Master of Puppets (song)
|"Master of Puppets"|
|Single by Metallica|
|from the album Master of Puppets|
|B-side||"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" (7")|
|Released||July 2, 1986|
|Recorded||1985 at Sweet Silence Studios
|Genre||Thrash metal, progressive metal|
|Metallica singles chronology|
"Master of Puppets" is a song by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released in France only on July 2, 1986 as the only single from the band's 1986 third studio album of the same name. It was also issued as a promo single in the US by Elektra Records.
It is the second and title track of the album, preceded by a shorter, high-speed typical thrash metal track, "Battery", a similar sequencing heard on Metallica's second (Ride the Lightning) and fourth (...And Justice for All) albums. "Master of Puppets" is also notable for its extensive use of downpicking and its long instrumental section, beginning at 3:34.
The song, as lead singer James Hetfield explained, "deals pretty much with drugs. How things get switched around, instead of you controlling what you're taking and doing, it's drugs controlling you." The song was bassist Cliff Burton's favorite song on the album, as quoted when the album was released. The song is one of the band's most famous and popular songs, frequently played at concerts.
The videos Cliff 'Em All and S&M include live performances of "Master of Puppets" in its entirety. A shortened form appears in Cunning Stunts. Both versions can be seen in the video portions of the Live Shit: Binge & Purge box set.
"Master of Puppets" is the band's most played song of all time, first played on December 31, 1985 at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for a crowd of 7,000. As of August 9, 2014, the song has been performed 1,477 times (the most recent being February 6, 2016 in San Francisco, California at AT&T Park). During the band's World Magnetic Tour, additional live performances were filmed in Mexico City; Nîmes, France and Sofia, Bulgaria. These performances were released on video in November 2009 (Mexico and Nîmes) and October 2010 (Sofia).
From late 1999 through 2000, Metallica often combined the song with "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" in concert, calling it "Mastertarium".
|French 7" single|
|1.||"Master of Puppets" (7" Edit)||3:27|
|2.||"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"||4:06|
Martin Popoff's book The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time ranked the song at number 2. Popoff composed the book by requesting that metal fans, musicians, and journalists nominate their favorite heavy metal songs. The author derived the final rankings from a database tallying almost 18,000 votes.
The song also ranked number 1 on a 100 Greatest Riffs poll conducted by Total Guitar magazine.
The readers of Guitar World voted the song as ranking at number 51 among the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett's solos for "Fade to Black" and "One" ranked significantly higher on the same list.
In popular culture
"Master of Puppets" has been covered by multiple artists.
- Violinist David Garrett covered it on his album Rock Symphonies featuring The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Ugly Kid Joe covered the song for Metallic Attack: Metallica - The Ultimate Tribute
- Green Day often plays a small portion of it during the portion of the set where they cover classic Rock n' Roll songs.
- Therapy? played the song's opening in concert, usually leading into their own song "Potato Junkie".
- Trivium recorded a cover that was released on Remastered: Master of Puppets Revisited, distributed free through Kerrang! magazine, and on the re-release of Ascendancy. They occasionally perform parts of this song live.
- Primus has been known to play the opening of the song as a "tease" where Les Claypool, bass player and lead vocalist, plays the guitar part on his bass. The most notable performance of this "tease" was at Woodstock 94.
- Canadian punk band Sum 41 covered it at a live medley at MTV Icon Metallica in 2003. They also played the full song in 2009 at the Hoodwink Festival.
- Progressive metal band Dream Theater covered it live (along with the rest of the album) as a tribute.
- Finnish band Apocalyptica released a cover of the song played only by cellos.
- German punk band Die Ärzte sampled it in the middle of their song "FaFaFa" from the album Die Bestie in Menschengestalt.
- Anthrax sampled a short segment of "Master of Puppets" in their song "I'm the Man".
- Tribute duo Harptallica recorded a harp version on their album Harptallica: A Tribute.
- As a tribute to Metallica, underground New York rapper Necro recited the pre-chorus in his song "Underground" on his album I Need Drugs.
- Burden of Grief covered this song on the compilation A Tribute to the Four Horsemen.
- Sevendust covered parts of the song live.
- French band Justice remixed this song and often play it at their concerts.
- Pendulum performed a cover of this song during their United Kingdom and worldwide tours in 2008 and 2009. Their version was featured on the concert album Live at Brixton Academy.
- The Bang Camaro song "Swallow the Razor" used the lyric "I chop my breakfast on a mirror".
- Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica performed a live cover.
- German a capella metal band Van Canto covered the song on their third studio album Tribe of Force.
- In a sketch from Late Night with Conan O'Brien featuring Triumph, the Comic Insult Dog, Triumph recruited some second-rate Grammy winners to trash John Mayer's hotel room while "Master of Puppets" played.
- The Spanish band Baderna covered the song live.
- Rodrigo of the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela often covers this song live.
- Pakistani heavy metal band Black Warrant included a cover version of the song on their 2006 album Recover II, offered for free download on the band's official site.
Various parts of the song has also been used in various media:
- The song was featured in the film Old School.
- "Master of Puppets" along with "Eye of the Beholder" both appeared in the film The Big Short.
- Conservative talk show host Michael Savage uses the track as the opening of his radio show, The Savage Nation.
- The song was used as former Philadelphia Phillies' third baseman Pedro Feliz's theme song.
- It was featured in The Simpsons episode "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer" in a scene where Hans Moleman drives away as Metallica is playing on the back of his truck.
- Welsh performers Dirty Sanchez used the opening riff during their live performances throughout United Kingdom festivals in 2006.
- It was used as the trailer song and appears in Guitar Hero: Metallica, along with the songs "Battery", "The Thing That Should Not Be", "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", "Disposable Heroes", and "Orion" as playable tracks from the Master of Puppets album.
- It was used in Metal: A Headbanger's Journey.
- Different sections of the song—notably the opening riff and the ending "wail" of Kirk Hammett's solo—were played during a commercial for the 2010 running of the Daytona 500, and commercials promoting the Nationwide Series and NASCAR on ESPN.
- Gulla, Bob (2009). Guitar Gods: The 25 Players who Made Rock History. ABC-CLIO. p. 103. ISBN 9780313358067.
- Brannigan, Paul; Winwood, Ian (2011). Birth School Metallica Death 1. Da Capo Press. p. 195. ISBN 9780306821868.
- Hetfield, James (1988). Interview with Metallica, from Vol. 6, No.8. Interview with Pushead. Thrasher Magazine. Archived from the original on January 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- Brannigan, Winwood 2011, pp. 199–200.
- "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs". VH1. Archived from the original on November 18, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-30.