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Metallica is an American metal band formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, United States when drummer Lars Ulrich posted an advertisement in The Recycler. Metallica’s line-up originally consisted of Ulrich, rhythm guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, and lead guitarist Dave Mustaine. Mustaine was later fired due to problems with alcoholism and drug addiction – he went on to form the band Megadeth. Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett took his place. Metallica has been through several bassists, including Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton (who died in a bus crash while the band was on tour), and Jason Newsted. The current bassist is Robert Trujillo, who joined in 2003.

Metallica’s early releases included fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship that placed them as one of the “big four” of the thrash metal sub-genre alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. The band earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and critical acclaim, with the 1986 release Master of Puppets described as one of the most influential and “heavy” metal albums. The band achieved substantial commercial success with Metallica (1991), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. With this release the band expanded its musical direction resulting in an album that appealed to a more mainstream audience.

In 2000, Metallica was among several artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band’s copyright-protected material for free without the band members’ consent. A settlement was reached, and Napster became a pay-to-use service. Despite reaching number one on the Billboard 200, the release of St. Anger alienated many fans with the exclusion of guitar solos and the “steel-sounding” snare drum. A film titled Some Kind of Monster documented the recording process of St. Anger.

Metallica has released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, twenty-two music videos, and forty-four singles. The band has won nine Grammy Awards, and has had five consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200, making Metallica the only band ever to do so. The band’s 1991 album, Metallica, has sold over 15 million copies in the United States, and 22 million copies worldwide, which makes it the 25th-highest-selling album in the country. The band has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide as of the release of their latest album Death Magnetic. As of September 2008, Metallica is the fourth highest-selling music artist since the SoundScan era began tracking sales on May 25, 1991, selling a total of 51,136,000 albums in the United States alone.

Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Metallica organised a brand new festival. They called it Sonishpere. Several cities in Europe were chosen by the band.

Metallica, along with Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, performed on the same bill for the first time on June 16, 2010 at Bemowo Airport (Warsaw, Poland). It was the first performance of that bands played as a part of Sonisphere Festival series, one of the following (Sofia, Bulgaria, June 22, 2010) was sent via satellite in HD to cinemas.[89] They also went on to play in Bucharest, Romania (June 26, 2010) and then in Istanbul, Turkey (June 27, 2010) also as part of the Sonisphere Festival. On June 28, 2010, Death Magnetic was certified 2X platinum by the RIAA.[90]

The band’s World Magnetic Tour ended on November 21, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. The band had been touring for over two years in support of Death Magnetic. To go with its final tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, a live limited edition EP of past performances in Australia was released called Six Feet Down Under. The EP was also followed by Six Feet Down Under (Part II), which was released on November 12, 2010. Part 2 contains a further 8 songs recorded during the first two Oceanic Legs of the World Magnetic Tour.

On November 26, 2010, Metallica released another live EP, entitled Live at Grimey’s, which was recorded in June 2008 at Grimey’s Record Store, just prior to its appearance at Bonnaroo that year.

On November 9, 2010, Metallica announced that it will be headlining the Rock in Rio, in Rio de Janeiro, on September 25, 2011. On December 13, 2010, the band announced that it will once again play as part of the “big four” during the Sonisphere Festival U.K., on July 8, 2011. It will be the first time all of the “big four” members play on the same stage in United Kingdom. The performance will take place in Knebworth House, Hertfordshire. On December 17, 2010, Another “big four” Sonisphere performance was announced that will take place in France on July 9. On January 25, 2011, another “big four” performance was announced in the United States. It took place on April 23, 2011 in Indio, California at the Empire Polo Club. It was the only scheduled concert in the United States, it was also the first time all of the “big four” members played on the same stage in the United States. On 17 February 2011, another show was announced in Europe. The performance will take place in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on July 2, 2011. On February 22, another “big four” show was announced, also in Europe. It will take place in Milan, Italy on July 6, 2011. On March 2, 2011, again another “big four” concert was announced. It will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden on July 3, 2011 at the Ullevi Stadium.

On June 15, 2011, Metallica announced that recording sessions with singer-songwriter Lou Reed had concluded. The collaboration, which took place over several months, resulted in ten songs.

Current members:

James Hetfield – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1981–present)
Lars Ulrich – drums, percussion (1981–present)
Kirk Hammett – lead guitar, backing vocals (1983–present)
Robert Trujillo – bass, backing vocals (2003–present).

Former members:

Ron McGovney– bass (1982)
Dave Mustaine – lead guitar, backing vocals (1982–1983)
Cliff Burton – bass, backing vocals (1982–1986)
Jason Newsted – bass, backing vocals (1986–2001).

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