Awesome Totally Awesome Cliff Burton 5 Best Songs

The Five Best Metallica Songs Co-Written by Cliff Burton

Revered and influential Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died September 27, 1986 during the Master of Puppets Tour in Sweden. He was 24 years old.

Burton was killed when Metallica’s tour bus skidded off the road and flipped over into a ditch. He was thrown out the window and the bus landed on him.

Burton helped write many of the great tracks from Metallica’s first three albums.

Here are five of the best songs Burton co-wrote before his untimely death in 1986 (not including his (Anesthesia) – Pulling Teeth”.

“Creeping Death” from Ride the Lightning

One of Metallica’s best tracks, period, “Creeping Death” got it’s title from Burton who coined the term as the band watched The Ten Commandments movie. There’s a part where a plague wipes out every Egyptian first-born child, and Burton is noted as saying “Whoa, it’s like creeping death.” From there the band wrote a song about the Egyptian plagues and titled it “Creeping Death”. Burton’s bass playing on the track is somewhat down in the overall mix, but you can pick it up pretty well in the middle “Die, Die, Die” section, thundering along.

“The Call of Ktulu” from Ride the Lightning

One of the greatest metal instrumentals, “The Call of Ktulu” is a nearly nine-minute masterpiece of mood and melody, with Burton’s playing featuring prominently throughout the track. Whether it’s the bass squeals throughout, the subtle intro notes or his using the pedal wah to create unique bass runs, Burton makes Ktulu an amazing piece of music that perfectly captures the mood of H.P. Lovecraft’s mythical figure Cthulhu rising from the depths of the underground city in the short story “The Call of Cthulhu”.

“For Whom The Bell Tolls” from Ride The Lightning

Another track from Metallica’s sophomore album, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” features Burton playing a nice lead part to open the song and, from there, his bass line – with its amazing sounding tone – carries the track as it marches into battle. The video shot at Day on the Green in Oakland, back in 1985 (and shown on the Cliff ‘Em All video) is probably the best pro-shot performance of Burton live with Metallica. He takes “For Whom the Bell Tolls” to a new level with that intro solo.

“Orion” from Master of Puppets

One of Metallica’s more progressive pieces at the time, “Orion” is a chugging, spacey instrumental prominently featuring Burton’s amazing bass playing, particularly the two bass solos he plays. The first, a section of repeated notes, comes in at 1:42 and goes through until 2:13. There’s a melodic bass interlude in the middle of the track, followed by a Kirk Hammett solo, then Burton really goes to work at at 6:36 on his second solo. As an ode to Burton, James Hetfield has the bass notes from the middle section of “Orion” tattooed onto his left arm, along with Cliff’s name over top of it.

“Damage Inc.” from Master of Puppets

The closing track on the Puppets album, “Damage Inc.” sees Burton creating the build-up intro with bass swells and harmonies, laid out over what he said in an interview with Rock Hard magazine was “eight or 12 tracks of bass, a lot of harmonies and volume swells effects and stuff.” It’s a total thrash monster of a track, propelled by Burton and drummer Lars Ulrich. It’s the last full song recorded on an album with Burton’s playing.

Check out more of Cam Maxwell’s Rock ‘N Roll Insight.

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