April 11, 1983

Metallica Fires Dave Mustaine

Dave Mustaine is told he's out of the band following a cross-country trek to New York. He is handed a bus ticket back home and the incident would inspire him to form Megadeth.


May 3, 1983

Metallica Signs With Megaforce

Metallica sign their first record deal with Johnny Z's label Megaforce Records, which releases Kill 'Em All a few months later.


May 10, 1983


July 25, 1983

Kill 'Em All Released

Originally titled Metal Up Your Ass, the band was forced to change the name after hesitation from Megaforce Records. Cliff, frustrated with the whole situation, came up with the title Kill 'Em All


October 24, 1983

"Live" Tracks Recorded

At the same time as recording the Ride the Lightning demos, the band records "Seek and Destroy" and "Phantom Lord" live in the studio. Both songs would have crowd noise overdubbed and included as "live" tracks on the b-side of the "Jump in the Fire" and "Whiplash" singles. Studio time was covered by Metallica's European record label, Music for Nations, who unknowingly financed the recording of the Ride the Lightning demos.


October 24, 1983

Ride the Lightning Demos Recorded

Four demos are recorded in the San Francisco Bay Area to be featured on the band's next album. The demo included recordings of "Fight Fire with Fire," "Ride the Lightning," "Creeping Death," and an early version of "The Call of Ktulu" entitled "When Hell Freezes Over."


January 14, 1984

Equipment Stolen

Metallica's gear - including the first amp James ever owned - is stolen out of a truck in Boston. The incident would inspire the song "Fade to Black."


January 20, 1984

"Jump in the Fire" Single Released

Metallica's first European single is released. The b-side features "live" recordings of "Seek & Destroy" and "Phantom Lord." The cover of the single was painted by Les Edwards which originally appeared on the cover of the book The Devils of D-Day.


February 20, 1984


July 30, 1984

Ride the Lightning Released

Ride the Lightning is released by Megaforce Records in the US and includes "Creeping Death," "Fade to Black" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls." This would be the last album released by Megaforce.


September 12, 1984

Metallica Signs with Elektra Records

Metallica signs with a major label! After being hounded by A&R rep Michael Alago, the band takes the next step toward world domination by hooking up with Elektra Records.


November 19, 1984


November 23, 1984

"Creeping Death" Single Released

The single for "Creeping Death" is released to coincide with the band's European tour. The b-side is titled Garage Days Revisited and features covers of Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?" and Blitzkrieg's "Blitzkrieg."


September 1985


January 31, 1986

Spastik Children's First Gig at Ruthie's Inn

James Hetfield on drums
Cliff Burton on bass
Fred Cotton on vocals
James "flunkey" McDaniel on guitar. Spastik Children was a punk band that never recorded any material, but gave its members a chance to have fun on stage.


March 3, 1986

Master of Puppets Released

Master of Puppets is released by Elektra Records in the US and features "Master of Puppets," "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" and "Battery. The album peaks at #29 on the US Billboard 200.


July 26, 1986

James Breaks Wrist Skateboarding

James breaks his wrist while skateboarding causing the band to cancel a show in Evansville, Indiana. The band taps John Marshall to play rhythm guitar from July 27 to Sept. 25.


September 27, 1986


October 7, 1986

Cliff's Funeral

Cliff's family and friends gather to remember their fallen friend and lay him to rest. A recording of "Orion" is played at the service.


October 28, 1986

Jason Newsted Joins Metallica

After a very emotional and grueling audition process, the band brings Jason Newsted to Tommy's Joint in San Francisco to ask him to join the band.
load more