The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

back to profile

Metallica Timeline


Cliff Burton, bassist for Metallica, is born in Castro Valley, California.


Kirk Hammett, guitarist for Metallica, is born in San Francisco.


Jason Newsted, bassist for Metallica, is born in Battle Creek, Michigan.


James Hetfield, singer and guitarist for Metallica, is born in Los Angeles.


Lars Ulrich, drummer for Metallica, is born in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Robert Trujillo, bassist for Metallica, is born in Santa Monica, California.


Inspired by the new wave of British heavy metal, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich form Metallica in Los Angeles. Their first recorded song, “Hit the Lights,” is included on Metal Massacre, a multi-band compilation on the Metal Blade label.


Metallica records a seven-song tape, No Life ‘Til Leather.


Metallica records its first album, Kill ‘Em All, a tour de force of virtuosic thrash metal. It is released on the Megaforce label and re-released by Elektra Records in 1986 and (with bonus tracks) in 1988.


Metallica’s second album, Ride the Lightning, is released on Megaforce Records. It will be re-released three months later on their new label, Elektra Records).


Master of Puppets, Metallica’s third album, is released. It will become Metallica’s first gold album.


Cliff Burton, bassist for Metallica, dies instantly when the band’s tour bus crashes on an icy highway in Sweden.


Metallica releases The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited. It comprises covers of five favorite British metal numbers.


Metallica releases Cliff ‘Em All, their first long-form video, consisting largely of fan-filmed concert footage. It would eventually be certified four times platinum by the RIAA.


The Monsters of Rock tour, a hard-rock and heavy-metal package tour, begins in Michigan. The bands include Metallica, Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Kingdom Come.


...And Justice for All, by Metallica, is released. This titanic double album includes “One” (#35), their first hit single.


Metallica commences its first headlining tour of American arenas, a 120-date marathon.


“One” wins Metallica its first Grammy for Best Metal Performance at the 32nd annual Grammy Awards.


Metallica’s untitled fifth album (a.k.a. “The Black Album”) is released. The album yields five hit singles, including “Enter Sandman” (#16), “The Unforgiven” (#35) and “Nothing Else Matters” (#34).


Metallica wins a Grammy for Best Heavy Metal Album for Metallica (a.k.a. “The Black Album”) at the 34th annual Grammy Awards.


Metallica issues a triple-CD, triple-videotape box set titled Live Shit: Binge and Purge.


Metallica’s Load is released. It enters the album chart at #1, selling 680,000 copies in the first week and becoming the year’s best-selling rock album.


This summer edition of the Lollapalooza tour, headlined by Metallica, kicks off in Kansas City.


Metallica issues Re-Load, the followup and companion album to Load. Like its predecessor, it reaches #1.


Metallica’s Garage, Inc., a double-disc of metal and hard-rock covers, is released. It reaches #2 on the album chart.


The mayor of San Francisco proclaims “Metallica Day.” Later this month, Metallica performs two concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, the highlights of which are released in November as the two-disc S&M.


Longtime bassist Jason Newsted quits Metallica. His replacement, Robert Trujillo, isn’t hired until 2003.


Metallica releases St. Anger, its eighth studio album of original material and fifth #1 album.


Metallica’s self-titled 1991 release (a.k.a. “The Black Album”) is certified 14 time platinum (signifying 14 million copies sold) by the RIAA. Their Binge and Purge CD and video box set is certified 15 times platinum on the same day.


Some Kind of Monster, a candid documentary about Metallica’s efforts to confront its long-simmering demons with psychotherapy, debuts at the Sundance Film Festival.


For Black Sabbath’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Metallica performs several of the British metal pioneers’ songs at the induction ceremony.


Metallica’s Death Magnetic, the group’s 10th studio album, is released. It enters Billboard’s album chart at #1 and receives platinum certification (1 million copies sold) a month later.


Metallica is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 24th Annual Ceremony. Flea is their presenter.