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The heavy metal band Metallica formed in 1981 in Los Angeles California when drummer Lars Ulrich advertised in a local newspaper that he was looking for fellow musicians to play with. James Hetfield answered the ad, began jamming with Urlich. After forming the band, a lead guitarist Dave Mustaine who also answered the ad, was recruited. In 1982 the band recorded their first original song “Hit the Lights”, for the “Metal Massacre I Compilation”. Their first live performance took place that year on March 14, 1982 at Radio City in Anaheim, California with Ron McGovney on bass. At that time, the band recorded its first demo, “Power Metal”. At the end of 1982, Cliff Burton replaced McGovney. Metallica's first live performance with Burton was at the nightclub “The Stone” in March 1983 and he first featured in the “Megaforce” demo. Johny “Z” Zazula signed Metallica to Megaforce Records that year.
In May 1983, Metallica went to Rochester, New York to record their album, “Metal up Your Ass”. Due to drug and alcohol abuse and violent behaviour, Kirk Hammett replaced Mustaine. Their first live performance with Hammett took place on April 16, 1983 at the nightclub “The Showplace” in Dover, New Jersey. Their debut album was renamed “Kill 'Em All” and released by Megaforce Records in the United States and Music for Nations in Europe in 1988. The album reached number 120 on the Billboard 200 and earned the band a growing fan base in the underground metal scene. The band set off on the promotional tour, “Kill 'Em All for One tour”, alongside the band Raven.
In February 1984, Metallica supported Venom on the “Seven Dates of Hell tour,” where the band played in front of 7,000 people at the Aardschok Festival in Zwolle, Netherlands. Metallica’s second studio album “Ride the Lightning” was recorded at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark and released in August 1984 and reach 100 on the Billboard 200. Metallica then signed to Elektra Records. A limited edition "Creeping Death" single was released by the band’s British label Music for Nations selling 40,000 copies as an import in the US. Two of the three songs on the record were featured on the 1989 Elektra reissue of “Kill 'Em All.”
At that time, the band began their first major European tour alongside Tank. Back in the US Metallica went on tour co-headlining with W.A.S.P. and supported by Armored Saint. Their biggest performance to that date was at the Monsters of Rock festival on August 17, 1985, with Bon Jovi and Ratt at Donington Park in England, where they played for 70,000 people. At the “Day on the Green” festival in Oakland, California, the band performed in front of 60,000. Their third studio album was released in March 1886 titled “Master of Puppets.”
The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200, and was on the chart for 72 weeks. The album was the band's first to be certified gold and in 2003, six times platinum. To promote the album the band supported Ozzy Osbourne for a United States tour.
Burton’s sudden death in 1986 left the band’s future in doubt however the three remaining members decided to carry on and Jason Newsted replaced Burton. To pay respect to Burton a video “Cliff 'Em All” was released in 1987 including bass solos, home videos, and pictures. An Extended Play titled “The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited” was released in August that year and their first album after Burton’s death “...And Justice for All” was released in 1988. The album reached number six on the Billboard 200, the band's first album to enter the top 10 was certified platinum nine weeks after release. To promote the album Metallica embarked on the “Damaged Justice Tour”. Metallica performed the song “One” at the Grammy Awards in 1989. In 1991 “Metallica”, aka “The Black Album” released and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 650,000 units in its first week. The album is the 26th best-selling album in the United States. The promotional tour titled “Wherever We May Roam Tour” lasted 14 months and included venues in the United States, Japan, and the UK. The making of “Metallica” and the tour were chronicled in the documentary “A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica”.
In April 1992, Metallica appeared at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. A box set was released in November 1993 called “Live Shit: Binge & Purge”. The band headlined at Woodstock '94. After taking a short time off performing the band did a short tour, “Escape from the studio ‘95” in 1994 which consisted of three shows at Donington Park in the UK. “Load” was released in 1996, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and was followed by “ReLoad” which debuted at number one. In 1998, Metallica assembled a double album of cover songs titled “Garage Inc.” In 1999 “S&M” was released an album consisting of the songs, “No Leaf Clover” and “Human” as well as footage from the two performances with the San Francisco Symphony orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen.
A documentary, “Some Kind of Monster”, recorded by Berlinger and Sinofsky followed the process of the band’s next studio album “St. Anger's”. The title track, “St. Anger”, won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2004 and was used as the official theme song for “WWE's SummerSlam 2003”. In 2003 Robert Trujillo replaced Newsted. After the album’s promotional tour, “the Summer Sanitarium Tour 2003” and the “Madly in Anger with the World Tour” the band took a break from performing and reappeared in November 2005 opening for The Rolling Stones at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
“The Videos 1989–2004”, a DVD containing all the music videos from 1989 to 2004 was released in 2006 and sold 28,000 copies. At that time, Metallica recorded a cover of Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" for a tribute album “We All Love Ennio Morricone”, released in February 2007. In 2008 Metallica’s next studio album, “Death Magnetic”, was released and debuted at number one selling 490,000 copies making Metallica the first band to have five consecutive studio albums debut at number one in the history of the Billboard 200.
Because of their success Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2009. In support of “Death Magnetic” the band set off on the “World Magnetic Tour”. They performed with Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland and in Bucharest, Romania and then in Istanbul, Turkey as part of the Sonisphere Festival. Accompanying their final tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, a live limited edition EP of past performances in Australia was released called Six Feet Down Under. The EP was followed by “Six Feet Down Under Part II”, which includes eight songs recorded during the first two Oceanic Legs of the World Magnetic Tour.
The “big four” members held a performance on April 23, 2011 in Indio, California at the Empire Polo Club. Metallica fans can look forward to more performances in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on July 2, in Sweden on July 3, in Milan, Italy on July 6, in Knebworth House, Hertfordshire on July 8, 2011 as part of the Sonisphere Festival U.K., in France on July 9 and at the “Rock in Rio”, in Rio de Janeiro, on September 25, 2011. Metallica will ensure that the metal never dies.