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Renowned Drummer Loses Arm New Years Eve 1984, Perseveres with Stardom

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Rick Allen courtesy of DefleppardUK.com Rick Allen courtesy of DefleppardUK.com

On New Year’s Eve in 1984 a drummer from a famous rock band was having the time of his life.

Rick Allen of Def Leppard was well regarded as one of the most talented drummers in the world, and the band was just coming of their hit 1983 album Pyromania with famous hits like "Rock of Ages," and "Photograph."

That afternoon though while driving with his girlfriend west of Sheffield in the United Kingdom he lost control of his car trying to pass another car. He was thrown from the car and his left arm was severed. 

Allen was devastated and initially thought he would not continue but with encouragement from the band he did. He described the appearance to teamrock.com

"At first even walking was a trial, but I locked myself away in a room at my parents’ house in Dronfield and just played and played. There were times when I thought I just couldn’t do it and wanted to curl up into a ball and give up. But I persevered."

Allen learned how to play drums with one arm and his left leg and in August of 1986, just 20 months later, he returned to the stage with Def Leppard at the ‘Monsters of Rock’ festival at Castle Donington.

Despite the odds the comeback was successful and Def Leppard went on to release Hysteria in 1987 which is the bands best selling album to date. The album has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. 

He says he does a lot of work with the military to this day because of the trauma after his accident

Check out the return at Castle Donington below.