The bassist of hard rock stalwarts Metallica would have been 50 this week. Metallica is one of the highest-grossing rock bands of all time, still touring relentlessly to this day.
Burton died during a freak accident while touring Europe in 1986, just as the band was reaching a new level of super-stardom that they had only previously dreamed of. They were doing shows to back their now-legendary hard rock opus Master Of Puppets, cut tragically short during a tour bus accident that overturned on an ice sheet in the night.
A Modern Day Master
Burton was a raging whirlwind while on bass. He was considered the heart and soul of the band that was poised to take over the heavy metal world. His performances set the world of underground metal on fire and began the massive, months-long buzz behind Metallica that culminated in the mother load of all job offers – the opening slot for Ozzy Ozbourne in 1985. Though Ozzy and the band are very friendly with each other now, the band’s inexperience on major tours made them a bit of a nuisance to Ozzy, which eventually got them removed from the last few shows at his request.
Cliff Burton Dies While On Tour
The band was finally getting back on its feet after James Hetfield broke his wrist while skateboarding. The night’s show was his return and the band was fired up to new levels of aggression. Unfortunately, the Stockholm show would be Burton’s last.
Traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen the band draws cards to figure out who will sleep in which bunk. Cliff draws the ace of spades and chooses to sleep in Kirk’s bunk. Sometime around dawn, the bus driver loses control of the bus, which skids out of control and rolls over several times. James, Kirk and Lars survive with no serious injuries, but Cliff Burton is pinned under the bus and dies.
Cliff Burton Feb. 10th 1962 – Sept. 27th 1986.
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