September 27, 1986 – Clifford Lee “Cliff” Burton was born on February 10, 1962 in Castro Valley, California; best known for his time with metal band Metallica. He is widely considered to have been one of the most influential metal bassists of all time. He made heavy use of distortion and effects, heard on his signature piece, “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth”.
He began playing bass at age 13, practicing up to six hours per day, even after he joined Metallica. Cliff formed his first band “EZ-Street”, taking its name from a Bay Area topless bar. Other members of EZ Street included future Faith No More guitarist “Big” Jim Martin and future Faith No More and Ozzy Osbourne drummer Mike Bordin.
Cliff and Martin continued their musical collaboration after becoming students at Chabot College in Hayward, CA. Their second band, “Agents of Misfortune”, entered the Hayward Area Recreation Department’s “Battle of the Bands” contest in 1981. Their audition was recorded on video and features some of the earliest footage of Cliff’s trademark playing style. The video also shows his playing some parts of what would soon be two Metallica songs: his signature bass solo, “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth”, and the chromatic intro to “For Whom the Bell Tolls”.
He joined his first major band, Trauma, in 1982, after which he was invited to join Metallica, his first recording with Metallica was the Megaforce Demo. He recorded Metallica’s first 3 albums Kill ‘Em All-1983, Ride the Lightning-1984, and Master of Puppets-1986, before his tragic untimely death.
Cliff’s final performance was in Stockholm, Sweden on September 26th 1986. Tragically Cliff was crushed to death after the band’s tour bus crashed on the road between Stockholm and Copenhagen, killing him instantly.
Burton was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Metallica on April 4, 2009. He was selected as the ninth greatest bassist of all time in an online reader poll organized by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2011.