Until It Sleeps

Last updated

"Until It Sleeps"
Metallica - Until It Sleeps cover.jpg
Single by Metallica
from the album Load
ReleasedMay 21, 1996 [1]
Label Elektra
Metallica singles chronology
"Sad but True"
"Until It Sleeps"
"Hero of the Day"
Music video
"Until It Sleeps" on YouTube

"Until It Sleeps" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on May 21, 1996 as the lead single from their 1996 album, Load . It was the band's first number one song on the US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, as well as their first and only song as of the release of Hardwired... to Self-Destruct to hit the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, debuting and peaking at number 10. The song also peaked atop the charts of Australia, Sweden, and Finland, becoming the band's only number-one hit in the former two countries.



The song was performed with orchestral accompaniment on the album S&M .

An early demo version of this song was entitled "F.O.B.D." (recorded on December 8, 1995), because it reminded the band members of the Soundgarden song "Fell on Black Days", in that the "It grips you...It stains you..." refrain is in the same 6/4 time signature that "Fell on Black Days" is in. The band can be heard saying "Fell on Black Days" on the fanclub-only Fancan 1 CD just prior to jamming on a portion of "Until It Sleeps". The 10" vinyl version of the single is red in color.

Moby, credited as "Herman Melville", did an industrial-sounding remix used as a B-side. [3]

"Until It Sleeps" became the first "officially" pirated MP3 when it was released by Compress ’Da Audio (a piracy group and spinoff of the Warez scene) via an Internet Relay Chat network on August 10, 1996. An EFnet member on the #mpeg3 IRC channel named Coyote666 was responsible for creating the first mp3 ripping software. [4]

Music video

The song also has a music video directed by Samuel Bayer (Nirvana, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins). It was shot in various locations around Los Angeles on May 6 and 7 in 1996. It was premiered by MTV on May 21. [5] The video depicts surreal concepts dealing with fall of a human, taken from various paintings by Hieronymus Bosch. Apart from the general forms inspired from Bosch's paintings, the prominent figures in the video are the human-eating monster from The Garden of Earthly Delights , the fall of Adam and Eve from Haywain and Christ in the Crucifige Eum (Crucify Him) scene of Ecce Homo .


The video of the song won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video in 1996.

The song won a 1996 Metal Edge Readers' Choice Award for Song of the Year. [6]

Track listing

US single
1."Until It Sleeps"4:36
International single part one
1."Until It Sleeps"4:33
2."2 X 4" (Live - Escape from the studio '95)6:06
3."F.O.B.D." (aka Until It Sleeps – early 'writing in progress' version)4:56
International single part two
1."Until It Sleeps"4:36
2."Kill/Ride Medley" (Live - Escape from the studio '95)10:19
3."Until It Sleeps" (Herman Melville Mix)4:20
Japanese EP
1."Until It Sleeps"4:35
2."Until It Sleeps" (Herman Melville Mix)4:22
3."Kill/Ride Medley" (Live - Escape from the studio '95)10:19
4."2 X 4" (Live - Escape from the studio '95)6:08
5."Overkill" (Live)4:11
6."F.O.B.D." (aka Until It Sleeps – early 'writing in progress' version)4:56

Charts and certifications

Release history

Worldwide (except North America)May 20, 1996
United StatesMay 21, 1996


  1. "Until it Sleeps". Metallica.com. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  2. Jenkins, Mark (3 Dec 1997). "Metallica's 'Re-Load': Bludgeon The Drum Slowly". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  3. Thump 'n Grind
  4. Witt, Stephen (April 21, 2015). "The Man Who Broke the Music Business". The New Yorker . Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  5. Metallica In For a Lollapalooza of a Summer
  6. Metal Edge, June 1997
  7. "Australian-charts.com – Metallica – Until It Sleeps". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  8. "Austriancharts.at – Metallica – Until It Sleeps" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  9. "Ultratop.be – Metallica – Until It Sleeps" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. "Ultratop.be – Metallica – Until It Sleeps" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  11. "Top Singles - Volume 64, No. 2, August 26 1996". RPM . Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  12. "Rock/Alternative - Volume 63, No. 21, July 08 1996". RPM . Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  13. "Metallica: Until It Sleeps" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  14. "Lescharts.com – Metallica – Until It Sleeps" (in French). Les classement single.
  15. "Musicline.de – Metallica Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  16. The Irish Charts - All there is to know
  17. Italian peaks
  18. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Metallica" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  19. "Charts.nz – Metallica – Until It Sleeps". Top 40 Singles.
  20. "Norwegiancharts.com – Metallica – Until It Sleeps". VG-lista.
  21. "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  22. Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN   84-8048-639-2.
  23. "Números 1 del año 1996 - Los 40 Principales" (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 Aug 2018.
  24. "Swedishcharts.com – Metallica – Until It Sleeps". Singles Top 100.
  25. "Swisscharts.com – Metallica – Until It Sleeps". Swiss Singles Chart.
  26. Metallica - Until It Sleeps - UK Singles
  27. 1 2 3 Metallica - Awards AllMusic
  28. "Top Singles - Volume 64, No. 18, December 16 1996". RPM . Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  29. "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 1996" (PDF). Music & Media. December 21, 1996. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  30. "Billboard Top 100 - 1996" . Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  31. Kent, David (2006). Australian Chart Book 1993-2005 . St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN   0-646-45889-2.
  32. "New Zealand single certifications – Metallica – Until It Sleeps". Recorded Music NZ.
  33. "Norwegian single certifications – Metallica – Until It Sleeps" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway.
  34. "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
  35. "American single certifications – Metallica – Until It Sleeps". Recording Industry Association of America.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  36. "Best-Selling Records of 1996". Billboard . BPI Communications Inc. 109 (3): 61. January 18, 1997. ISSN   0006-2510 . Retrieved May 8, 2015.