1984 Ends in Metal Tragedy

Hanoi Rocks

Motley Crue

History can never debate that 1984 was the golden year of heavy metal. So many great albums from so many great bands and they even played metal on the radio and MTV. Never again would the genre get so much commercial exposure. However, even with all the great metal, the year would end in a very tragic anti- climax and mean the death of a drummer and his band and another similar tragedy would nearly claim the life of another drummer.

On December 8, members of the bands Hanoi Rocks and Motley Crue had been engaged in a massive drinking binge that had been going on, according to reports, for four days. More booze was being called for so Motley Crue’s Vince Neil, eager to show off his new 1972 Ford Pantera, volunteered to make the run even though he was well over the legal drink drive limit and took Hanoi Rocks drummer, Razzle, with him. At 6:38, Neil lost control of his car, (driving 65 in a 25mph zone might have had something to do with it) while swerving around a stationary fire truck and careered into oncoming traffic hitting two other cars. The driver and a passenger in one of the cars was seriously injured and taken to hospital while the driver of the second was miraculously uninjured. Vince himself only suffered cracked ribs and cuts to his face. Things weren’t so fortunate for Razzle, he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The loss of Razzle would spell the end for Hanoi Rocks, the band would break up shortly after. Vince Neil’s troubles were only beginning as he would have to pay $2.6 million in compensation to the victims, do 200 hours of community service and serve time in prison, albeit a mere 30 days! People are still talking about the leniency of that sentence still. Like I said when I posted about Hanoi Rock’s last studio album, I got the chance to see this band about three weeks before the tragedy happened at a small New Jersey night club. That’s why this tragedy continues to weigh heavy on me.

If the loss of Razzle compliments of Vince Neil wasn’t bad enough, further tragedy would happen on the final day of the year. Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen would lose his arm in car accident. While trying to overtake another car at high speed, Rick lost control of his car, hit a dry stone wall and entered a field where he was thrown from his car because he didn’t have his seat belt properly fastened. His left arm was severed and though doctors reattached it, had to re-amputate it on account of infection. Rick’s girlfriend also suffered head and neck injuries as well as a concussion. Although this was a tragedy at the time, Rick would be one of the greatest ‘overcoming of adversity’ stories in all of music.

When 1984 proceeded to 85, a few misguided individuals used these tragedies as some sort of symbol that heavy metal was on its way out. Fools! Yes, heavy metal would never again enjoy the commercial airplay it had in that year, but it would never go away. The lack of radio and MTV play would do nothing to halt record sales and sold out concert attendances.

Next post: My 20 Favourite Power Ballads- 11-20

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12 Responses to “1984 Ends in Metal Tragedy”

  1. I graduated in 84′, and that was a fantastic time to sing, dance, and rock! I loved the 80’s! Big hair & whacky clothes… it was a great time to be young! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, I was in college then a year after getting out of the marines. Although people weren’t so tolerant of wacky clothes in my redneck area. There was some great music in that year, no one can deny that.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. December 84 was a brutal month. First Razzle and than Lep…..One band disenegrated while the other shot more into stardom than before …

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hanoi’s story is interesting. Always so close to breaking big but always missing out.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I hadn’t been aware of the Vince Neil / Hanoi Rocks thing until a year or so ago. Incredible that Vince Neil practically walked away from that with a slap on the wrist. If that was your average non celebrity punter, they’d have been locked up. Ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. … and Def Leppard guy isn’t so much tragedy as recklessness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeah I couldn’t believe when I learned the drummer from DL had only one arm. I mean, of all the instruments to play one armed, drums would have to be the hardest right?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] Source: 1984 Ends in Metal Tragedy | 80smetalman’s Blog […]

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