“Fade to Black” is the fourth track from American heavy metal band Metallica and their 1984 album “Ride the Lightning”.
“Fade to Black” was written and produced by all members of Metallica, as well as producer Flemming Rasmussen helping with the production. The tracks tell the story of a man who wants to commit suicide. James Hetfield (lead vocalist/guitarist in Metallica) commented on the song in a interview with Guitar World in 1991: “That song was a big step for us. It was pretty much our first ballad, so we knew it would freak people out… Recording that song, I learned how frustrating acoustic guitar can be. You could hear every squeak, so I had to be careful. I wrote the song at a friend’s house in New Jersey. I was pretty depressed at the time because our gear had just been stolen, and we had been thrown out of our manager’s house for breaking shit and drinking his liquor cabinet dry. It’s a suicide song, and we got a lot of flak for it, as if kids were killing themselves because of the song. But we also got hundreds of letters from kids telling us how they related to the song and that it made them feel better.” Hetfield also spoke about the track in a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, stating that ““Fade to Black” got good and bad response. When the censorship thing started, that was one of the songs they tried to attack. These parents finding their kids dead in the garage with these lyrics, sucking on an exhaust pipe. People tried to sue bands for their mistakes. But we got tons and tons of letters—we still do—that say, “Fade to Black saved my life.” But no one wants to read that. It’s too nice, too boring.”
There is no official music video for the track, but a video of a live performance of “Fade to Black” was uploaded to Metallica’s YouTube channel in December 2018. Metallica are performing the track at the Pinnacle Banks Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska in the US. One year later, the video has over 8.2 million views and 55 thousand plus likes.
Release Date: 30th September 1984
Songwriter/s: James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton & Kirk Hammett
Producer/s: Metallica & Flemming Rasmussen
Label/s: Megaforce & Elektra
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Accolades: “Fade to Black” peaked at #100 on the Swiss Singles charts in 2008. The track is certified Gold in the US, and the song is ranked as having the 24th best guitar solo ever by Guitar World readers in May 2019.
The lyrics to “Fade to Black” can be accessed here: LINK