Ongoing History Daily: The story of “Enter Sandman”

Metallica was probably the biggest cult band in the world up until they released their “black” album in 1991. That was the one that really broke things open for them–and the song that did it was “Enter Sandman.”

Kirk Hammett came up with the riff and the music came together very quickly. But check this out: Some of his inspiration came from–wait for it–a rap album. He was listening to Ice-T’s 1988’s album Power and got some ideas from that. The lyrics, however, were a problem. When James Hetfield wrote the words, he was thinking of crib death, that mysterious and sudden way some babies die. Producer Bob Rock told him he could do better and made Hetfield rewrite the lyrics again and again.

And Lars Ulrich’s drums were not recorded in their entirety. What we hear is 40 or 50 takes of his playing all stitched together.

Wednesday’s post featured an example of history repeating.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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