Metallica is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1981. The band was founded when James Hetfield responded to an advertisement that drummer Lars Ulrich had posted in a local newspaper. The current line-up features long-time lead guitarist Kirk Hammett who joined the band in 1983 and bassist Robert Trujillo a member since 2003, alongside Hetfield and Ulrich. Notable previous members of the band include former lead guitarist Dave Mustaine who later went on to found the band Megadeth and former bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted. The band also had a long collaboration with producer Bob Rock, who produced all of the bands albums from 1990 to 2003 and served as a temporary bassist between the departure of Newsted and the hiring of Trujillo.
Metallica started playing locally, releasing its first widely circulated demo, “No Life 'til Leather,” in 1982. The demo caught the attention of Johny Zazula, who signed Metallica to Megaforce Records.
The band released “Kill 'Em All” in 1983, and the following year they released “Ride the Lightning.” “Ride the Lightning” featured the songs, "For Whom the Bell Tolls,” "Fade to Black,” "Creeping Death" and the instrumental "The Call of Ktulu." After “Ride the Lightning” came out, Metallica left Megaforce and signed to Elektra Records.
In March 1986, the band released its third studio album, “Master of Puppets,” which was Metallica's first album to be certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album reached #29 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, and where it spent 72 weeks. While promoting the album, Burton was killed in a bus accident. Jason Newsted was hired as a replacement and the band's first release to feature the new member was an EP of cover songs.
“...And Justice for All” was released in August 1988 and peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 the band's first album to enter the Top 10. In 1989, Metallica received its first Grammy Award nomination for “…And Justice for All,” in the new Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrument category.
Metallica's fifth, self-titled album (also known as “The Black Album”) was released in 1991 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. “Metallica” has since been certified 15x platinum by the RIAA. “Metallica” produced five hit singles that are considered today among the band's best-known songs, "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven," "Nothing Else Matters," "Wherever I May Roam,” and "Sad but True."
Metallica wrote enough material for a double album, but released it as two separate albums, 1996’s “Load” and 1997’s “ReLoad.” “Load” spent four consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard 200. The album has sold over 5 million copies in America, and is certified 5x platinum by the RIAA. “ReLoad” also debuted #1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified 3x platinum by the RIAA.
After the release of a covers album and a live album, Newsted departed from the band. Metallica recorded “St. Anger” without an official bassist with the bass parts for the writing & recording during the album sessions done by the band's longtime producer Bob Rock. Robert Trujillo was hired as Metallica's newest bassist in 2003. In June 2003, “St. Anger,” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. The title track, "St. Anger,” won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2004.
Metallica recorded a cover of Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" for a tribute album titled “We All Love Ennio Morricone,” released in February 2007. The cover received a Grammy nomination at the 50th Grammy Awards for the category Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
The band released its ninth studio album, 2008’s “Death Magnetic,” which was produced by Rick Rubin. “Death Magnetic” debuted at #1 in the U.S. making Metallica the first band to have five consecutive studio albums debut at #1 in the history of the Billboard 200.
Metallica has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, with over 60 million records in the United States alone.