On this day in music 1986, Def Leppard's Rick Allen made a miraculous return to the band at Monsters of Rock

Def Leppard Photo Session On Location
Def Leppard Photo Session On Location / Annamaria DiSanto/GettyImages

Def Leppard would receive devastating news on December 31, 1984. Drummer Rick Allen was involved in a car accident that severed his left arm. A year and a half later, on August 16, 1986, the band would perform at Monsters of Rock featuring Rick Allen in one of the first live performances since the accident.

In 1978, 15-year-old Rick Allen would be situated as the drummer for the English rock band Def Leppard. This was soon after the release of The Def Leppard EP, which contained three songs, including "Getha Rocks Off," that would see extensive airplay by renowned BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel.

In 1984, Allen would lose control of his Corvette C4 on a countryside road west of Sheffield. The accident would severe his left arm, which was reattached but had to be amputated due to an infection. This left Allen defeated, but the outpouring of support from his family, friends, and fans encouraged him to design a new drum kit that would allow him to continue playing with Def Leppard.

In 1986, Allen would return to performing during a short warm-up tour of Ireland, joined by drummer Jeff Rich. When Rich was late to a gig, the band realized Allen didn't need any assistance and could successfully drum on his own.

Allen's return was revealed on August 16, 1986, during the Monsters of Rock festival in Donington Park in Derby. After being introduced by Elliott, Allen was welcomed back by an emotional ovation. Below is a clip from the band's return to Donington 23 years later, when Elliott again recognizes Allen for his extraordinary achievement.

The band experienced many changes in the lineup during the early years. Since 1992 the band's lineup is as follows, Rick Savage (bass, backing vocals), Joe Elliott (lead vocals), Rick Allen (drums), Phil Collen (guitar, backing vocals), and Vivian Campbell (guitar, backing vocals).

In 2023 the band toured the world during The World Tour, which ends November 15 in Melbourne, Australia. The tour was co-headlined with Motley Crue, and some performances saw appearances by special guests Europe, Mammoth WVH, and Alice Cooper. Opening acts for The World Tour included Whisky Blood and Rata Blanca.

Def Leppard released a new album in 2023, Drastic Symphonies, which features 16 reworked, restripped, or re-recorded songs from previous albums. Each track is a unique collaboration between Def Leppard and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Def Leppard is a band that has stood the test of time and continues to rock out for their fans. The fact that the band never thought to replace Rick Allen after his life-altering accident is a testament to the integrity of this band and each of its members.

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