The Sound of One-Armed Drumming: Rick Allen’s Story & Highlights


On New Years Eve 1986, Rick Allen’s life changed forever.

Riding high as the drummer for Def Leppard, you’d forgive the Derbyshire native for thinking he’s invincible. Let’s face it – a lot of rock stars are (sup Keith Richards).

Driving his Corvette C4, Allen attempted to overtake the car in front of him, but losing control of his steering, his ride veered off the road, flipped and hit a stone wall. With his seatbelt not being fasten properly (listen up kids) he was flown from the car and his arm was immediately severed.

Though doctors managed to initially reattach his arm, an eventual infection meant it had to be amputated.


Now if you’re a drummer and you lose an arm, that’s your career donezo right? Wrong.

After doubting himself (can you blame the guy?) it was Allen’s band mates who encouraged him to find a method/miracle that would see him return to form.

With the help of some engineers and the will-power to continue Leppard’s rise to rock-stardom, Allen designed a kit that wouldn’t see him miss a beat. In 1986, the drummer made his comeback at the Monster of Rock festival with an electronic Simmons drum-kit.



Confused as to how it would all work? Find out here.



To celebrate the drummer’s 53rd birthday, we bring you some of his drumming highlights that have to be seen to be believed.





Hear it from the man himself how challenging the comeback was.


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