Nothing Else Matters

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"Nothing Else Matters"
Metallica - Nothing Else Matters cover.jpg
Single by Metallica
from the album Metallica
ReleasedApril 20, 1992
RecordedMay 30, 1991 at One on One Studios, North Hollywood, California
Metallica singles chronology
"The Unforgiven"
"Nothing Else Matters"
"Wherever I May Roam"
Music video
"Nothing Else Matters" on YouTube

"Nothing Else Matters" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released in 1992 as the third single from their self-titled fifth studio album, Metallica. The song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number 6 on the UK Singles Chart as well as top-ten on many other European charts. "Nothing Else Matters" was featured as a playable track in the music video game Guitar Hero: Metallica. Recognized as one of Metallica's best known and most popular songs, it has become a staple in live performances.


Lead singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield wrote the song (credited to Hetfield/Ulrich[1]) in 1990 while he was on the phone with his then girlfriend. Since he held the phone with one hand, he plucked the four open strings of a standard E-minor chord with the other, which eventually made up the first two bars of the song. The lyrics, which talk about being "so close, no matter how far", were also dedicated to his girlfriend, indicating the bond they shared even when Hetfield was on tour. Initially, the song was not meant to be released, as Hetfield had written it for himself, but after drummer Lars Ulrich heard it, it was considered for the album.[2]


The song's demo was also called "Nothing Else Matters" and was recorded in Lars Ulrich's home musical studio "Dungeon" on August 13, 1990.


Its intro is an E minor arpeggio (transposed one half-step lower on stage performances) beginning with the open low E followed by the open G, B and high E strings.

It is one of the few Metallica songs in which Hetfield plays the guitar solo. Given that Hetfield recorded all rhythm and most harmony tracks on the band's first five albums and that Hammett has stated he didn't learn how to play the song until they were well into the tour for the album, Hammett does not play on the studio recording, making it one of the few in the whole Metallica repertoire, along with Cliff Burton's "(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth", in which he does not appear.

The orchestral arrangements were written by award-winning composer Michael Kamen, who would later go on to collaborate with the group on S&M.

Music video[edit]

The music video premiered on MTV on February 26, 1992.[citation needed] It was directed by Adam Dubin, and edited by Sean Fullan. The clip consists of parts of the A year and a half... video tape which was shot during the recordings of Metallica.[citation needed] One of them shows Hetfield playing a Gibson EDS-1275 guitar during the second chorus. MTV will not air the video during daytime hours anymore because it features nudity in the form of pin-up posters and Playboy centerfolds that are taped up in the studio. It also has a picture of Winger's Kip Winger which Lars Ulrich is seen throwing darts at. On the band's 2006 music video compilation DVD, the posters are censored, as was done with the nudity featured in the music videos for "Turn the Page" and "Whiskey in the Jar".


The song has now become a staple in Metallica's live performances, and has been dedicated to their fans. When played live nowadays, Hammett does the first part of the intro, and Hetfield joins in for the second, to then sing and play it alone until after the first chorus, when the whole band kicks in. Also, the last verse is left out, ending the song with the heavily distorted guitar solo by Hetfield, and usually fading into "Enter Sandman". A live version on which this can be heard, can be found on the CD/DVD Orgullo, Pasión y Gloria: Tres Noches en la Ciudad de México. Other live recordings can be found on Live Shit: Binge & Purge, on S&M, Cunning Stunts DVD as well as the DVD/Blu-ray The Big 4 Live from Sofia, Bulgaria as well as on the soundtrack for the band's feature film "Through the Never".

Track listing[edit]

U.S. cassette
1."Nothing Else Matters"6:30
2."Enter Sandman" (Live)5:26
International single
1."Nothing Else Matters"6:30
2."Enter Sandman" (Live)5:26
3."Harvester of Sorrow" (Live)6:02
4."Nothing Else Matters" (Demo)5:52
Live at Wembley Stadium, London, April 20th, 1992
1."Enter Sandman"5:39
2."Sad but True"5:30
3."Nothing Else Matters"6:17
1999 CD single
1."Nothing Else Matters" (Live)6:47
2."For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Live)4:52
3."- Human" (Live)4:19
4."Nothing Else Matters" (Video) 

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1992–93) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[4] 8
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 5
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 41
Denmark (IFPI)[7] 4
France (SNEP)[8] 10
Germany (Official German Charts)[9] 9
Ireland (IRMA)[10] 6
Italy (Musica e dischi)[11] 4
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[12] 5
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 11
Spain (AFYVE)[15] 5
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 14
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 5
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 34
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[20] 11
Chart (1999-2000) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[21] 6
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 14
Chart (2007–10) Peak
Denmark (Tracklisten)[22] 23
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[23] 14
Ireland (IRMA)[24] 28
Norway (VG-lista)[25] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 12
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 10
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 53
Chart (2012–20) Peak
Hungary (Single Top 40)[26] 23
France (SNEP)[8] 162
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 40

Year-end charts[edit]

Year-end chart (1992) Position
Australia (ARIA)[27] 69


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[27] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[28] Platinum 50,000*
Belgium (BEA)[29] Platinum 50,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[30] Platinum 45,000^
Germany (BVMI)[31] Platinum 500,000^
Italy (FIMI)[32] Platinum 50,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[33] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[35] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


Additional personnel

Alternative versions[edit]

"Nothing Else Matters '99"[edit]

"Nothing Else Matters '99 (Live)"
Metallica - Nothing Else Matters (live) cover.jpg
Single by Metallica
from the album S&M
ReleasedNovember 22, 1999
FormatCD single
RecordedApril 21–22, 1999, at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, California
Metallica singles chronology
"Die, Die My Darling"
"Nothing Else Matters '99 (Live)"
"No Leaf Clover"
San Francisco Symphony singles chronology
"Nothing Else Matters '99"
"No Leaf Clover"

For its appearance on S&M, its orchestration was arranged by Michael Kamen conducting the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. This live version is featured on the album S&M. It was also released as the single "Nothing Else Matters '99", which included the b-sides "-Human", and the S&M version of "For Whom the Bell Tolls", on November 22, 1999.[36] This version was also played with guitars tuned to E♭.

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[37] 28
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[38] 33
Germany (Official German Charts)[39] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[40] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[41] 4
Year-end charts
Chart (2000) Position
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[42] 31

"Elevator Version"[edit]

There is also an acoustic remix of "Nothing Else Matters" that is called the "elevator version" with no electric guitars (replaced by acoustic guitars, even for the solo), Kamen's orchestrations, and Hetfield's voice only; it appears as the b-side to "Sad but True".

Lucie Silvas version[edit]

"Nothing Else Matters"
Single by Lucie Silvas
from the album Breathe In
B-side"Better Love Next Time" (Demo)
ReleasedOctober 31, 2005
FormatCD single, Digital download
Producer(s)Mike Peden
Lucie Silvas singles chronology
"Forget Me Not"
"Nothing Else Matters"
"Everytime I Think of You"

"Nothing Else Matters" is a special Europe-only single by British singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas. It was released in exactly the same way as "Don't Look Back", with the same b-sides and artwork.

Track listing[edit]

1."Nothing Else Matters" (Edit)James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich3:07
2."Breathe In" (Live in Denmark)Lucie Silvas, Judie Tzuke, Graham Kearns, Mike Peden3:32
1."Nothing Else Matters" (Edit)Hetfield, Ulrich3:07
2."Twisting The Chain" (Acoustic)Silvas, Charlie Russell, Kearns, Peden3:55
3."Better Love Next Time" (Demo)Tzuke, Kearns3:40
4."Nothing Else Matters" (Video)Hetfield, Ulrich 


Chart (2005) Peak
Dutch Top 40 13
Germany 38
Greece[43] 35
Eurochart Hot 100 160

"Gregorian Version"[edit]

Gregorian a German band headed by Frank Peterson that performs Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs. In 1999, they recovered their version to be included on their album "Masters of Chant".[44]


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  15. ^ "Hits of the World – Spain". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. June 20, 1992. p. 48. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
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  18. ^ a b "Metallica: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  19. ^ "Metallica Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Metallica Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  21. ^ " – Metallica – Nothing Else Matters" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  22. ^ " – Metallica – Nothing Else Matters". Tracklisten.
  23. ^ "Metallica: Nothing Else Matters" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
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  25. ^ " – Metallica – Nothing Else Matters". VG-lista.
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  28. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Metallica – Nothing Else Matters" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  29. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 2014". Ultratop. Hung Medien.
  30. ^ "Certifications". Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  31. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Metallica; 'Nothing Else Matters')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  32. ^ "Italian single certifications – Metallica – Nothing Else Matters" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 2, 2012. Select "2013" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Nothing Else Matters" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  33. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Metallica – Nothing Else Matters". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  34. ^ "British single certifications – Metallica – Nothing Else Matters". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 25, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Nothing Else Matters in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  35. ^ "American single certifications – Metallica – Nothing Else Matters". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 13, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  36. ^ Nothing Else Matters '99 release date Archived 2013-01-15 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ " – Metallica with Michael Kamen conducting The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – Nothing Else Matters". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
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  41. ^ " – Metallica with Michael Kamen conducting The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – Nothing Else Matters". Swiss Singles Chart.
  42. ^ "Swiss year-end chart". 2000. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  43. ^ IFPI archive
  44. ^ "r/Music - Gregorian - Nothing Else Matters [Gregorian chant, new age]". reddit. Retrieved 6 January 2020.

External links[edit]