For Whom the Bell Tolls (Metallica song)

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"For Whom the Bell Tolls"
Metallica - For Whom the Bell Tolls cover.jpg
Promotional single by Metallica
from the album Ride the Lightning
B-side "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (album version)
ReleasedAugust 31, 1985 (1985-08-31)
Format 12-inch single
RecordedFebruary 20 March 14, 1984
Studio Sweet Silence, Copenhagen, Denmark
Genre Thrash metal
Length
  • 3:59 (promo edit)
  • 5:10 (album version)
Label Elektra
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Audio sample

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" is a song by American thrash metal band Metallica. It was first released on the group's second album, Ride the Lightning (1984). In 1985, Elektra Records released it as a promotional single, with both an edited and full-length versions. The song is one of their most popular; by March 2018, it ranked number five on Metallica's live performance count. [1] Several live albums and video albums include the song.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

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

Composition

The song was inspired by Ernest Hemingway's 1940 novel of the same name about the dishonor of modern warfare and the protagonist's imminent doom during the bloody Spanish Civil War. Specific allusions are made to the scene in which five soldiers are obliterated during an airstrike, after taking a position on a hill.

Ernest Hemingway American author and journalist

Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and noted sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three of his novels, four short-story collections, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature.

<i>For Whom the Bell Tolls</i> novel by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel by Ernest Hemingway published in 1940. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.

Spanish Civil War War between the Republicans and the Nationalists in Spain from 1936 to 1939

The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, Monarchists, and Catholics, led by General Francisco Franco. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, and different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and anarchism. The Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.

Cliff Burton plays the bass guitar introduction, which is often mistaken for an electric guitar, with heavy distortion and a wah pedal. Burton wrote the intro before joining Metallica and first played it during a 12-minute jam at a battle of the bands with his second band Agents of Misfortune in 1979.

Cliff Burton American musician, member of Metallica

Clifford Lee Burton was an American musician and songwriter, best known as the bass guitarist for the American band Metallica from December 1982 until his death in September 1986.

Wah-wah pedal effects unit that mimics the sound of "wah wah"

A wah-wah pedal is a type of electric guitar effects pedal that alters the tone and frequencies of the guitar signal to create a distinctive sound, mimicking the human voice saying the onomatopoeic name "wah-wah". The pedal sweeps the peak response of a frequency filter up and down in frequency to create the sound, a spectral glide, also known as "the wah effect". The wah-wah effect originated in the 1920s, with trumpet or trombone players finding they could produce an expressive crying tone by moving a mute in and out of the instrument's bell. This was later simulated with electronic circuitry for the electric guitar when the wah-wah pedal was invented. It is controlled by movement of the player's foot on a rocking pedal connected to a potentiometer. Wah-wah effects are used when a guitarist is soloing, or creating a "wacka-wacka" funk-styled rhythm for rhythm guitar playing.

Battle of the Bands is a contest in which two or more bands compete for the title of "best band". The winner is determined by a voice vote of the audience or the band who brings the most people to support them. Traditionally, battles of bands are held at live music events and forums. Popular examples include the yearly Live and Unsigned contest in the United Kingdom and the annual SoundWave Music Competition. Nippon term "対バン " seems from battles of bands, however in most cases now it doesn't mean battles and just means 2-or-more-band live events.

Track listing

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" was released as a promo single with two versions of the song. An edited version appears on the A-side, with the full-length album version on the B-side.

Promotional 12-inch single
No.TitleLength
1."For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Edit)3:59
2."For Whom the Bell Tolls"5:10

Other versions

Metallica

In 1999, Metallica recorded "For Whom the Bell Tolls" with the San Francisco Symphony. It is included on live album S&M (1999). Other live versions appear on Live Shit: Binge & Purge (1993), Cunning Stunts (DVD, 1997), Français Pour une Nuit (DVD, 2009), Orgullo, Pasión, y Gloria: Tres Noches en la Ciudad de México (2009), The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria (DVD, 2010), Quebec Magnetic (DVD, 2012), and Metallica: Through the Never (soundtrack, 2013).

San Francisco Symphony symphonic orchestra

The San Francisco Symphony (SFS), founded in 1911, is an American orchestra based in San Francisco, California. Since 1980, the orchestra is resident at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in the City's Hayes Valley neighborhood. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (1972) are part of the organization. Since 1995, Michael Tilson Thomas has been the orchestra's music director. Tilson Thomas is scheduled to conclude his tenure as the orchestra's music director in 2020, when Esa-Pekka Salonen is scheduled to become the orchestra's next music director.

<i>Live Shit: Binge & Purge</i> 1993 box set by Metallica

Live Shit: Binge & Purge is the first live album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released in a box set format on November 23, 1993. The initial first pressings contained three CDs or cassette tapes, with songs from concerts in Mexico City on the Nowhere Else to Roam tour, as well as three VHS tapes while a newer version contains two DVDs from concerts in San Diego on the Wherever We May Roam Tour and Seattle on the Damaged Justice Tour. It was originally released as a cardboard box depicting the style of a typical tour equipment transport box. Besides the audio and video media, the box featured additional bonus material and a black "Metalli'Fukin'ca" T-shirt. Live Shit: Binge & Purge has been certified 15x platinum by the RIAA as a long-form video format.

<i>Cunning Stunts</i> (video) 1998 video by Metallica

Cunning Stunts is a concert video by heavy metal band Metallica released in 1998. It was released in DVD and VHS formats. The title is a spoonerism of the words stunning cunts.

Samples

Bloodhound Gang American rapcore group

The Bloodhound Gang was an American rock band which began as a hip hop group before branching out into other genres, including punk rock, alternative hip hop, rapcore, funk metal, and electronic rock, as their career progressed. Their songs were usually known for off-beat and vulgar lyrics that often dealt with sexual subjects and contained many puns and innuendos. They were influenced by the Beastie Boys.

Bassnectar American DJ and music producer

Lorin Ashton, better known under his stage name Bassnectar, is an American DJ and record producer.

Yelawolf American rapper from Alabama

Michael Wayne Atha, better known as Yelawolf, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and producer from Gadsden, Alabama. Yelawolf released his first independent album Creek Water in 2005. Between 2005 to 2010 he released one extended play (EP) and four mixtapes. It was not until 2010's Trunk Muzik EP that Yelawolf started to gain mainstream attention. The same year would see Yelawolf sign a record deal with Interscope Records. His first release on a major label would be a somewhat reworked Trunk Muzik, titled Trunk Muzik 0-60 which shared six track's from Trunk Muzik.

Mixes

DJ Spooky American DJ and music producer

Paul Dennis Miller, known professionally as DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid, is an electronic and experimental hip hop musician whose work is often called by critics illbient or trip hop". He is a turntablist, record producer, philosopher, and author. He borrowed his stage name from the character The Subliminal Kid in the novel Nova Express by William S. Burroughs. Having studied philosophy and French literature at Bowdoin College, he has become a professor of Music Mediated Art at the European Graduate School and is the executive editor of Origin magazine.

The Memory Remains 1997 song by Metallica

"The Memory Remains" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, with British singer Marianne Faithfull on backing vocals.

Covers

Personnel

Charts

Chart (2019)Peak
position
US Hot Rock Songs ( Billboard ) [2] 18

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References

  1. "Song Statistics". Metallica.com. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  2. "Metallica Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 26, 2019.