20th Anniversary of Metallica's Rise To The Top

(Gibson) On this day in 1991, Metallica started a four-week run at #1 on the U.S. album chart with Metallica. The album featured "Enter Sandman," "Sad but True," "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters" and went on to sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone. Gibson takes a look back:

Before 1991, Metallica were merely a very successful metal band. Coming out of the Los Angeles metal scene, the foursome became one of the "big four" thrash bands of the '80s – thanks to constant touring and beloved albums like Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. James Hetfield and company even scored a hit in 1989 with "One," thanks in part to its popular MTV video. But that was nothing compared to what was to come. On this day in 1991, their "black" album would debut at #1 on the U.S. charts. Enter Metallica.

In the fall of 1990, guitarist/vocalist Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Jason Newsted went into the One on One studio in North Hollywood to start on what would be Metallica's fifth album. Partially inspired by the success of "One," the band went to work on a set of concise, radio-friendly songs that would bridge the gap between thrash and mainstream metal.

Impressed with his work on Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Metallica enlisted producer Bob Rock to help in this vein, although they initially only wanted him to mix the album. They eventually changed their minds, and let Rock helm the whole process. "We felt that we still had our best record in us and Bob Rock could help us make it," Ulrich once said. more on this story

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