Cliff Burton: Twenty Five Years Have Now Passed

As we’ve been using the blog to speak the occasional memorial words when one of the Metal providers leaves this plane of existence, I felt that when its appropriate to do so, that some thoughts should be compiled when someone of note reaches a big anniversary year. That being said, isn’t it amazing to realize that bassist Cliff Burton from Metallica has been gone for twenty five years? If memory serves me correctly I was at a street festival with a bunch of fellow musicians when we learned the news. In those days you heard about it on the radio stations and maybe television if they felt the person was worth bringing up to the viewers. Life before instant connection to the Internet was very different. Still we got by.

Cliff was beloved by the Metal community for his interesting bass techniques and creativity. As a member of Metallica he was a crucial creative piece and made their early works all the more interesting. He recorded their first three albums and it would be during their Damage Inc. tour for the “Master Of Puppets” album that we would lose him. A tour bus accident would be the culprit in the end and while many still wonder how this could have happened, it did and Cliff was gone. The guys were in Sweden at the time of this occurrence.

In the years since his passing Burton has remained an influential force in Metal especially when it came to bass players. One has to wonder that if he was still alive today would he be still playing Metal or even still among the ranks of Metallica. I can only imagine how different that band would have been had he lived and continued recording with them. Vintage footage was released by Metallica on VHS called “Cliff 'Em All” and this has since been re-issued on DVD which is a good thing since no one seems to use those old tapes anymore. There is even a great biography entitled “To Live Is To Die: The Life and Death of Cliff Burton” by Joel McIver and a cool collection of vintage Metallica history in photos by Bill Hale called “Metallica: Club Daze. All stuff that is worthy of your attention and including in the music library.

When Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” album had come out I was finally finding myself getting “into” them. Yes I owned the first two recordings but they were not my favorites at that point in my life. I enjoyed the heaviness and some of the groove but I held other groups on a higher level in comparison. Being in a band at the time one did need these LP’s because it was standard Metalhead issue and I was following the pack. With “Master” I was sold though and I think that a lot of it had to do with the solid bass riffing that was taking the bands sound in numerous directions. Thank you Cliff for all that you gave to Metal. You continue to influence many and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Learn more about the musical life of Cliff Burton by checking out his Wikipedia entry HERE.

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