There ain’t a soul alive who doesn’t love a story about someone earning everything they’ve got, especially when what they’ve got is a stellar career as a famous musician. That’s why today we’re taking a look at some musicians who were dealt a band hand or given a raw deal, but managed to come out on top and turn themselves into famous figures in the music industry. Whether it was a rough childhood, a Nazi occupation or a lost limb, everyone on this list had to overcome extreme adversity in order to achieve the heights of their careers, and damn if we aren’t tearing up over here thinking of all the hard work that went into overcoming these hard times. But there’s a happy ending, right? It all paid off! So here are 10 influential musicians who earned it the hard way.
10. Rick Allen (Def Leppard)
There’s some events in life that just seem cruel, especially when placed in a context of irony and coincidence, like a painter going blind or a sprinter losing his legs. One individual who overcame an instance like this was Rick Allen, the drummer from hard rock/hair metal band Def Leppard, who continued to drum for the band after having his left arm amputated in 1985. Known as “The Thunder God” to his fans, Allen had to re-teach himself to play his instrument after a driving accident forced the removal of his arm. But with the help of a custom-made drum kit, which allows him to use his left foot in lieu of his arm, Allen has maintained his position as the drummer of Def Leppard, who would go on to have a long and productive career in the music industry. Allen, who has also started a charity called the Raven Drum Foundation, is exactly the kind of individual we want to kick off a list like this; he overcame some severe adversity to become the rock legend he is today.