Death of Cliff Burton

Cliff Burton MemorialDeaths usually come so sudden and unexpected. These are usually the kind of deaths that are also quite memorable. That is why there are a lot of people who became known and famous simply by the manner of their death. Such is the example for Cliff Burton.

For the occasional rock fan, mention of the name Cliff Burton would not immediately ring any bells. But finding out which band he belonged to would certainly do. Cliff Burton was the former bassist of the heavy metal rock group Metallica.

Metallica Bassist

Cliff Burton was a bassist for Metallica from 1982 to 1986. Die hard fans of the heavy metal group would surely recognize the name immediately. He joined Metallica a year after members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich came together to form the band. With being in the band during its formative years, Burton was instrumental in trying to develop the sound and musical style that the band has come to be known for. He was especially unique in his use of distortion and effects gadgets, devices that are more associated with electric guitars rather than the bass.

Tragic Death

Just as Metallica was increasingly becoming famous, a tragic accident marred the rise that led to the death of bassist Cliff Burton. It was sometime during the Europe leg of their tour to support their album, Master of Puppets, the bands first commercially successful album. The band, on its tour of Sweden, complained of their bunks on the tour bus being uncomfortable. This led to the band members always trying to argue who gets to sleep at which bunk.

One time during the tour, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett argued with Burton on who gets to sleep at the top bunk. In order to settle things, they decided to draw cards. Burton won when he picked the Ace of Spades. On September 27, 1986, at around 7 am somewhere in Ljungby Municipality, Sweden, the band’s tour bus skidded on what the driver later said was a patch of black ice. This led to the bus suddenly flipping on the grass by the side of the road. This led to Burton being thrown out of the bus through the window and with the bus falling on top of him, causing his tragic death.

The tragic incident that led to the death of their bassist Cliff Burton led Metallica to consider breaking up. But they opted to continue and became one of the most popular heavy metal bands of all time. But sad to say, it came after the tragic death to their one time bassist, Cliff Burton. Burton’s body was later cremated and had his ashes scattered on the Maxwell Ranch.

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