Metallica announced last week that, in celebration of their 30th anniversary, they are playing four fan-club exclusive shows at The Fillmore in San Francisco in December. Rolling back prices to 1981 levels, Met Club members can buy tickets to each show for six bucks, or to all four for the even-more ridiculous price of $19.81. The group will likely revisit each stage of their career during the run, from the highs of Master Of Puppets (when they were “the greatest fucking band in the world ever”) to the lows of St. Anger (aka “Kirk Hammett is sad because Mommy and Daddy are fighting”).
What's interesting is that despite ascending during the early peak of MTV — which is celebrating a 30th anniversary of its own this week — Metallica didn't make a video until their fourth album …And Justice For All, for “One”. While eschewing videos for their first five years helped brand them as an “Us Against Them” band, there's no doubt they would have been awesome. And so, here are our Top Five '80s Metallica Songs That Deserved Kick Ass Music Videos.
5. “For Whom The Bell Tolls” (from Ride The Lightning)
Conjuring visions of men that lost their lives on the battlefield, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” is one of a handful of Metallica songs so beloved that they have never left their live show. While the title and some lyrics are inspired by the eponymous Ernest Hemingway novel set during the Spanish Civil War, we imagine the video looking more like the battle scenes from 300, except with less-chiseled abs, even more slow-motion and blood, and everyone on both sides dying.
4. “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” (from Master Of Puppets)
One of many Metallica songs dealing with mental illness, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”'s imaginary music video would have been a spiritual ancestor to the video for “The Unforgiven.” The Protagonist in “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” is looking to evade the mental demons that are suffocating him; similarly, “The Unforgiven”'s video also portrays a man who has long been trapped and is looking for escape. One could dub “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” over the video for “The Unforgiven” and, save for the parts where James Hetfield is singing, the mash up would make perfect sense.
3. “Disposable Heroes” (from Master Of Puppets)
The lyrics of “Disposable Heroes” concern the trauma that many Vietnam veterans felt during the years that followed the war, but without the catchy chorus of Bruce Springsteen's “Born In The U.S.A.” The video for “Disposable Heroes” would likely depict a returned veteran unable to deal with today's reality and the memory of the things he did during the war. He's ready to end it all… until, in a Stallone-like twist, he decides to return to Vietnam to rescue forgotten POWs, help the Mujahideen fight the Soviets, and save a missionary group from being slaughtered by the corrupt Burmese military regime.
2. “Ride The Lightning” (from Ride The Lightning)
Like its lyrics, the “Ride The Lightning” video would obviously concern a prisoner receiving his last rites before being executed for his crimes against humanity. But the real question is whether James Hetfield would play the role of the prisoner. Considering the video would likely have lots of bad '80s special effects to portray the electrocution, it might be a good idea to have the band stay out of this one. After all, having the vocals being sung by a prisoner getting fried would smell like bad '80s cheese.
1. “The Four Horsemen” (from Kill 'Em All)
Time. Famine. Pestilence. Death. “The Four Horsemen”'s themes should theoretically make for the awesomest music video ever. It wasn't going to happen on a Megaforce Records circa 1983 marketing budget, but we can dream: Every awesome Iron Maiden video meets every awesome Dio video, and it all meshes into this apocalyptic nightmare tale. The band members would act as stand-ins unleashing swaths of metallic destruction on the unsuspecting masses, with lots of fire and shit blowing up everywhere. It would be why music videos were invented in the first place.