Today commemorates 25 years since the death of Metallica bass player, Cliff Burton.
We all know Metallica as the metal behemoth it is today: headlining Big 4 concerts and selling countless albums across the world. All of this is built on the foundation of the band’s early days and the three albums that in the same amount of years turned them from exciting new band to greatest band in the world.
On Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, and Master Of Puppets, Cliff Burton’s basslines are there for all to hear – not buried under the steam train of noise from his bandmates but just as loud, proud, fast, and heavy as them. He was an exceptional talent, one that disappeared all too soon.
During a European tour when Metallica was promoting its latest album, Master Of Puppets, tragedy struck. The band’s tour bus skidded off the road in Sweden on the morning of September 27, 1986. Cliff Burton was dead at only 24 years of age.
Burton brought something different to the band, both musically and aesthetically. In photoshoots, next to his spandex and high-top sneaker wearing bandmates stood Burton in full denim and leather boots, often with his ‘Misfits’ arm tattoo on display.
Burton’s musical body of works may be in relatively short supply, but it’s quality that counts. With those three classic metal albums to his name, quality was assured and a new benchmark was raised.
As good and great as Cliff’s replacement Jason Newsted and his subsequent replacement Robert Trujillo are, Burton’s leather boots have never been filled.