Fun fact - Dave Mustaine of Megadeath was the original lead guitarist of Metallica from 1981 to 1983, but was fired for drug and alcohol issues as well as his aggressive conflicts with other band members that lead to their original bassist, Ron McGovney quitting the band in 1982, but that's okay, because McGovney went on to do...Well, not a whole lot, actually.
In the late 80's/early 90's, Metallica was quickly becoming one of the most popular bands in the metal genre. Their first album Kill 'Em All showed that the band had potential, and with it came several hits. With Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, the band showed that they had come into their own, showcasing a style of music dedicated to long riffs, deep lyrics, and sometimes haunting melodies.
Sadly it was after Master of Puppets that Metallica was dealt a crippling blow. During the band's European leg of the tour, bassist Cliff Burton was thrown from the bus during an accident. The bus then rolled, landing on and killing him. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett felt the blow at the time the most as the very bunk that Burton was sleeping in was his. Though the band suspected that the bus driver was drunk, all charges were cleared.
James Hetfield*Kirk Hammett
After recouping and regrouping from their loss, Metallica sought out a new bassist. Jason Newsted, who was described as a crazy, energetic young man, joined the group, and shortly after the EP Garage Days Re-Visited, the band released ...And Justice For All. With its hit "One," which also featured a very disturbing video that MTV loved to play, the band only grew in popularity.
The bands untitled follow up album, which became known as "The Black Album" helped the band to truly find success, but at the same time also dealt another blow with the loss of some of their original fans. While the album featured numerous commercial hits, fans of the earlier Metallica albums felt that the band had sold out, becoming too commercial in the process. A humorous quote from Hetfield in an interview to the question of, "Has the band sold out," was, "We sell out every time we have a tour." He was of course referring to the tickets/seats for each concert.
Jason Newstead*Lars Ulrich
As the end of the 1990's approached, Metallica pressed forward with the albums Load and Reload. Both albums were once again criticized by long term fans as being too commercial, and despite their commercial success failed to find the air time and hits that "The Black Album" had. Reload would also be the last studio album featuring Jason Newstead.
Though the band stayed very active over the next few years, and even released the live album S&M, they wouldn't return to the studio for their next album until 2003's St. Anger. Due to Newstead quitting the band prior to production, and then being put on hold once again while Hetfield went into rehab, the album almost never saw the light of day, and also almost brought upon the break up of the band. The album features a very raw, heavy metal style, but disappoints in regard that it has no guitar solos. Upon release of the album Metallica hired Ozzy Osbourne bassist Robert Trujillo. This would also be the final album that Metallica would release under the Elektra logo.
Fun fact - Jason Newsted briefly toured with Ozzy Osbourne when Trujillo quit and joined Metallica.
With the album, Death Magnetic, Metallica returned to their roots with thrash metal, long, technical guitar solos and more complex musical compositions. The album quickly became Metallica's fifth number one Billboard album - The first band to have five number one albums on Billboard no less.
Their latest album, Lulu (2011) featured Lou Reed in his final studio recordings before his death. The album was a conceptual work based on the original plays of the same name written by German playwrite Frank Wedekind. The album features very few sung lyrics, and instead focuses on spoken words by Reed with occasional backing words by Hetfield. All of this is overlaid on original music composed by Metallica. The album received mostly negative reviews. Many claim the album has done irreparable damage to the band that they will never recover from.
James Hetfield announced in an October 2013 interview that the band was currently sifting through material to compile a tenth studio album, so while Lulu may have hit rock bottom, Metallica isn't ready to be counted as down and out. The only question now is, "Can they come back from it?"
Join us next time when we take a look at The Nanny!
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