What is the reason for the fame of Def Leppard’s drummer, Rick Allen?
Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard, gained significant attention and recognition for his resilience and determination following a tragic event. In 1984, at the age of 21, Rick Allen was involved in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of his left arm. Despite this life-altering event, Rick Allen continued pursuing his drumming passion.
Remarkably, he developed a custom electronic drum kit that allowed him to continue playing with Def Leppard. The innovative drum setup and Allen’s determination and skill played a crucial role in the band’s ability to continue making music and touring.
Def Leppard went on to release the album “Hysteria” in 1987, which became one of their most successful albums, featuring hits like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Love Bites.”
Rick Allen’s story is often cited as an inspirational example of overcoming adversity and pursuing one’s dreams despite significant challenges. His ability to adapt and contribute to Def Leppard’s success following the accident has made him a respected figure in the music industry and beyond.
What is the reason for the fame of Def Leppard’s drummer, Rick Allen?
Rick Allen is a well-known drummer who gained fame as a member of the rock band Def Leppard member. He was born on November 1, 1963, in Dronfield, Derbyshire, England. Rick Allen joined Def Leppard in 1978 at age 15, becoming the band’s drummer and contributing to their success throughout the 1980s and beyond.
In 1984, tragedy struck when Rick Allen was involved in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of his left arm. Despite this life-altering event, he remained determined to continue his drumming career.
With the support of his bandmates and the aid of custom-designed drum kits, he developed a unique playing style using a combination of foot pedals, electronic drum pads, and other technologies to compensate for his missing arm.
Rick Allen’s perseverance and talent helped Def Leppard create their iconic sound, and the band continued to produce hit albums such as “Hysteria” (1987) and “Adrenalize” (1992) after his accident. His inspiring story has made him an influential figure in the music world, showcasing his ability to overcome adversity and continue pursuing his passion.
For us that have never played the drums, if you do, can you explain how hard it is and how talented Rick Allen is of Def Leppard?
One of my favourite sayings about drums (and percussion in general) is this:
Any idiot can get a noise out of a drum – and a lot of idiots do – but it takes a specially trained or talented idiot to get music out of them.
What people quickly discover about playing a drum kit is that the limb independence required is extreme. That is, each limb is doing something different most of the time.
Then you need to know a bunch of techniques to get optimal effect out of the drums (although many rock drummers don’t bother with paradiddles, flams and all the rest of the rudiments). Even correct stick holding technique is important to get good speed and to enable you to keep playing for extended periods without too much fatigue.
Then there’s the muscle training. Drums rely mostly on the fast-twitch muscles in your forearms. It takes years to get those to a level to enable accurate fast playing. For drum kit playing, the bass drum foot (or feet if playing doubles) needs to be trained up as well.
In Rick Allen’s case, the missing limb reduces the amount of limb independence required. On the other hand, what he can do with one arm is just astonishing.
How did drummer Rick Allen of Def Leppard overcome his disability?
Prior to his accident ,the had been experimenting with electronic drums. When he lost his arm he collaborated with an electronics engineer and they came up with pedals for his left foot which duplicated the snare drum and Tom Tom’s sound of his kit …so basically , he just used his left foot as his left arm .
Technically speaking … it is his Left Foot ( normally reserved for hi hat pedal), that is missing in his set up because it is too busy acting as his left arm.
Simply by not letting his disability get in his way, he proceeded in his ability to hone his craft, never felt sorry for himself, and kept striving to be the best that he could be; I am pretty sure he taught others to play musical instruments as well, he had/has a winning attitude, and will go far.
Determination & hard work, couple with a modified electronic drum kit that allowed him to use his left foot (via trigger pedals to sound his snare & tom-tom drums) to do much of what he used to do with this left hand prior to his accident.
Did Rick Allen of Def Leppard feel any spite after all the percussion on Pyromania was done on Mutt Lange’s 8-bit Fairlight drum machine?
Thanks for this question. I had to learn about the fair light drum machine. The 2 Australian guys who created this machine changed music as we know it—the very first digital sampler. The designers approached Peter Gabriel with their new tech, and he was the first to use one on his recording.
Mutt Lange moved music and technology, selling millions of records with Def Leppard. I’ve spent much time trying to reproduce that drum sound from Pyromania accurately; it sounds fantastic. Suppose you mix acoustic drums and electronic drums and put those into one drum track. Any musician who came into contact with the fair light was inspired by it.
Let’s talk about Rick Allen, a great drummer rock, rock-solid player, and band member. They’re like brothers to each other, and Def Leppard lived through a lot of tragedy. They lost 2 of the original guitarists, and then Rick had a car accident, and they were all just glad he lived.
If it makes the band and the song better, then Rick would be for it and not spiteful. The song would become challenging for him; his mind would help him past his injury into how can I play this live, and the rest is history.
Did Def Leppard’s drummer ever leave the band?
While recuperating from losing his arm, he was still considered a band member. The other members said it would be up to HIM whether or not he left. Only a few other bands would do that! I’m not exactly sure who said it, but one of the members said, “Rick isn’t just a member of the band; he’s OUR BROTHER.
Rick Allen, Def Leppard’s drummer, has not left the band since joining in 1978. Rick Allen faced a significant challenge in 1984 when he lost his left arm in a car accident. However, he remained committed to drumming and, with the support of the band, adapted by using a customized electronic drum kit. Since then, Rick Allen has continued to be an integral part of Def Leppard, contributing to the band’s success through numerous albums and tours.
Keep in mind that band memberships can change over time, and it’s always a good idea to check for the latest information in case there have been any developments since my last update.
How did Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen lose his left arm?
Allen — the drummer for metal band Def Leppard — was on his way to a party on New Year’s Eve in 1984. The 21-year-old was street racing in his Corvette in Sheffield, England, when he lost control on a curve and went off the road. He was thrown from the car and his left arm severed.
He lost it after crashing his Corvette on the A57 Snake Pass road a few miles outside his home city of Sheffield on 31 December 1984 (New Year’s Eve). He was driving (shall we say) somewhat irresponsibly and lost control after overtaking another vehicle at speed.
The car clipped a stone wall and left the carriageway, ending in an adjoining field. Rick hadn’t fastened his seat belt properly, so he ended up being ejected from the car through the sunroof, but without his left arm (which remained inside – severed at the shoulder joint).
His girlfriend at the time stayed in the vehicle (she was in the passenger seat) but suffered head, neck and back injuries. Rescuers found the severed limb & packed it in ice before him being rushed to the hospital – an attempt to reattach it initially proved successful (he regained both motion & feeling in it). Still, an infection set in, and it had to be amputated again.
Despite the severe nature of his injuries (several broken bones in addition to the loss of his arm), he was discharged from the hospital after four weeks and slowly worked his way back to health. Determination to keep going led him to re-learn to drum with just one arm and a modified kit that switched several functions to foot pedals – he would return to performance just over 18 months later, in August 1986.
He wrecked his corvette back in the day, it was a pretty terrible accident , I believe a farmer found him, if I am remembering correctly the surgeon did try to reatatch it but it ultimately unsuccessful. It was some time after pyromania this happens must of been the late 80s, The delay in them wantings to wait for Rick and for him to figure out his new drum set caused a delay in the recording of Hysteria
What is your opinion of the band “Def Leppard”? Do you think they were ever good or were they just popular because of the time period they were active in?
I remember a Metal Magazine I had. They were raving about two young bands coming out of Britain in the late 70s, Def Leopard and Iron Maiden. I still think of them as stable mates to this day. They are entirely different, however.
I can’t ever recall hearing Iron Maiden doing a love song while Def Leopard was more of a mainstream radio-friendly semi-hair Metal band. I prefer my Metal to be more like Iron Maiden. I love the more operatic vocal style. Dickenson, Rob Halford, King Diamond, and Dio are perfect examples.
Def Leppard was good at what they did. They had the talent and good looks to pull it off. No songs about war, death or Occult themes come from them—all chicky poo.
What is your opinion of the band “Def Leppard”? Do you think they were ever good or just famous because of the period they were active in?
I bought the first Def Leppard EP (called The Def Leppard EP) in 1979. I loved it. I still enjoy it. Consequently, when I saw them supporting AC/DC at the end of that year, I was very excited.
I was also very disappointed. They were terrible. The three songs from the EP were great. The rest was awful. Cheesy lyrics, bad rhymes and a weaker sound.
Other people love them. A lot of my friends back then did. I respect them as a band doing what they want and doing it well. I appreciate their loyalty to each other as a band. I don’t enjoy them.
Def Leppard is great at what it does: catchy rock songs that cross over to the pop market and sound live. They remain active, touring, even doing shows in Las Vegas, and still playing big stadium concert tours. It recently appeared in the Netflix film Bank of Dave, a hot movie. It is recommended for viewing.
Rick Allen is the drummer for Def Leppard. Why was he never considered an official band member, even though he did a lot of work with them after his arm healed up?
Rick joined the band at 15 and is an official member. You see, his arm did not heal up; he lost it. That would have cost a hired drummer his job, but DL waited for Rick to re-learn drumming, which he now does with one arm.
Rick Allen is indeed considered an official member of Def Leppard. Despite his challenges after losing his left arm in a car accident in 1984, Rick Allen remained dedicated to drumming.
The band, recognizing his talent, commitment, and resilience, continued to include him as an essential part of Def Leppard. Following the accident, Rick Allen worked with engineers to create a custom electronic drum kit that allowed him to continue playing drums with one arm.
Since then, Rick Allen has been an integral and permanent member of Def Leppard, contributing to the band’s success through numerous albums and tours. The misconception that he might not be an official member could be due to outdated information or a misunderstanding. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, Rick Allen is still an active member of Def Leppard.
How did Def Leppard’s drummer losing his arm alter the course of the band’s popularity?
It did not do much to their popularity, one way or the other. They weren’t on tour at the time, so they didn’t have to interrupt one, and he was back to recording just a couple of months after the accident. That means they stayed in the famous eye.
He was playing a largely electronic kit before the accident so that part of his sound didn’t change, and although his style changed somewhat (enough that he had to re-record all of the tracks he had done before the accident for consistency’s sake), it wasn’t worse or better, it was just different.
Very little of the audience was there to see the drummer in the first place, except other drummers, and I think those stuck around to see if he could still do it.
They also took a backup drummer on the subsequent tour just in case the rigours of playing night in and night out proved too much, but the guy lasted only a short time. When he missed the transport (I need to remember if it was a flight or a bus or what) to the next show, and Rick did the whole thing by himself, they realized they didn’t need a backup.
I haven’t spent much time thinking about that in particular. Allen’s car wreck happened in ‘84; he was drumming in ‘86. I knew who Def Leppard was in the mid-80s, but I can’t remember hearing about his accident. It might not have been until after he resumed playing.
Does it surprise me that a motivated, skilled professional musician can overcome a severe physical handicap and keep playing professionally? No.
See Django Rheinhart (who became a famous jazz guitarist after losing the use of several fingers on his left fretting hand), Tony Iommi (guitarist of Black Sabbath, who lost two fingertips in an industrial accident), and many others.
They had a lot more early success in the U.S. than they did here in their native U.K. Their debut album, “On Through the Night,” was released in the U.K. in the spring of 1980, making number 15 on the album chart but none of the singles from it cracked the U.K. top 40.
The follow-up “High & Dry” fared similarly, reaching #26 but gaining little mainstream media attention. Much of that can be attributed to the British media & fans’ perception that they were too focused on U.S. success and not enough on the U.K. (to the extent that they were jeered & pelted with beer cans when they played the Reading Festival in the summer of 1980!)
It took their third album – 1983’s Pyromania – to bring them to the attention of the record-buying public, though even that only reached #18 and didn’t generate a top 40 hit single (the track “Photograph” did receive significant T.V. and radio airplay mind).
The 1987 album “Hysteria” finally did the trick, though, as far as generating a hit single (and then some!), with “ Animal” becoming the first of five top 40 entries and from there, they never looked back.
As far as the U.S. went, they had a measure of success with their first two albums before 1983′s. Pyromania catapulted them to genuine stardom (selling 10 million copies and peaking at #2 on the Billboard chart). “Hysteria” fared even better, selling over 12 million copies there (and 25 million worldwide) whilst reaching #1 on the Billboard album chart.
What is the reason for the fame of Def Leppard’s drummer, Rick Allen?