Metallica‘s iconic third album Master of Puppets turns 35 today.
The follow-up to 1983’s Kill ‘Em All and 1984’s Ride the Lightning was released March 3, 1986. It built and expanded on the thrash sound of its predecessors with songs including the title track, “Battery” and the instrumental “Orion.”
At the time of its release, Master of Puppets became Metallica’s highest-charting album, and has since been certified six-times platinum. In propelling thrash to new heights and newer audiences — not to mention its instantly iconic cover art — Master of Puppets is considered one of the most important and influential records in metal history
Master of Puppets was even added to Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2016 in celebration of its significance.
In addition to influencing countless other artists, Master of Puppets continues to build its legacy inside Metallica, too. Its title track is Metallica’s most-played song live, and was voted as the band’s best song by fans in an official bracket-style poll launched in 2020.
Sadly, Master of Puppets was the last Metallica studio album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident on September 27, 1986 — just sixth months after the record was released. Burton was replaced by Jason Newsted, who was then replaced by current Metallica bassist, Robert Trujillo.
Metallica will be celebrating the Master of Puppets anniversary with a performance Wednesday night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, airing at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.
By Josh Johnson
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