since i had heard pyromania; it wasn’t in my CD collection, so i went sadly without for many years. i was upstairs in our tiny, two-level WWII-era townhouse. suddenly, i heard the opening chords to photograph coming from the TV downstairs. SQUEE! my little bear brain yelped. i ran down the upstairs hall (official olympic length: 5 feet) and proceeded to run down the steps to see the video — because we WATCHED our music back then, you know. only, too bad for me: i was wearing brand new, slippery-soft cotton socks. i slipped and tripped while running down those recently-redone wooden stairs.


i fell on my back and my butt, all the way down the damn staircase. (about 16 stairs, i believe, for those of you keeping track.) i landed, badly banged up, at the landing. lucky for me, i had been hired the month prior at a place that offered me a crappy level of health insurance; i ended up going to a quack who did very little for me. and voila! i started down the road of back pain bliss that i still experience to this day. sweet!

anyway, i love this song. and i will always hope that my first memory of it involves driving in a car and singing at the top of my lungs (which probably didn’t go over well when we were passing by members of the chasidic community in the town where simone lived.) to be sure, BS still looks at me funny whenever photograph comes on the radio in the car.

i think he’s afraid i’ll lose control and smack the car into the nearest pole, ending up with my not-so-glamorous photograph in the paper.

for all the wrong reasons.


4 Responses to “guilty pleasure monday: photograph (def leppard)”

  1. Thank you for posting this. I actually carried a picture of Joe Elliot around in my wallet when this song came out. One of my all time favorites. Did you ever see the Def Leppard movie? One of the funniest rock movies ever. Especially the part where the drummer loses his arm.

  2. oh, i have to find that movie now. of course, my husband may require i be physically restrained while watching it for fear i’ll injure myself again.

  3. What a great story! Pyromania was a love/hate album for me – hated it at first because the videos were going neck and neck with the videos from Journey’s Frontiers album on MTV each week for the #1 slot when they would do the countdown – but then couldn’t help loving it in the end because the songs were so perfectly *summer*! I’m partial to Pour Some Sugar on Me :->

    I saw the band in concert about 4 years ago and it was just delicious fun. They still sound great.

  4. Paul Murphy Says:

    I’m sorry. Are you saying that you broke your back running downstairs to watch Def Leppard? DEF LEPPARD? Do you have some kind of secret hair fetish or what? The East Street Band could kick their asses any day of the week, bionic arm or not. Hell, Dire Straits could beat ’em to death with a vegemite sammich!

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