“Enter Sandman” is the opening track and lead single from their self-titled, fifth studio album, “Metallica” released in 1991. The song is written by band members Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich; as well as being produced by Hetfield, Ulrich and Bob Rock.
“Enter Sandman” is considered to be Metallica’s singiture song, and follows the theme of childhood nightmares, with a monster figure named “Sandman”. In a 2007 interview with Uncut, Ulrich and Hetfield spoke about “Enter Sandman”. Ulrich stated: “‘Enter Sandman’ was the first thing we came up with when we sat down for the songwriting process in July 1990. The 10-minute, 12-tempo-changes side of Metallica had run its course. We wanted to streamline and simplify things. We wrote the song in a day or two. All the bits of ‘Enter Sandman’ are derived from the main riff.” Meanwhile, Hetfield expressed his intentions for and from the song: “I wanted more of the mental thing where this kid gets manipulated by what adults say. You know when you wake up with that shit in your eye? That’s supposedly been put in there by the sandman to make you dream. So, the guy in the song tells this little kid that and he kinda freaks. He can’t sleep after that and it works the opposite way. Instead of a soothing thing, the table’s turned.”
The music video for “Enter Sandman” premiered on the 30th July 1991, directed by Wayne Isham, who went on to direct a total of 6 music videos for Metallica. The video follows the theme of the song, showing images of children having nightmares with shots of the band singing the song. The video was uploaded to YouTube on the 19th March 2012 and as of December 2019, the video has over 36 million views with almost 1.5 million likes, and over 53,000 comments.
Release Date: 29th July 1991
Songwriter/s: Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich
Producer/s: James Hetfield, Bob Rock & Lars Ulrich
Music Video Release Date: 30th July 1991
Music Video Director: Wayne Isham
Chart Rankings, Certifications, Awards & Accolades: Within its year of release, “Enter Sandman” hit the peak chart positions in the following locations: #10 in Australia, #45 in Belgium. #2 and #17 in Canada, #4 in Denmark, #1 in Finland, #9 in Germany, #4 in Ireland, #10 and #12 in the Netherlands, #8 in New Zealand, #2 in Norway, #4 in Poland, #14 in Sweden, #11 in Switzerland, #5 in the UK Singles chart, #16 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and finally, #10 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The song is certified Gold in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US; but is also certified Platinum in Italy. The music video for “Enter Sandman” won the award for “Best Hard Rock Video” at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. “Enter Sandman” has received many accolades according to Wikipedia: “Rolling Stone magazine listed it as the 408th song on their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list,[ and VH1 placed it 22nd in their list of the “40 Greatest Metal Songs of All Time”, 18th in their list of the “100 Greatest Songs of the ’90s” and 88th in their 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Songs from the Past 25 Years”. Blender magazine included the song in their “The Greatest Songs Ever!” series of articles and placed it 65th on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born”. Q magazine listed it 81st in their list of “The 100 Songs That Changed The World” and 55th in their list of “The 1001 Best Songs Ever”. Total Guitar magazine readers chose the song’s riff as the fifth greatest ever, while Kerrang! places it fourth on their list of the “100 Greatest Singles of All Time”. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes it in their list of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock”. It was also featured in Triple J’s “Hottest 100 of All Time”. In 2009, it was named the 5th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. In 2010, “Enter Sandman” was included in Kerrang’s Top 100, as decided by fans.”
The lyrics to “Enter Sandman” can be viewed here: LINK