25 years ago today, the metal community lost one of the most gifted and influential metal bassists of all time, Cliff Burton. Metallica was touring Sweden in support of Master Of Puppets when their bus flipped off the road, killing Burton instantly. While Metallica continued on, Burton’s legacy and his contribution to their first three albums is still held in high regard.
In honor of Cliff Burton, we decided to share a few of our favorite Metallica songs featuring the late great bassist. Check out the five songs (in no particular order) we chose, along with clips of each song, after the jump.
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” from Ride The Lightning– The song’s intro (which Burton actually wrote prior to joining Metallica) features one of the best and most recognizable bass riffs in metal history. Plus, one could argue that it was Metallica’s first truly epic anthem (and at the time a departure from the thrash speed style made famous on Kill Em All).
“Orion” from Master Of Puppets– The instrumental track shows Burton taking the lead, while also showing off Metallica’s new progressive style. It was a highly emotional moment when Metallica dedicated the song to their late bandmate during the Big 4’s Yankee Stadium show.
“Creeping Death” from Ride The Lightning– It’s truly an experience like no other to be in an arena filled with metal heads screaming “DIE, DIE, DIE” in unison with James Hetfield when Metallica perform the second single off of Ride The Lightning. The song’s title was actually inspired by Burton after watching The Ten Commandments. After watching the second half of the movie, is based upon the bible tale of the plagues which bestowed upon the Egyptians, Burton apparently said “whoa, it’s like a creeping death.”
“Master Of Puppets” from Master Of Puppets– The title track to arguably one of the greatest metal albums of all time was also Burton’s favorite song off the album. It’s also become a staple for every Metallica set (having been performed live 1,378 times at the time of this posting).
“(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” from Kill Em All– This is more of a bass solo than an actual song. However, Kill Em All’s sole instrumental track highlights how gifted Burton truly was.
During Metallica’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Burton’s father, Ray, was on hand to accept the honor in his son’s behalf. His acceptance speech can be seen below.