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- Posted on Oct 13th 2010 10:30AM by Pat Pemberton
'Pour Some Sugar on Me,' Def Leppard
When a paramedic picked Rick Allen's left arm off the ground on the last day of 1984, Allen's drumming career looked bleak.
Yet, before long, Allen -- despite losing his arm in a violent car accident -- was drumming again. And while his Northern England accident once threatened the future of his band, Def Leppard's first post-wreck album, 'Hysteria,' became their first No. 1 two years later. 'Pour Some Sugar On Me,' a raunch-rock anthem from that LP, won't go down in the annals of great lyrical tunes. But it defined a genre of '80s pop metal. And more than 20 years later, this hair-band classic is silly enough to fit right in with promos for Conan O'Brien's upcoming talk show.
Knowing they'd have a large audience for the baseball playoffs, executives at TBS seized the opportunity to create an ad blitz for 'Conan,' which debuts on the cable TV channel in November. In this particular commercial, we see O'Brien overzealously scrubbing his desk, at times sudsing himself in an over-the-top erotic manner. The commercial is an obvious play on the car washing scene from the 1967 movie 'Cool Hand Luke,' in which actress Joy Harmon seductively cleans her DeSoto as horny shackled prisoners leer from their chain gang.
'Cool Hand Luke' may have been before O'Brien's prime. But, being the same age as Allen, he surely has some Def Leppard memories.
The band, formed in 1977 in Sheffield, England, hit it big in North America with the 1983 album 'Pyromania.' The band was preparing its follow-up when Allen lost control of his Corvette Stingray on a Sheffield road and veered off the road, eventually causing the sports car to flip several times. After four hours of surgery, doctors were able to reattach Allen's severed limb. But a subsequent infection prompted them to amputate.
Still, Allen, only 21 at the time, was determined to drum. So even before he could tie his shoes, he developed an electronic drum set that allowed him to rock out, using his left foot to replace the function of his lost arm. Back in the studio, the band resumed recording, and 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' would be the last song to make the 'Hysteria' album.
Though grunge would eventually supplant pop metal in the'90s, Def Leppard still tour, and plans call for them to hit the road in 2011. Meanwhile, Allen and his wife, Lauren Monroe, run the Raven Drum Foundation. The nonprofit uses drum circles and other healing workshops to help those who have suffered traumatic injuries. Through the foundation, Allen has become an inspiration for injured vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.