Birth Place:
Los Angeles, California, USA
Famous for:
The single Fade to Black
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Enter Sandman


“'Metallica' is going to be one of the bands you look back on in the year 2008 that people will still listen to the way I still listen to 'Zeppelin' and 'Sabbath' albums.” Metallica

Grammy-winning heavy metal band Metallica was formed in early 1981 in Los Angeles and dominated the heavy metal music scene in the 1980s and 1990s. They had emerged as one of the top musical acts in history by the end of the century.

With James Hetfield as lead vocals, Lars Ulrich on drums, Kirk Hammett on lead guitar and Robert Trujillo on bass, the band, whose previous members included Ron McGovney, Dave Mustaine, Cliff Burton, and Jason Newsted, has released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, twenty-two music videos, and forty-three singles, making them one of the most commercially successful heavy metal acts in history.

Metallica's multi-platinum albums are "Kill 'Em All" (1983), "Ride the Lightning" (1984), "Master of Puppets" (1986), "…And Justice for All" (1988), "Metallica" (1991), "Load" (1996), "ReLoad" (1997), "St. Anger" (2003) and "Death Magnetic" (2008). Famous singles include "One" (1989), "Enter Sandman" (1991), "The Unforgiven" (1991) and "Nothing Else Matters" (1992).

The seven-time Grammy winning band was inducted into the San Francisco Walk of Fame in March 1999 and the mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, proclaimed the day "Official Metallica Day.” The band was ranked by MTV the 3rd "Greatest Heavy Metal Bands in History" and is listed at #5 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock." Metallica was eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

“We hope that Metallica will be remembered or looked upon as a band that cut through all the political and business bulls***. So then people will realize that it's possible to control yourself and gain a certain level of popularity without having to cater to anyone else's ideas or thoughts other than your own. If that's all that Metallica will ever stand for, then that's news enough.” Metallica

The Beginning

Childhood and Family:

In early 1981 in Los Angeles, California, heavy metal band Metallica was formed after Danish drummer Lars Ulrich (born on December 26, 1963) posted an advertisement in a local newspaper. The ad was answered by guitarists James Hetfield (born on August 3, 1963), who would later be joined by lead guitarist Dave Mustaine (born on September 13, 1961) and bassist Ron McGovney (born on November 2, 1963). Mustaine and McGovney were later replaced by Kirk Hammett (born on November 18, 1962) and Cliff Burton (born on February 10, 1962) respectively.

“We used to sleep four to a room. I had to share a bed with Lars. He used to take all the blankets. I would never sleep with Cliff because he had really pointy elbows; really bony. Actually no one snores much. We drool a lot.” Metallica

Burton was killed in September 1986 when Metallica's tour bus skidded out of control and flipped. Less than two months later, he was replaced by Jason Newsted (born on March 4, 1963). Newsted left the band in 2001 and was replaced by Robert Trujillo (born on October 23, 1964) in 2003. Trujillo had previously played with Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves, Black Label Society, Jerry Cantrell, and Ozzy Osbourne's band.

“We're very lucky that we have our own plane, which makes things a lot easier. I'm sure people understand we're not too comfortable in a bus after the accident.” Metallica

As of October 2008, current band members include James Hetfield (vocals and guitar), Lars Ulrich (drums), Kirk Hammett (guitar and backup vocals) and Robert Trujillo (bass and backup vocals).

“Lars was always nervous on stage, so he'd play faster and faster. Nobody wanted to wimp out and tell him that he was playing too fast. We just figured, 'Hell, we'll just play faster too.'” Metallica



In early 1982, Metallica recorded their first demo, Power Metal, and recorded their first original song, "Hit the Lights," for the “Metal Massacre I” compilation, which was released on June 14, 1982. They played their first live show on March 14, 1982, at Radio City in Anaheim, California, with newly recruited bassist Ron McGovney.

After struggling to get a record deal, Metallica signed with Megaforce Records, with whom they released their debut album, "Kill 'Em All," initially titled "Metal Up Your A**," on July 29, 1983. It spawned the singles "Whiplash," which has been covered several times, most notably by Motörhead whose version won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, "Jump in the Fire," and "Seek & Destroy," which became a fan favorite. Recorded in only two weeks on a small budget, the album has now been certified 3x multi-platinum by RIAA and sold over 3 million copies in the U.S. The album did not chart on the Billboard 200 until 1988, but ranked #35 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of “The 100 Greatest Albums of the '80s” in 1989.

Metallica followed it up with its sophomore effort, "Ride the Lightning," which was released on July 27, 1984, by Megaforce Records and re-released by Elektra Records on November 19, 1984. It went 5x platinum and is often hailed by fans as a classic of the thrash metal genre. Singles off the album include "Fade to Black," "Creeping Death" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls," whose lyrics are based on Ernest Hemingway's novel of the same name.

On March 3, 1986, Metallica's third album, "Master of Puppets," was released by Elektra Records. Now widely considered a classic of thrash metal, the album enjoyed modest commercial success upon its release. It spun off the title track single "Master of Puppets," which has been ranked the third greatest heavy metal song ever by VH1. Other singles off the album are "Battery" and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)," the latter of which was inspired by Ken Kesey's novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

On August 21, 1987, Metallica released "The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited.” They subsequently released their fourth studio album, "…And Justice for All," on August 25, 1988, through Elektra Records. It was Metallica's breakthrough album and rose #6 on the Billboard charts. Receiving 8x platinum, the album was the best selling Metallica record upon its release and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 1989. Four singles were released from the album: "Eye of the Beholder," "Harvester of Sorrow," "…And Justice for All," and "One," which received the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

August 13, 1991, saw the release of "Metallica" (aka. "The Black Album"), Metallica's best-selling album that features some of the band's most popular songs. "Enter Sandman," which achieved gold certification and propelled Metallica to worldwide popularity, "The Unforgiven," which became the band's third Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, "Nothing Else Matters," which rose to #11 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks Charts in 1992, "Sad But True," whose lyrical theme is based on the film "Magic" (1978), and "Wherever I May Roam" emerged from the album. Selling over 15 million copies in the United States and over 22 million copies worldwide, the album became one of the best selling heavy metal albums of all time.

Metallica released its first live album, Live S***: Binge & Purge," on November 23, 1993. Three years later, on June 4, 1996, they released the studio album "Load," which was certified 5 times platinum in America and Gold in the UK. "Load" produced the singles "Until It Sleeps," the band's first number one song on the U.S. Mainstream Rock charts, "Ain't My B***," which debuted on the U.S. Mainstream Rock charts at #15, "Hero of the Day," "Mama Said," "King Nothing," and "Bleeding Me," which rose to #6 on the Mainstream Rock Charts.

"ReLoad," a sequel to the album "Load," hit the music stores on November 18, 1997. The album sold over 3 million copies in the US and was certified Gold in the U.K. It spawned the singles "The Memory Remains,” "The Unforgiven II," "Fuel" and "Better than You," which won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

On November 24, 1998, Metallica released an album titled "Garage Inc.," which included the song "Whiskey in the Jar," and won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance. Afterward, they released a live album called "S&M," which was recorded live with the San Francisco Symphony.

Entering the new millennium, Metallica contributed a song for the "Mission: Impossible II" soundtrack, "I Disappear," which rose to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. Three years later on June 5, 2003, they released their eighth studio album "St. Anger," which hit #1 in 30 countries. In 2004, the lead single from the album, "St. Anger," won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance and was nominated for Best Rock Video at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Other singles off the album include "Frantic," "The Unnamed Feeling," and "Some Kind of Monster."

In 2007, Metallica contributed the Grammy nominated cover of "The Ecstasy of Gold" for a tribute album honoring noted film composer Ennio Morricone that was released on July 16, 2008. On September 10, 2008, Metallica released its ninth studio album, "Death Magnetic," through Warner Bros. Records. It became their fifth consecutive studio album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, making Metallica the first band ever to achieve five consecutive #1 debuts. "Death Magnetic" yielded the singles "The Day That Never Comes" (debuted on Billboard's Hot 100 at #31, #7 on Billboards Mainstream Rock Chart, #25 on Modern Rock Tracks, and #9 on the Canadian Hot 100), "My Apocalypse," "Cyanide," "The Judas Kiss" and "The Unforgiven III."

"If you're in the studio, everybody presumes you're recording or making a record. Last time there was no real separation between the writing process and the recording process. With ‘St. Anger,’ nobody brought in any pre-recorded stuff or ideas; it was just make it up on the spot, be in the moment. So this time we are doing exactly what we did on all the other albums; first we're writing, then we're recording. The only difference is that we're writing where we record. So we're writing here at HQ because this is our home. We're writing in the studio." Lars Ulrich (on the album "Death Magnetic")


  • Grammy: Best Metal Performance, "St. Anger," 2004

  • Grammy: Best Rock Instrumental Performance, "The Call of Ktulu" (with Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony), 2001

  • Grammy: Best Hard Rock Performance, "Whiskey in the Jar," 2000

  • Grammy: Best Metal Performance, "Better than You," 1999

  • Billboard Music Awards: Catalogue Artist of the Year, 1999

  • Billboard Music Awards: Catalogue Album of the Year, 1999

  • Billboard Music Awards: Billboard Rock and Roll Artist of the Year, 1997

  • MTV Video Music Awards: Best Metal Video, "Until It Sleeps," 1996

  • American Music Awards: Favorite Metal/Hard Rock Song, "Until It Sleeps," 1996

  • American Music Awards: Favorite Artist - Heavy Metal/Hard Rock, “Load,” 1996

  • Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “Metallica,” 1992

  • MTV Video Music Awards: Best Metal Video, "Enter Sandman," 1992

  • Grammy: Best Metal Performance, "Stone Cold Crazy," 1991

  • Grammy: Best Metal Performance, "One," 1990

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