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Anniversary of Def Leppard's Rick Allen's One Armed Debut

08/20/2010
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Gibson takes us back in time today on a notable anniversary in the history of Def Leppard: On August 20, 1986, Def Leppard's drummer, Rick Allen, made his first major concert appearance with the band after losing an arm in a car accident. His comeback occurred in front of a massive crowd at the Monsters of Rock Festival, at Castle Donington, England.

Def Leppard, a young rock band from Sheffield, England, were enjoying their first flushes of success, and it had all come very quickly for the Yorkshire band. Allen had celebrated his 16th birthday with a sell out gig at London's Hammersmith Odeon. Their 1983 Pyromania album had gone through the roof, establishing them as international rock stars and very wealthy young men.

But on New Year's Eve of 1984, disaster struck. Allen and his girlfriend were driving to a party in Sheffield when he took a turn too fast and crashed his black Corvette into a stone wall and flipped the car. His girlfriend escaped serious injury but Rick's left arm was severed at the shoulder. The impact also damaged much of the flesh and muscle of his right arm. Doctors managed to save his right arm, and despite re-attaching his left arm, infection set in and they were forced to remove it permanently. Devastated, Allen recovered in the hospital for three weeks. Two weeks after his release, he trekked across Europe to join his bandmates in a Holland studio. The band were having their own set of issues. Coming off the mega-hit album Pyromania, they were trying to deal with unprecedented success and the demands to follow Pyromania with another smash album all without producer Mutt Lange, who was unavailable at the time. - more on this story

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