Metallica was formed in 1981, in Los Angeles, California USA and emerged as one of the most important band of the '80s Hard-Rock scene setting the new standard for Metal in the three decades to follow. The original line-up included singer + guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, bass player Cliff Burton and drummer Lars Ulrich.
The band's debut album, "Kill 'Em All", was released in 1983 on Elektra Records, a raw album with lots of aggression and excellent riffs, that received enthusiastic reviews from critics.
"Ride The Lightning" followed one year later, reaching the #100 position on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.
In 1986 Metallica put out their third album, "Master Of Puppets", the record climbed into the top 30 of The Billboard 200. Later that year, on September 27, tragedy struck the band when Burton was killed in a tragic tour-bus accident on some icy highways between Stockholm and Copenhagen. The remaining members decided to continue and bassist Jason Newsted was chosen to replace Cliff Burton.
Two years later, the group, with "...And Justice For All", crashed
into the top 10 of The Billboard 200 Albums list and the U.S. top
40 hit single, "One", won a Grammy for best Metal Performance.
Metallica won their second Grammy with the cover of Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" which was included in the 1990's compilation "Rubaiyat: Elektra's 40th Anniversary".
The band returned with an eponymous 1991 release that came in an all-black
cover; more melodic than earlier works, the album debuted at #1 in Australia, Canada, U.K. and U.S. where it was certified 16 x platinum. It spawned an impressive array of hit singles beginning with the specially constructed for arena-Rock "Enter Sandman" which hit #16 on The Billboard Hot 100 and #10 on The Mainstream Rock chart; "The Unforgiven" was also a top 40 in U.S. and a top 10 at Active Rock radio. The transatlantic hit ballad "Nothing Else Matters" peaked at #11 on The Mainstream Rock list, while "Sad But True" and "Wherever I May Roam" reached #15 and #25, respectively, on the same chart.
Their self-titled record, popularly known as “The Black Album”, won them another Grammy for Best Metal Performance.
The next album marked a change in image for the band that decided to explore a new direction toward Alternative-Rock, when "Load" was released in June 1996, it shot to #1 in almost every country, selling over 5 million copies in U.S. alone. The record generated "Hero Of The Day" and "Until It Sleeps", which both peaked at #1 on The Mainstream Rock chart, with the latter also reaching #10 on The Billboard Hot 100. A third single, "Ain't My Bitch", hit #15 on The Mainstream Rock list and the subsequent singles, "Bleeding Me" and "King Nothing", both rocketed to #6 on the same chart.
"Reload", the Rock titans' seventh studio album was released in the fall of 1997 and once again Metallica topped The Billboard 200 chart; the disc spawned another string of Mainstream Rock massive hit singles: "The Memory Remains" peaked at #3, "The Unforgiven II" hit #2, "Fuel" #6, "Better Than You" reached the #7 position and won them a Grammy for Best Metal Performance.
In November 1998 Metallica issued "Garage Inc.", a collection of B-sides, rarities and covers, which included the Active Rock #1 hit single "Turn The Page"; their adaptation of the traditional song, "Whiskey In The Jar", peaked at #4 on The Mainstream Rock chart and won for Best Hard Rock Performance at 42nd Annual Grammy Awards. The double-CD set eventually rose to #2 on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart with a certification of five-times platinum.
The following year the group had another huge hit album: "S&M", recorded live with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, it opened at #2 on The Billboard 200 and yielded the Mainstream Rock chart-topper, "No Leaf Clover". The live set also included "The Call Of Ktulu" which was awarded a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
The year 2000 saw the big M contributed the Mainstream Rock #1 smash "I
Disappear" to the soundtrack of the film "Mission Impossible
2" with Tom Cruise, the song also crossed over into The Modern Rock
Tracks falling short of making it on the top 10.
Newsted announced his departure in January of the following year, he left without much drama after almost 15 years service with the band, Robert Trujillo stepped in to fill his shoes.
In 2003 Metallica returned at the top of The Billboard 200 chart with "St. Anger" which became quickly an international hit reconfirming their immense popularity, the record was awarded Best Metal Performance at 46th annual Grammy ceremony. The disc spawned no less than four Active Rock charting single: the title-track hit #2, "Some Kind Of Monster" peaked at #19, "Frantic" reached the #21 spot and "The Unnamed Feeling" weighed in at #28.
"The Ecstasy Of Gold", a track that the band have used as a concert intro for years, was featured on the 2007's album entitled "We All Love Ennio Morricone", a tribute compilation to the iconic Italian film composer; the single reached #21 on The Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.
Just before the band released a new album, they recorded "Remember Tomorrow" for another tribute release: "Maiden Heaven: A Tribute To Iron Maiden"; the track made a dent on the Active Rock top 40.
Metallica made their triumphant return in September 2008 with the worldwide #1 album "Death Magnetic". The disc's first single, "The Day That Never Comes", debuted at the top of The Hot Mainstream Rock chart and was followed by the Active Rock top 40 hit "My Apocalypse". The third single, "Cyanide" also went to #1 on The Hot Mainstream Rock list, while "All Nightmare Long" and "Broken, Beat And Scarred" peaked at #9 and #15, respectively, on that same chart.
In October 2011 was released "Lulu", a collaborative album between the band and legendary singer songwriter Lou Reed.
In 2014, to celebrate Ronnie James Dio, one of Hard-Rock's most powerful voices, Metallica cut "Ronnie Rising Medley", a medley of four different Rainbow songs which clocks in at over nine minutes.