Metallica's biggest tragedy and haunting song that pays tribute to lost member

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The tragedy of Metallica as band member died in horrifying accident (Image: Getty Images)
The tragedy of Metallica as band member died in horrifying accident (Image: Getty Images)

Metallica will forever be touted as one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time.

Formed in the early eighties in Los Angeles, the band wrote songs including Seek and Destroy, You and Fade to Black. The metal legends are currently on their M72 World Tour and set to play two shows at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey this weekend.

However, one song, in particular, holds a deeper, more tragic meaning to the bandmates, and that is, Master of Puppets.

Released in 1986 as part of their third studio album of the same name, Master of Puppets is not only the band's most-played song of all time, but it marked the last project of Metallica's original bassist Cliff Burton.

Unfortunately, Cliff tragically passed away following a horror bus crash in September 1986 while the band was on tour for Master of Puppets in Sweden.

Corrupt cop who accepted Metallica tickets and family holidays jailed for bribes rriddqixxiqezinvCorrupt cop who accepted Metallica tickets and family holidays jailed for bribes
Metallica's biggest tragedy and haunting song that pays tribute to lost memberMetallica is one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time (Getty Images)

Speaking on VH1's Behind the Music, bandmate Kirk Hammett explained that he and Cliff cut cards to decide who got the comfortable window-side bunk for the night while making the long journey to their next show.

Cliff ended up winning and settled into the bunk to sleep. However, the bus hit a patch of black ice, according to the driver, and skidded off-road. The bunks had no safety restraints, and Cliff was violently thrown through the bus window, which fell on top of him, killing him instantly.

He was only 24 years old when he died.

Metallica's biggest tragedy and haunting song that pays tribute to lost memberBandmember Cliff Burton tragically passed away following a horror bus crash in September 1986 (Redferns)
Metallica's biggest tragedy and haunting song that pays tribute to lost memberHe was only 24 years old at the time of his passing (Getty Images)

The following month there was a memorial service for Cliff in his native San Francisco at Chapel Of The Valley in Castro Valley, which was attended by his immediate family, his girlfriend Corrinne, best friends Jim Martin and David DiDonato.

The rest of Metallica, Bobby Schneider and their co-manager Peter Mensch, were also in attendance. Speaking of his late friend and bandmate, Kirk told LouderSound in 2022: "Cliff had a lot of integrity.

Metallica's biggest tragedy and haunting song that pays tribute to lost memberOver the years, Cliff has been remembered fondly by his Metallica bandmates (Redferns)

"And his way of expressing that integrity was in one stock sentence, which I still use to this day, and it was: 'I don't give a f***.' He really just cared about the music and the integrity behind the music. He was just very, very real."

Cliff's girlfriend Corrinne, at the time of his passing, also remembered him fondly, adding to the publication: "Cliff followed his own drummer; he literally did not give a s*** what other people thought. He had amazing self-confidence."

Shortly after his passing, Metallica wrote a tribute to Burton named To Live Is to Die For from their fourth studio album, And Justice for All.

Jason Newsted joined the band after Cliff's death but Robert Trujillo is the band's longest-serving bassist after he joined in 2003.

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Jabeen Waheed

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