Metallica was formed on October 1981 in Los Angeles by drummer Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, vocals and guitarist, after placing classified ads on The Recycler.
From the ad they recruited Ron McGovney as bassist, but were unable to find a fulltime lead guitarist, which resulted in a number of guitarists like Brad Parker, Jeff Warner and Lloyd Grant.
The band name Metallica came from an idea by a promoter of the San Francisco metal scene named Ron Quintana. When Quintana asked Lars Ulrich to examine a list of names for his new magazine promoting British and U.S. metal bands, Ulrich picked Metal Mania for Quintana`s magazine and used Metallica for his band.
In 1983, Metallica recorded its first album entitled Kill Em All at Rochester, New York. Although the album did not produce them instant success, it did gave them exposure and a growing number of fans in the underground scene.
After a year, Metallica released a major hit song Ride the Lightning, which features a more introspective, slower and newer style. Although this song became an instant success, some fans were discouraged and accused Metallica of selling out.
After the release of Ride the Lightning, major labels wanted Metallica. However, the band chose Elektra and released Master of Puppets in 1986. Although Metallica failed to release any single for the 1986 album, it was still regarded as the album that gave way to their success breakthrough.
When Metallica was invited to open for Ozzy Osbourne, their album climbed up to Billboard Top Album Chart #29. Until today, many people still consider Master of Puppets as the greatest heavy metal album of all time.
When Cliff Burton was killed by a freak accident in 1986 at a European show, Metallica discontinued playing for a while until they decided that Burton would have wanted them to continue their music. A few weeks after Burton`s funeral, with plenty of auditions to replace Burton, Metallica finally decided on picking Jason Newsted.
...And Justice for All was the first album where Newsted played bass. With much controversy, it was released in 1988. The following year, Metallica 1988 album was nominated for its first Grammy. Unfortunately, Jethro Tull`s Crest of a Knave won the award.
Three years later, the band won a Grammy for Enter Sandman from Metallica`s 1991 self-titled album, also known as The Black Album. It instantly became a hit and became the band`s most popular song to date.
When Metallica entered the mainstream in 1991, they were able to sell over ten million albums in U.S. alone. It was in 1996 that Metallica switched to alternative rock for their Load album. Unfortunately, many fans were discouraged of the sudden change in music style.
In 1992`s Reload, Metallica produced a major comeback as a metal group and their worldwide fans hailed their return. Their success continued throughout the end of 1990s. However, in 2001, Jason Newsted left the band for personal reasons while James Hetfield stayed in rehab for a couple of months.
In 2002, Lars Ulrich, the now sober James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and their long-time producer Bob Rock who replaced Newsted continued in creating Metallica`s 11th album entitled St. Anger, which produced a more mature, honest and heavy sound that fans worldwide continue to love.
To this day Metallica is considered one of the true pioneers in heavy metal. - By Jimmy Cox