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Remembering Metallicas Cliff Burton

Photo, loudwire

26 years ago, one of Metals brightest stars went out.

Cliff Burton died in a bus accident  in 1986.  Cliff was and is, one of my all time favorite bassists.  I discovered Metallica at the same time I was just beginning to learn to play the bass and he totally showed me (and everybody else!) another way to go with it!

It wasn’t just me. He inspired legions of musicians and bassists with his writing, talent and ability. (Dave Mustaine of Megadeth wrote “In My Darkest Hour” after hearing of Cliffs death.) His influence stills hovers over Metal today. 

He moved far beyond just holding down the low end or keeping simple rythyms; he made that Rickenbacher SING!  There were then .. and there are now … lead guitarists who aren’t as quick and fluid as Cliff Burton.

I remember hearing “For Whom The Bell Tolls” several times before I realized that intro is Cliff and not one of the guitars.  I spent hours and hours and hours trying to get “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” figured out!  (I still can’t play it all the way through.)  I got to see him play live once and it was incredible.  That night forever locked me in as a bass player!

If you’re a bassist and you’re unfamiliar with Cliffs playing, get busy!  His career was cut way to short, but what he did in those few years stands as solidly today as it did then.  

If you are a bassist … and Cliff devotee … have a drink to him today and thank him for what he gave us.  Then get back to trying to figure out Anesthesia!

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(If you’d like to hear that with cleaner sound, click here.)

Cliff, thank you.  


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