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10 - Master of Puppets
Manchester, TN

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Master of Puppets on Wikipedia
"Master of Puppets"
Single by Metallica
from the album Master of Puppets
ReleasedJuly 2, 1986
RecordedSeptember–December, 1985 at Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark
GenreThrash metal
Writer(s)James Hetfield / Lars Ulrich / Cliff Burton / Kirk Hammett
ProducerMetallica, Flemming Rasmussen
Metallica singles chronology

"Master of Puppets" is a song by the American heavy metal band Metallica. It is the title track and was released as the first single from their album of the same name.

It is the second and title track of the album, preceded by a shorter, high-speed typical thrash metal track, Battery. There are several such similarities between Metallica's albums Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and ...And Justice for All. Master of Puppets is also notable for its extensive use of downpicking and its long instrumental section, beginning about three and a half minutes into the song.

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."[1]

This song is featured in the video game Guitar Hero: Metallica.

This song was Cliff Burton's favorite song on the album, as quoted when the album was released.

Track listing

French 7" Vinyl Single
  1. "Master of Puppets"
  2. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (Edit)"


VH1 ranked the song as the third greatest heavy metal song ever.[2]

In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 22 in its 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks list.

Martin Popoff's book The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time ranked the song at number two. 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 one on a 100 Greatest Riffs poll conducted by Total Guitar magazine.

The readers of Guitar World voted the song as ranking at number 61 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.

"Master of Puppets" is ranked number three on Digital Dream Door's 100 Greatest Metal Songs.[3]

Live performances

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 Live Shit: Binge & Purge set.

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 Nimes) and October 2010 (Sofia).

In the later 1990s, Metallica would often combine the song with "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" in concert, calling it "Mastertarium".

Covers and usage

"Master of Puppets" has been covered by multiple artists.

  • World's fastest 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 covered a part of the song live as part of a jam.
  • 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 also regularly perform some 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 samples 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 recites the pre-chorus in his song "Underground" off his album I Need Drugs.
  • Limp Bizkit covered it live, with guitarist Wes Borland singing, rather than vocalist Fred Durst.
  • Burden of Grief covers 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 is featured on the concert album Live at Brixton Academy.
  • The Bang Camaro song "Swallow the Razor" uses the lyric "I chop my breakfast on a mirror".
  • The power metal band Sonata Arctica performed a live cover.
  • Van Canto covered the whole song on their third studio album Tribe of Force.
  • On a sketch from Late Night with Conan O'Brien featuring Triumph, the Comic Insult Dog, Triumph recruits some second-rate Grammy winners to trash John Mayer's hotel room while "Master of Puppets" plays.
  • The Spanish band Baderna covered the song live.
  • Rodrigo of the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela often covers this song live.

The song has also been used in various media as a theme song:

  • The song was featured in the movie Old School.
  • Conservative talk show host Michael Savage uses the track as the opening of his radio show, The Savage Nation.
  • The song is Philadelphia Phillies' third baseman Pedro Feliz's theme song.
  • It was also featured in the Simpsons episode The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer when 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 also used as the trailer song and appears in Guitar Hero: Metallica.
  • It was planned for Pump It Up: The Prex 3, but that use was canceled due to licensing issues.
  • It is used in Metal: A Headbanger's Journey.
  • Different sections—notably the opening riff and the ending "wail" of Kirk Hammett's solo—of the song are played during a commercial for the 2010 running of the Daytona 500, and commercials promoting the Nationwide Series and NASCAR on ESPN.
  • An episode of King of the Hill was named after the song.


  1. ^ Hetfield, James. Interview with Pushead. Interview with Metallica, from Vol. 6, No.8. 1988. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
  2. ^ "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs". VH1. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  3. ^ 100 Greatest Metal Songs

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