During a conversation with Louder Sound, Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott looked back on drummer Rick Allen losing his arm in a car accident back in 1984.
The incident took place on December 31, 1984, when Rick lost control of his car while trying to pass another vehicle.
He hit a dry stone wall and was thrown away from the car since his safety belt was not properly fastened. Rick’s then-girlfriend was also in the vehicle, suffering head, neck and spine injuries from severe whiplash.
Allen’s arm was initially reattached, but ultimately re-amputated because of an infection. Joe now said:
“I remember the phone call from our manager Peter Mensch. He said: ‘Are you sitting down?’. And having seen enough movies, I knew that you don’t say that unless somebody has died.
“But when he said: ‘Your drummer’s had a car crash and he’s lost his arm,’ there’s no way for you to process that information. It doesn’t make any sense. I just burst into tears.
“I thought, for Rick, not being able to play the drums again was probably worse than death – he’s going to be this walking corpse that used to be a drummer.
“But within about eight or nine days, he started telling us: ‘I think I’ve figured out a way around it.’ And of course, we all thought it was just the morphine talking. But he was back on a drum kit within three months. It was inspiring.”
Nikki Sixx was also present during the interview. He chimed in:
“To me, that’s one of the most amazing stories ever. The fact that Rick said: ‘I’ve lost my arm but this is my band and I’m gonna play drums again.’
“And the band did exactly what a family would do. They said: ‘We’re here, let’s do it.’ I mean, how f*cking insane is rock ‘n’ roll when you have a one-armed drummer? That isn’t even possible. It’s a miracle, that’s what it is.”