Cliff Burton


May 23, 2022

Clifford Lee Burton (Castro Valley, California, February 10, 1962-Kronoberg, Sweden, September 27, 1986), better known as Cliff Burton, was an American thrash metal musician, known for having been the bassist for Metallica since 1982. until his untimely death in a road accident at the age of twenty-four. He 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. [1]


Early Years

Clifford Burton was born on February 10, 1962,[2] in San Francisco, California.[3] He was raised by his hippie parents,[4] and from them he adopted his image, his ideals and, above all, his attitude.[5] Cliff had two older siblings, David Scott and Connie.[6] His parents describe Cliff in his childhood as a quiet, intelligent and normal child except for one thing, he was always himself and did not do the things that others did if he did not want to.[7] When he was 6 years old, he began taking piano lessons.[8] On May 19, 1975, his brother died of a brain aneurysm.[7] After his brother's death when he was thirteen, he began playing bass and take music classes. He told some people: "I'm gonna be the best bassist for my brother" while his parents didn't think he would really be a good bassist anymore. who saw how much it cost him at the beginning to learn,[7] in this period he began to play with bands like AD 2 Million, Agents of Misfortune, (along with Jim Martin, who would later be a member of Faith No More), and EZ Street (with Martin and Mike Puffy Bordin, who would be the drummer for Faith No More and Ozzy Osbourne).[9] After six months of taking classes, his parents saw real progress in his work and were surprised, as no one had any musical talent in his family. Cliff continued taking classes for a year and totally outclassed his teacher, so he continued his classes with another teacher, with whom he stayed for a couple of years. Afterwards, he began taking classes with jazz bassist Steve Doherty. ,[10] between September 1978 and January 1980; he instructed him in various styles, from jazz to classical music,[8] as well as teaching him to read music. Cliff graduated from Castro Valley High School in 1980. After graduation he moved on to Trauma, a group from the San Francisco Bay Area. Cliff was the one who stood out the most on stage due to his presence and his characteristic headbanging, wrapped in his red hair, unlike the glamorous and theatrical attitude that his bandmates had during the show. On Trauma he recorded some demos, one of them "Such A Shame", can be found on the Metal Blade Records compilation Metal Massacre 2. [6]


In 1982, when Cliff Burton was playing with Trauma at the Whiskey A Go Go, two members of Metallica, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, walked into the venue and heard a solo being played. Seeing Cliff they were surprised since the solo came from a bass and not from a guitar as they thought, and they were also amazed by the aggressive way he played his instrument. Due to the departure of Ron McGovney from the band, they decided that Burton was the man they needed to replace him.[6] However, he did not accept their proposal so easily (although he did not like the commercial path that Trauma was taking). ),[9] since he did not want to go to Southern California,[11] so a phase of phone calls and rehearsals began.[12] Within months, Burton convinced Metallica to leave Los Angeles, their base of operations, and settle definitively in San Francisco.[13