The Memory Remains

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"The Memory Remains"
Single by Metallica featuring Marianne Faithfull
from the album ReLoad
B-side Fuel for Fire/Memory
The Outlaw Torn/King Nothing
For Whom the Bell Tolls (Haven't Heard it Yet Mix)
Released November 10, 1997
Format CD single, Cassette, Vinyl
Recorded 1996
Genre Heavy Metal
Length 4:38
Label Elektra
Writer(s) James Hetfield
Lars Ulrich
Producer(s) Bob Rock with Hetfield and Ulrich
Metallica featuring Marianne Faithfull singles chronology
"King Nothing"
"The Memory Remains"
"The Unforgiven II"
Music video
"The Memory Remains" on YouTube

"The Memory Remains" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, with British singer-songwriter Marianne Faithfull singing backup. It was the lead single from their seventh studio album, ReLoad, released in 1997. It was first performed live in a "jam" version on July 2, 1996.[1] Faithfull was brought in as James Hetfield felt her "weathered, smellin'-the-cigarettes-on-the-CD voice" fit what he described as "the whole eeriness of the Sunset Boulevard-feel of the song", given the lyrics tell the story of a faded artist who goes insane from losing her fame.[2] The spoken words "Say yes, at least say hello" during the outro, are a reference to The Misfits, which is the last movie Marilyn Monroe starred in.[3]

The song was written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Part of the intro riff is similar to Black Sabbath's song "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." It can be heard playing in the strip club Bada Bing! in the episode of The Sopranos, "The Knight in White Satin Armor." The song was used by WWE as one of the official theme songs to WrestleMania XXVIII promoting the "End of an Era" Hell in a Cell match between Triple H and The Undertaker.


The song's demo was also called "Memory" and was recorded in Lars Ulrich's home musical studio "Dungeon" on March 6, 1995 (take 1) and March 17, 1995 (take 2).

Other versions[edit]

The band, with Marianne Faithfull, performed the song on the December 6, 1997 edition of Saturday Night Live. A live version of the song was released as B-side to the single "The Unforgiven II". It was later performed with the San Francisco Symphony (conducted by Michael Kamen) on S&M. Another live version was included on Orgullo, Pasión y Gloria. According to a post on Metallica's Facebook wall, they performed the song again with Marianne Faithfull on December 7, 2011, at the Fillmore in San Francisco.


Several bands have covered the song (either live or on record), including The Kovenant, Spleen, Iron Horse and The Stanford Harmonics.

Chart performance[edit]

The single was successful, hitting #28 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #13 on the UK Singles Chart. It was Metallica's last appearance in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 until 2008's "The Day That Never Comes".

Music video[edit]

The "Memory Remains" music video (directed by Paul Andresen) features a surreal, anti-gravity concept. The band plays on a large, suspended platform making full and continuous rotations throughout the performance, like an enormous swing. The platform and band are actually stationary and the room, a giant constructed box, spins around it. Marianne Faithfull sings in a dark corridor and turns the crank of a street organ. In some scenes money rains down, an allegorical reference.

According to Encyclopedia Metallica, the video was shot at the Van Nuys Airport and cost $400,000, with the large platform costing over $100,000. The video premiered on MTV's Mattrock on November 15, 1997.[1]

Track listing[edit]

CD Single (ReLoad)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Memory Remains"   James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 4:38
2. "Fuel for Fire" (work in progress with different lyrics) Hetfield, Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 4:41
3. "Memory" (demo) Hetfield, Ulrich 6:41
CD Single (UK pt. 2)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Memory Remains"   Hetfield, Ulrich 4:38
2. "The Outlaw Torn" (Unencumbered by Manufacturing Restrictions Version) Hetfield, Ulrich 10:48
3. "King Nothing" (Tepid Mix) Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett 5:07
CD 2-track Single (U.S. & Canada) & 7" Single (Europe)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Memory Remains"   Hetfield, Ulrich 4:38
2. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Haven't Heard It Yet Mix) Hetfield, Ulrich, Cliff Burton 4:39


Additional performer

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[4] 6
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[5] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 28
Canada Top Singles (RPM)
Canada Rock/Alternative (RPM)[7] 25
Denmark (Tracklisten)[8] 13
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[9] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[10] 20
Ireland (IRMA) 13
Italy (FIMI) 13
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[11] 17
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[12] 23
Norway (VG-lista)[13] 3
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[14] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 30
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 13
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 28
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 3

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Europe November 10, 1997 Vinyl, CD Elektra
United States November 11, 1997 Vinyl, CD Elektra