Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Cliff Burton
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Clifford Lee Burton (February 10, 1962 – September 27, 1986) was an American bassist best known as the bass player of American thrash metal band Metallica. As a bassist he made heavy use of distortion and effects (several of which are usually associated with non-bass guitars), best exemplified on his signature piece, "(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth".
Burton's early influence was essential in creating the unique musical style for which Metallica became famous. Burton joined the band in 1982 and performed on their debut album, Kill 'Em All. Burton performed on two more Metallica albums, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, both of which met with major commercial and critical success. Burton was known for his "lead bass" approach, in which the bass played a melodic, soloistic role, in addition to holding down the harmonic and rhythmic foundation of the band.
On September 27, 1986, Burton died when the band's tour bus skidded and crashed in Sweden. Burton was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Metallica on April 4, 2009. His father, Ray Burton, gave a speech on his son's behalf.
Burton's first recording with Metallica was the Megaforce Demo. A demo tape the band had made prior to Burton's joining, No Life 'Til Leather, managed to come into the hands of John Zazula, owner of Megaforce Records. The band relocated to Old Bridge, New Jersey - and quickly secured a record deal with Zazula's label. Their first album, Kill 'Em All, features Burton's famous solo piece, "(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth," which showcased his use of effects, such as a wah pedal (until then the wah pedal had been the near-exclusive domain of six-string guitarists, with the exception of Geezer Butler on Black Sabbath's first album, and occasionally ultra-progressive bassists such as Chris Squire).
The band's second album, Ride the Lightning, showcased the band's increasing musical growth. Burton's songwriting abilities were growing, and he received credit on six of the album's eight songs. Burton's playing style and use of effects is showcased on two tracks: the chromatic intro to "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and the "lead bass" on "The Call of Ktulu."
The increase of musicianship on Ride the Lightning caught the attention of major record labels. Metallica was signed to Elektra, and began working on their third album, Master of Puppets, which is considered by most critics to be a landmark album in both thrash and the whole of metal. Burton is featured heavily on several tracks, most notably the instrumental "Orion," which again featured Burton's lead bass playing style. The album also contained Burton's favorite Metallica song, "Master of Puppets." Master of Puppets was the band's commercial breakthrough, but it would be Burton's final album with Metallica.
Burton's final performance was in Stockholm, Sweden on September 26, 1986.[ One of Burton's final performances with the band is available for free to download from Metallica's website.