Metallica (formed 1981)

Metallica is a Los Angeles-based heavy metal band. The band is one of the most successful heavy rock bands of all time and rose to fame with the release of 1986's Master of Puppets.

Metallica: Formation

In 1981, Lars Ulrich placed an advert in The Recycler, an LA newspaper, looking for musicians to join him on drums, and citing Tygers of Pan Am, Iron Maiden and Diamond Head as influences. James Hetfield and Hugh Tanner, two guitarists, responded to the ad. A second ad found Dave Mustaine, on lead guitar, who was recruited on account of his extensive and expensive range of guitars and equipment. With Hetfield on bass on vocals, the band recorded 'Hit the Lights' for the Metal Massacre I compilation.

The band's first live show was in March 1982, at Radio City, in California. Ron McGovney had been recruited to play bass by this point. Later that year, they watched a band called Trauma at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and recruited one of their members. Cliff Burton accepted and replaced McGovney. His first appearance on record with Metallica was the Megaforce demo.

The band's debut album was made possible by promoter Johnny Zazula, who borrowed money to set up his own label, Megaforce Recordings. Mustaine was forced out of the band for drug misuse and Kirk Hamnett was swiftly brought in to replace him.

Metallica: 1983 Onwards, Career Highlights

Metallica's debut album, Metal Up Your Ass was released in 1983, produced by Paul Curcio. The album was eventually renamed as Kill 'Em All, after distributors reacted against the original title. The album peaked at 120 on the US album charts and helped to build a fan base on the underground metal circuit in the US. In 1984, Metallica supported Venom on their Seven Dates of Hell tour.

Metallica's second studio album was released in 1984. Ride the Lightening included songs such as 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' and 'Creeping Death'.

In late 1984, an Elektra Records A&R representative attended a Metallica gig and the label eventually signed them. Metallica went on tour with Tank, playing to average crowds of 1300, their largest tour yet. They also played huge shows with W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint, as well as the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park, UK.

One of the band's most iconic albums, Master of Puppets, was released in 1986. The album reached number 29 in the US and was certified gold later that year. In 2003, the album was certified six times platinum. During their tour supporting Ozzy Osbourne, Hetfield broke his wrist whilst skateboarding. He continued on vocals, but guitar technician John Marshall had to play rhythm guitar for the band.

In September 1986, whilst on tour in Sweden, the driver of the tour bus lost control of the vehicle. Cliff Burton was pinned under the bus and eventually died. The remaining members of the band finally decided to continue with the band, after receiving Burton's family's blessings to do so. His replacement was Jason Newsted, formerly of the band Flotsam and Jetsam. In 1987, they released the video Cliff 'Em All, documenting the three years that Burton was in the band.

1988 saw the band release .And Justice For All. The album was a huge commercial success and earned the band a Grammy nomination. Metallica made their first promotional video for the song 'One' and was shown on MTV, becoming viewers' first exposure to Metallica.

In 1990, Bob Rock (formerly responsible for albums by Bon Jovi, Motley Crüe and the Cult) entered the studio with Metallica to record Metallica, alternatively known as 'The Black Album'. The album cost over $1 million to make, as it was remixed three times before release. On its release in 1991, it reached the top of the American album chart. The supporting stadium tour, which they co-headlined with Guns N' Roses, saw Hetfield suffer burns to his arms, face, hands and legs, when a pyrotechnic stunt went wrong

In 1995, whilst on a break from recording, the band played three huge outdoor shows, including a headliner at Donington Park, with Slayer, Skid Row and Therapy?

Their sixth studio album, released the next year, was Load. In support of the album, they headlined that year's Lollapalooza tour. With enough material from the recording session to release another album, Metallica then released ReLoad. They appeared on Saturday Night Live, performing 'The Memory Remains' with Marianne Faithfull.

In 2000, Metallica took legal action against the peer-to-peer file sharing website, Napster. With Dr. Dre joining Metallica in the fight against Napster, over 230,000 of its users were eventually banned. Napster eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

In 2001, Newsted left Metallica, following a dispute with Hetfield over Newsted wanting to promote his side-project, Echobrain. Over the next two years, filmmakers recorded footage that would become the documentary Some Kind Of Monster. In the documentary, the band hired a therapist to help them to overcome their problems. Robert Trujillo, ex-member of Suicidal Tendencies, became Newsted's replacement.

St. Anger, released in 2003, was another number one for Metallica. The title track earned the band a Grammy Award. With Ulrich rushed to hospital during the Download Festival in 2004, he was replaced by Slayer's Dave Lombardo, Slipknot's Joey Jordison and their drum tech, Flemming Larsen. In 2005, the band opened for The Rolling Stones for two shows.

Metallica's next studio album, Death Magnetic, was slated for release in September 2008, this time with Rick Rubin on production duties. Their first performances of songs from the album were at the 2008 Leeds Festival.

Biography by
Read More
Subscribe to Metallica alerts

Sonisphere 2015 Cancelled

by Ed Biggs | News | Music / Festivals | 17th January 2015

Bad news for metal fans today: the UK edition of Sonisphere festival at Knebworth will not go ahead this year. Sonisphere’s organisers made the announcement on its official website late on Friday (January 16th).One of...

Tags: Prodigy - Metallica - Iron Maiden

Metallica To Headline Reading And Leeds 2015

by Ed Biggs | News | Music / Festivals | 27th November 2014

The first announcement has been made as to who will be playing the Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2015, and it’s a big one: Metallica have been confirmed as one of the three headliners!Organisers announced...

Tags: Metallica - Leeds & Reading Festival

Rock In Rio Festival Headed To Las Vegas With Taylor Swift And Metallica

by Stephanie Chase | News | Music / Festivals | 28th September 2014

The Rock in Rio festival is coming to the United States for the first time ever next year, with a four day event being held in Las Vegas. Taylor Swift and Metallica are among the...

Tags: Taylor Swift - Metallica - No Doubt

Rock In Rio Festival Expanding To America, Taylor Swift To Headline

by Hannah Woodhead | News | Lifestyle / Showbiz | 28th September 2014

Good news for American music fans! The organisers of the massive Rock in Rio music festival have announced plans to hold an event in Las Vegas.Taylor Swift will be headlining the brand new festivalAccording to...

Tags: Taylor Swift - Metallica - Linkin Park - John Legend - No Doubt

Miley, Metallica, 1D and Eminem Added to Guinness Book of World Records

by Hannah Woodhead | News | Music / Festivals | 6th September 2014

What do Metallica, One Direction, Miley Cyrus and Eminem all have in common? Erm, not much, but they're all set to be immortalised in the new edition of The Guinness Book of World Records which...

Tags: Miley Cyrus - Metallica - Eminem - One Direction

Glastonbury Festival Goers Told To "Prepare For Rape" By BBC

by Michael West | News | Music / Festivals | 26th June 2014

Glastonbury Festival goers were warned to "prepare for rape" by a subtitle blunder during the weather report on BBC News at Ten. The weatherman told the audience to "prepare for rain" but the caption instead...

Tags: Glastonbury Festival - Arcade Fire - Metallica - Kasabian

Glastonbury Weather 2014: It's Going to Rain. Loads.

by Jack de Aguilar | News | Music / Festivals | 23rd June 2014

Glastonbury festivalgoers are famously robust whatever the weather, packing willies, umbrellas and waterproof ponchos to ensure their heads don’t drop should the heaven decide to open. It Could Be A Muddy Glastonbury Festival. Photo: Getty...

Tags: Glastonbury Festival - Arcade Fire - Kasabian - Metallica

5 Things You Can Do With Free WiFi at Glastonbury 2014

by Jack de Aguilar | News | Music / Festivals | 23rd June 2014

Glastonbury revellers will be able to enjoy free wifi this year thanks to a heard of special cows dotted around the festival. The EE cattle won’t be hard to spot. Artist Hank Kruger decorated them...

Tags: Glastonbury Festival - Metallica

Glastonbury Founder Michael Eavis Defends Festival Headliners Metallica

by Sophie Miskiw | News | Music / Festivals | 16th June 2014

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis has defended the decision to have Metallica headline the festival this year. There has been growing opposition regarding Metallica performing at the festival by festival-goers who don’t feel a heavy...

Tags: Michael Eavis - Metallica

Metallica Will Be "Fantastic" At Glastonbury, Says Kasabian's Tom Meighan

by Sophie Miskiw | News | Music / Festivals | 13th June 2014

Tom Meighan, lead singer of rock band Kasabian, has offered his two cents regarding the fuss that's been surrounding Metallica headlining at Glastonbury Festival. There has been a heated debate over whether the heavy metal...

Tags: Tom Meighan - Kasabian - Metallica

Should Metallica Be Removed From Glastonbury Headline Slot?

by Stephanie Chase | News | Music / Festivals | 6th June 2014

Over 14,000 people have signed an online petition to have Metallica removed from this year’s Glastonbury line up. But why? Is the idea of ‘Enter Sandman’ ringing out across the festival fields really just too...

Tags: Metallica - Glastonbury Festival

Mogwai Laugh Off "Sh*te" Metallica, Call Lars Ulrich "Terrible" Drummer

by Michael West | News | Music / Festivals | 5th June 2014

Of course, anyone who's remotely interested in music would choose to see Scottish post-punk heroes Mogwai over Metallica at the Glastonbury Festival 2014 and the Glaswegian band have been doing their best to pull the...

Tags: Metallica - Mogwai - Lars Ulrich

Metallica To Cover 'Wonderwall' At Glastonbury, But What Are The Best Oasis Covers?

by George Percival | News | Music / Festivals | 4th June 2014

In a similar fashion to the announcement of Jay Z in 2008, metal titans Metallica’s headline slot at the iconic Glastonbury Festival has been met with a wave of criticism and derision from commentators who...

Tags: Metallica - Jay Z - Oasis - Maroon 5 - Jake Bugg - Robbie Williams

Head To Europe This Year For The Best Summer Festival Experiences!

by Holly Williams | News | Music / Festivals | 23rd May 2014

We've been seriously pushing US and UK music festivals this year but, it has to be said, there's nowhere quite like Europe.The continent is home to some of the most unique music events in the...

Tags: Pukkelpop Festival - Tomorrowland - The Garden Festival - Roskilde - La Route Du Rock - Rock Am Ring

Metallica At Glastonbury: 10 Acts More Deserving Of The Headline Slot

by George Percival | News | Music / Festivals | 19th May 2014

Metallica have been festival mainstays since their appearance in the original incarnations of Monsters of Rock festival in the 1980’s- a celebration of all things hairy and leather-clad that takes place on the same Derbyshire...

Tags: Metallica

A Week In News: Met Gala Glamour, Metal At Glastonbury, Meet 'Tammy' Comedy Giggles

by Lauren James | News | Lifestyle / Showbiz | 9th May 2014

Met Gala: This year's Met Gala was even more extravagant than ever before as the biggest names in showbiz arrived in New York clad in "decorations" and finery. Anna Wintour's bash served up some true...

Tags: Metallica - Melissa McCarthy - Eminem - Kendall Jenner - Miley Cyrus - Hugh Jackman

Say Your Prayers! Enter Metallica For Glastonbury Festival

by Lauren James | News | Music / Festivals | 9th May 2014

Pack up your hemp baskets and herbal healing tents and swap 'em for some New Rock boots and a devil's horns salute: Metallica have been announced to headline Glastonbury Festival 2014. The US heavy metal...

Tags: Metallica - Glastonbury Festival

Metallica and Lang Lang? 5 More Divergent Musical Collaborations

by Michael West | News | Music / Festivals | 27th January 2014

Metallica teamed up with the phenomenally talented Chinese pianist Lang Lang at the 56th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday (January 26, 2013). It was a strange collaboration on paper, though offered a brooding intensity to...

Tags: Metallica - Lang Lang - Grammy Awards

Metallica Team Up With Classical Pianist Lang Lang For Anniversary Performance Of 'One'

by Victoria Pavlova | News | Music / Festivals | 27th January 2014

Since their first appearance at the Grammys exactly 25 years ago, Metallica have often experimented with classical instruments. Back then, they played One, but lost the Hard Rock/Metal Performance award to flute-mongers Jethro Tull. Last...

Tags: Metallica - Lang Lang

BBFC Makes Plans To Introduce Music Video Age Ratings To Combat Inappropriate Themes

by Lauren James | News | Music / Festivals | 16th January 2014

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has announced plans for a new age-rating system designed to tackle online music videos deemed inappropriate material for young people. The organisation's assistant director, David Austin, said the...

Tags: Miley Cyrus - Robin Thicke - Beyonce Knowles - Metallica - Robbie Williams

Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr Confirmed For Grammy Awards Performance. Does This Spell A Beatles Showcase?

by Joe Wilde | News | Music / Festivals | 15th January 2014

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are set to perform at this years 56th Grammy Awards, with their inclusion to the Grammys set list being announced this week by the music awards showcase. Although the organisers...

Tags: Sir Paul McCartney - Ringo Starr - Beatles - Taylor Swift - Keith Urban - Carole King

'Metallica Through The Never': Prepare For A 3D Rock Movie Like No Other

by Lauren James | News | Music / Festivals | 27th September 2013

Metallica's action music movie, Metallica Through The Never, is smashing into IMAX theaters today in the USA and is preparing to blast wannabe concert documentaries (cough-OneDirection-cough) out of the stadium with a mind-blowing mash-up of...

Tags: Metallica

Metallica Rock Comic-Con With Secret Show And Airing Of New Trailer [Video]

by Joe Wilde | News | Movies / TV / Theatre | 22nd July 2013

Metallica rocked out and geeked out at this years San Diego Comic Con International this weekend when they performed a surprise show at the California gathering, where they also aired a clip from their upcoming...

Tags: Metallica

Dane DeHaan Stars In Metallica 'Through the Never' Teaser [Trailer]

by Contributor | News | Movies / TV / Theatre | 28th May 2013

You know you’re making it as an actor when you appear in a Metallica music video, right? That’s what the up and comer Dane DeHaan must be reckoning, after the star of the forthcoming Amazing...

Tags: Dane DeHaan - Metallica

Metallica Through The Never

Video | 28th May 2013

Trip is a young and inexperienced roadie who is charged with the important mission of finding a damaged delivery vehicle and retrieving a valuable item that was on its way to sold-out Metallica concert. However,...

Tags: Metallica - Dane DeHaan - James Hetfield - Lars Ulrich - Kirk Hammett - Robert Trujillo

Metallica's Orion Festival Reveals 2013 Line-Up, Including Red Hot Chili Peppers

by Contributor | News | Music / Festivals | 25th February 2013

Metallica have revealed the line-up for their second annual Orion Music + More Festival, and as you’d expect from the ageing veterans of heavy metal, it’s one that bristles with more noise and riffs than...

Tags: Metallica - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Deftones - Rise Against

The Toys Are Back In The Pram - Metallica Back Catalogue Launched On Spotify

by Hayley Avron | News | Music / Festivals | 7th December 2012

Twelve years after waging war with Napster, Metallica have finally softened their approach to allowing fans to access their music online. The long-lasting metal band will be making their back catalogue available to stream on...

Tags: Metallica - Sir Paul McCartney - Justin Bieber

Spotify Proves Financial Worth to Artists, and Give QandA about New Features

by Lorna Greville  | News | | 7th December 2012

Every single publishing industry, from music, to academic journals, to books have fretted enormously over the impact that digital publishing and online streaming may have on their revenues. Spotify has been part of revolutionising the...

Tags: Metallica - Mumford And Sons - Sean Parker

CMT Awards 2012 - Results Are Top Secret For First Time Ever

by Hayley Avron | News | Music / Festivals | 5th December 2012

The 2012 CMT Country Music Awards took place on Monday (December 3, 2012) in Nashville but this year, the winners will be kept top secret until Saturday December 8, when the star-studded show will be...

Tags: Rascal Flatts - Hayden Panettiere - Jason Aldean - Lady Antebellum - Kenny Chesney - Sheryl Crow

Hit So Hard

Video | 22nd March 2012

Patty Schemel is known to many as the drummer in Hole from 1992 to 1996. Born in Seattle, she formed Kill Sybil at the age of fifteen with her brother. Five years later, she joined...

Tags: Patty Schemel - Hole - Courtney Love - Melissa Auf der Maur - Kurt Cobain - Phranc

Back to top

Metallica Images

More Metallica Pictures

Back to top

Metallica Interviews

Back to top