40 Years Ago: Metallica Releases Debut Album

40 Years Ago: Metallica Releases Debut Album

ROYAL OAK, MI - FEBRUARY 1: (L-R) Bass guitarist Cliff Burton (1962-1986), drummer Lars Ulrich, vocals, guitarist James Hetfield and guitarist Kirk Hammett pose for a studio portrait during the Ride the Lightning Tour at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on February 1, 1985 in Royal Oak, Michigan. (Photo by Ross Marino/Getty Images)

Photo by Getty Images

On July 25th, 1983 the world was introduced to a band that would change rock ‘n’ roll history and lead the the tone of the 1980s. It was the day the Los Angeles heavy metal band Metallica (made up of vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, bassist Cliff Burton, and drummer Lars Ulrich) released their debut album Kill ‘Em All.

Deemed one of the heaviest and fastest albums of its time with hit songs that included Seek & Destroy, Jump in the Fire, and Whiplash, Kill ‘Em All put Metallica on the map as one of the most important bands of the decade.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, here are five fun facts you might not have known about Kill ‘Em All:

  1. Metallica originally wanted to name the record Metal Up Your Ass.
  2. The official title came when Cliff Burton joked “why don’t we just kill ’em all?” about certain record distributors.
  3. The initial shipment was 15,000 copies to the US, but now over 3 million Kill ‘Em All records have been sold.
  4. Vans created limited edition Kill ‘Em All shoes in 2013 for the record’s 30th anniversary.
  5. Some of the songs from the album came from Metallica members’ previous bands. Hit the Lights was originally a song from James Hetfield’s previous band Leather Charm. The Four Horsemen was initially The Mechanix from Dave Mustaine’s previous band Panic.


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