The Memory Remains

Last updated
"The Memory Remains"
Metallica - The Memory Remains cover.jpg
Single by Metallica featuring Marianne Faithfull
from the album Reload
ReleasedNovember 11, 1997
Genre Hard rock [1]
Label Elektra
Metallicasingles chronology
"King Nothing"
"The Memory Remains"
"The Unforgiven II"
Music video
"The Memory Remains" on YouTube

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

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.

Marianne Faithfull British singer, songwriter and actress

Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull is an English singer, songwriter and actress. She achieved popularity in the 1960s with the release of her hit single "As Tears Go By" and became one of the lead female artists during the British Invasion in the United States.


The lead single from Metallica's seventh studio album, Reload , released in 1997, it was first performed live in a "jam" version on July 2, 1996. [2] Marianne Faithfull was brought in as James Hetfield felt her "weathered, smellin'-the-cigarettes-on-the-CD voice" fit what he described as "the whole eeriness of the Sunset Boulevard -feel of the song", given the lyrics tell the story of a faded artist who goes insane from losing her fame. [3] The spoken words "Say yes, at least say hello", during the outro, are a reference to The Misfits , the last complete movie in which Marilyn Monroe starred. [4]

A lead single is the first single to be released from a studio album, by a musician or a band, usually before the album itself is released.

<i>Reload</i> (Metallica album) 1997 studio album by Metallica

Reload is the seventh studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on November 18, 1997 by Elektra Records. The album is a follow-up to Load, released the previous year, and Metallica's last studio album to feature bassist Jason Newsted. Reload debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 436,000 copies in its first week. It was certified 3× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping three million copies in the United States.

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1997.

The song was written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Part of its intro riff is similar to Black Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". It can be heard playing in the strip club Bada Bing! in the episode of The Sopranos , "The Knight in White Satin Armor".

James Hetfield American musician

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.

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.

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

Asked if he would have bought Reload, bassist Jason Newsted said, "Not if I heard 'The Memory Remains' first." [5]

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.


The song's demo was also called "Memory" and was recorded in Lars Ulrich's home musical studio "Dungeon" on March 6, 1995 (take 1) and March 17, 1995 (take 2).

Other versions

The band, with Faithfull, performed the song on the December 6, 1997 edition of Saturday Night Live . A live version was released as B-side to the single "The Unforgiven II". It was later performed with the San Francisco Symphony (conducted by Michael Kamen) for S&M . Another live version was included on Orgullo, Pasión y Gloria . According to a post on Metallica's Facebook wall, they performed the song, again with Faithfull, on December 7, 2011, at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

<i>Saturday Night Live</i> American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show

Saturday Night Live (SNL) is an American late-night live television variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title NBC's Saturday Night. The show's comedy sketches, which often parody contemporary culture and politics, are performed by a large and varying cast of repertory and newer cast members. Each episode is hosted by a celebrity guest, who usually delivers the opening monologue and performs in sketches with the cast as with featured performances by a musical guest. An episode normally begins with a cold open sketch that ends with someone breaking character and proclaiming, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!", properly beginning the show.

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.

Michael Kamen American musician

Michael Arnold Kamen was an American composer, orchestral arranger, orchestral conductor, songwriter, and session musician.


Several bands have covered the song (either live or on record), including The Kovenant, Spleen, Iron Horse and The Stanford Harmonics.

The Kovenant is a Norwegian black metal band from Hamar. The band originally formed as Covenant in 1993, but in 1999 were forced to change their name to The Kovenant due to a dispute with a Swedish electronic band of the same name.

Iron Horse is a bluegrass band from Killen, Alabama, US. They are known for performing and recording bluegrass cover versions of rock songs, particularly their bluegrass treatments of heavy metal songs popularized by Metallica. The band has two tracks on the tribute album Strummin' with the Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen, which also features David Lee Roth, among other artists. They have recently been working on self-produced material and in October 2009 released an all-original Christmas project called "Small Town Christmas".

Stanford Harmonics

The Stanford Harmonics are a co-ed a cappella group from Stanford University. Known for their alternative rock repertoire and award-winning recordings, the Harmonics have garnered international recognition for their performances and have been featured on BOCA, Sing, and Voices Only a cappella compilations. The Harmonics are one of the few collegiate a cappella groups that own their own wireless microphone equipment and have developed a live performance style that includes the use of electronic distortion and sound effects.

Chart performance

The single was successful, hitting number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 3 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 13 on the UK Singles Chart. It was Metallica's last appearance in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 until 2008's "The Day That Never Comes". The song was Faithfull's first Top 40 single on the Hot 100 since 1965's "Summer Nights", and her last to date.

Music video

The "Memory Remains" music video (directed by Paul Andresen) features a surreal, anti-gravity concept. The band plays on a large, suspended platform making full and continuous rotations throughout the performance, like an enormous swing. The platform and band are actually stationary and the room, a giant constructed box, spins around it. Marianne Faithfull sings in a dark corridor and turns the crank of a street organ, the crank presumably attached to the rotating platform upon which the band plays. In some scenes money rains down, an allegorical reference.

According to Encyclopedia Metallica, the video was shot at the Van Nuys Airport and cost $400,000, with the large platform costing over $100,000. The video premiered on MTV's Mattrock on November 15, 1997. [2]

Track listing

CD single (ReLoad)
1."The Memory Remains"4:38
2."Fuel for Fire" (work in progress with different lyrics)
3."Memory" (demo)
  • Hetfield
  • Ulrich
CD single (UK pt. 2)
1."The Memory Remains"
  • Hetfield
  • Ulrich
2."The Outlaw Torn" (Unencumbered by Manufacturing Restrictions Version)
  • Hetfield
  • Ulrich
3."King Nothing" (Tepid Mix)
  • Hetfield
  • Ulrich
  • Hammett
CD 2-track single (U.S. and Canada) and 7" single (Europe)
1."The Memory Remains"
  • Hetfield
  • Ulrich
2."For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Haven't Heard It Yet Mix)


Additional performer

Chart positions

Chart (1997)Peak
Australia (ARIA) [6] 6
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) [7] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) [8] 28
Canada Top Singles (RPM)
Canada Rock/Alternative (RPM) [9] 25
Denmark (Tracklisten) [10] 13
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) [11] 1
Germany (Official German Charts) [12] 20
Hungary (Mahasz) [13] 4
Ireland (IRMA)13
Italy (FIMI)13
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) [14] 17
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) [15] 23
Norway (VG-lista) [16] 3
Spain (AFYVE) [17] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) [18] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) [19] 30
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)13
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 28
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 3

Release history

EuropeNovember 10, 1997 Elektra
United StatesNovember 11, 1997 Elektra

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