Fade to Black (song)

Last updated
"Fade to Black"
Metallica - Fade to Black cover.jpg
Promotional single by Metallica
from the album Ride the Lightning
ReleasedSeptember 30, 1984
RecordedFebruary 20 - March 14, 1984 at Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark
Genre Heavy metal
Length6:55
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"Fade to Black" is a song and the first power ballad by American heavy metal band Metallica, released as the first promotional single from its second studio album, Ride the Lightning . The song was ranked as having the 24th best guitar solo ever by Guitar World readers. [1]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

<i>Ride the Lightning</i> 1984 studio album by Metallica

Ride the Lightning is the second studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 27, 1984, by the independent record label Megaforce Records. The album was recorded in three weeks with producer Flemming Rasmussen at the Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. The artwork, based on a concept by the band, depicts an electric chair being struck by lightning flowing from the band logo. The title was taken from a passage in Stephen King's novel The Stand. Although rooted in the thrash metal genre, the album showcased the band's musical growth and lyrical sophistication. This was partly because bassist Cliff Burton introduced the basics of music theory to the rest of the band and had more input in the songwriting. Instead of relying strictly on fast tempos as on its debut Kill 'Em All, Metallica broadened its approach by employing acoustic guitars, extended instrumentals, and more complex harmonies. The overall recording costs were paid by Metallica's European label Music for Nations because Megaforce was unable to cover it. It was the last album to feature songwriting contributions from former lead guitarist Dave Mustaine, and the first to feature contributions from his replacement, Kirk Hammett.

Contents

The song peaked at number 100 on Swiss Singles Chart in 2008. [2] The song is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. [3]

Recording Industry Association of America voluntary association

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization that represents the recording industry in the United States. Its members consist of record labels and distributors, which the RIAA says "create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legally sold recorded music in the United States." The RIAA headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

Background

In an interview with drummer Lars Ulrich on the set of the production MTV Icon: Metallica in 2003, he recalls how he and vocalist/rhythm guitarist James Hetfield were "obsessed with death" at the time the album and song were produced.

Lars Ulrich Danish musician

Lars Ulrich is a Danish musician, songwriter, actor, and record producer. He is best known as the drummer and co-founder of the American heavy metal band Metallica. The son of tennis player Torben Ulrich and grandson of tennis player Einer Ulrich, he also played tennis in his youth and moved to Los Angeles at age 16 to train professionally. However, rather than playing tennis, Ulrich began playing drums. After publishing an advertisement in The Recycler, Ulrich met vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and formed Metallica.

James Hetfield American musician, songwriter and record producer

James Alan Hetfield is an American musician, singer, and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his intricate rhythm playing, but occasionally performs lead guitar duties and solos, both live and in the studio. Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering a classified advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released ten studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles.

The song's lyrics address suicidal feelings. [4] It begins with an acoustic guitar introduction and becomes progressively heavier as the song goes on, similar to their future songs, "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", "One", and "The Day That Never Comes". James Hetfield commented on the song in a 1991 interview with Guitar World :

Suicide intentional act of causing ones own death

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and substance abuse—including alcoholism and the use of benzodiazepines—are risk factors. Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress, such as from financial difficulties, troubles with relationships, or bullying. Those who have previously attempted suicide are at a higher risk for future attempts. Effective suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to methods of suicide—such as firearms, drugs, and poisons; treating mental disorders and substance misuse; proper media reporting of suicide; and improving economic conditions. Even though crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.

One (Metallica song) 1989 single by Metallica

"One" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released as the third and final single from their fourth studio album, ...And Justice for All (1988). Written by band members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, "One" is an anti-war song that portrays a World War I soldier who is severely wounded  —  arms and legs blown off by a landmine, blind and unable to speak or move  —  begging God to take his life as he feels constant pain. His only hope is to devise a way to communicate with the hospital staff. In the music video, he jolts in the hospital bed, spelling "Kill me" in Morse code. Production of the song was done by the band alongside Flemming Rasmussen. The song was the band's first top 40 hit single in the U.S., reaching number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also a number one hit in Finland.

The Day That Never Comes single

"The Day That Never Comes" is a song by heavy metal band Metallica, and the lead single from their ninth studio album, Death Magnetic. The song was released to the radio and for digital download on August 21, 2008.

That song was a big step for us. It was pretty much our first ballad, so we knew it would freak people out... Recording that song, I learned how frustrating acoustic guitar can be. You could hear every squeak, so I had to be careful. I wrote the song at a friend's house in New Jersey. I was pretty depressed at the time because our gear had just been stolen, and we had been thrown out of our manager's house for breaking shit and drinking his liquor cabinet dry. It's a suicide song, and we got a lot of flak for it, as if kids were killing themselves because of the song. But we also got hundreds of letters from kids telling us how they related to the song and that it made them feel better. [5]

Since its release, "Fade to Black" has been a fixture in Metallica's live performances. It was also the last song that Metallica performed live with former bassist Jason Newsted before he left the band. Newsted's last gig was at the VH1 Music Awards on November 30, 2000. It was one of his favorite Metallica songs, and was said to be of great sentimental value to him, although it had been written before he had joined the band. His previous band, Flotsam and Jetsam, performed a song called "Fade to Black" on their 1986 album Doomsday for the Deceiver before he left to join Metallica.

Jason Newsted American musician

Jason Curtis Newsted is an American metal musician, known for being the third bass guitarist with the band Metallica from October 1986 until his sudden departure in January 2001.

VH1 American cable television network

VH1 is an American pay television network based in New York City owned by Viacom. It was originally created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV, and launched on January 1, 1985, in the former space of Turner Broadcasting System's short-lived Cable Music Channel.

Flotsam and Jetsam (band) thrash metal group from Phoenix, Arizona

Flotsam and Jetsam is an American thrash metal and progressive metal band that formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1981. The band currently consists of vocalist Eric "A.K" Knutson, guitarists Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley, bassist Michael Spencer, and drummer Ken Mary. Flotsam and Jetsam went through several lineup changes over the years, and Knutson has been the only constant member of the band. They are also notable for featuring bassist Jason Newsted, who left the band shortly after the release of their debut album to join Metallica as Cliff Burton's replacement.

While on the Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour on August 8, 1992, Hetfield accidentally stepped into the path of one of the chemical flames that had been rigged to shoot from the lip of the stage while playing "Fade to Black". Hetfield's guitar protected him from the full force of the blast; however, the fire engulfed most of his left side, burning his hand, both arms, eyebrows, face and hair. He suffered second and third-degree burns, but was back on stage 17 days later, although his guitar duties were delegated to former guitar tech and Metal Church guitarist John Marshall for four weeks while he made a full recovery.

"Fade to Black" was the last song to be played on the Los Angeles heavy metal radio station KNAC, which went off the air on February 15, 1995. [6] [7] It would later sign off fellow longtime rock stations 94 WYSP in Philadelphia on September 2, 2011 and Power 97 in Winnipeg on January 29, 2015.

Covers

Track listing

Promotional vinyl 12"
No.TitleLength
1."Fade to Black" (Vocal/LP Version)6:57

Personnel

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References

  1. "These Are Fifteen of the Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time".
  2. "Metallica - Fade To Black". hitparade.ch. Archived from the original on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2014-10-16.
  3. "American certifications – Metallica – Fade to Black". Recording Industry Association of America.
  4. Pareles, Jon (25 September 1988). "Speed-Metal: Extreme, Yes; Evil, No". The New York Times . USA: The New York Times Company. p. 3. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-23. Retrieved 2013-05-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. "The Last KNAC Article". Archived from the original on 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  7. "KNAC's Final Fade to Black". Archived from the original on 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2012-11-06.