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Quite arguably one of the greatest bands over the last 30+ years, Metallica have gone from thrash pioneers in underground venues to sold-out arenas all over the world, multi-platinum selling albums, nine Grammy Awards and even an annual Metallica Night every season with the San Francisco Giants baseball club.
Beginning in Los Angeles, California, with singer/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich the only two constant members, they found bassist Cliff Burton who would only play with the band if they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Northern California thrash scene was born. Firing now Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine while recording the first album, they quickly hired Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett to play lead, and has remained with the band since.
After a tour in Europe supporting the critically acclaimed Master of Puppets album, Burton lost his life in a tragic bus accident. Without taking too much of a break, the band held auditions for bass players, including Primus’ Les Claypool, with the job eventually being given to Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted. Newsted played with the band for 15 years, until turmoil set in the band, and he left to form his own band Echobrain.
After some deep therapy within the band, Hetfield’s stint in rehab and hiring former Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves Robert Trujillo, who is now in his 11th year with the band, as seen in the Some Kind of Monster documentary, Metallica came back fighting and stronger than ever.
In celebration of the Mighty Metallica and their 30 years, we look at the top 10 songs ranging from their ultimate head-banging classics, to moody and gut-wrenching power ballads, to a highly sought-after cover song that was only available as a b-side.
Image Credit: INFphoto.com