Metallica is widely considered to be the most popular and influential heavy metal band of the past two decades. During the 1980s the group sold millions of albums through relentless touring and positive word of mouth, despite virtually no radio play or publicity. During the 1990s their sound became more complex and the group embraced radio and MTV to further expand their enormous fan base.
Metallica was formed in Los Angeles in 1981 by vocalist/rhythm guitarist James Hetfield, Danish-American tennis pro-turned-drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Dave Mustaine, and roommate-turned-bassist Ron McGovney. The quartet recorded four songs for a 1982 compilation titled Metal Massacre 1 and four more for a widely circulated demo tape called "No Life 'Til Leather." They soon gained a small underground following. By 1983 the group had relocated to San Francisco, signed to the indie label Megaforce Records and brought in local bassist Cliff Burton and former Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammet to replace McGovney and Mustaine, respectively. That May the revised quartet recorded their full-length debut album, Kill 'Em All (originally titled Metal Up Your Ass), a powerful punk-infused metal album that galvanized the metal underground. After a tour of Europe with Venom, Metallica returned with 1984's Ride the Lightning, a more complex work that continued to attract new fans.
Signing to Elektra Records, Metallica made their major-label debut with 1986's Master of Puppets, a critically acclaimed metal opus supported by a U.S. tour with Ozzy Osbourne. Later that year the group toured Europe, where tragedy struck. On September 27, 1986 bassist Burton was killed when the band's tour bus crashed while traveling to Stockholm. The group returned to the U.S. and recruited Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted, then entered the studio to record a limited-edition all-covers EP, titled Garage Days Re-Revisited, as a warm-up for future work.
Metallica roared back in 1988 with ...And Justice For All, which entered the Top 10 despite receiving virtually no radio play and only limited MTV play of the group's sole video, "One." Electing to embrace the mainstream, Metallica returned with an eponymous 1991 release whose all-black cover has led to it being referred to as the Black Album. More radio friendly and melodic than earlier works, Metallica entered the charts at No. 1 and went on to sell more than seven million copies, spawning the radio/MTV hits "Enter Sandman," "Wherever I May Roam," "The Unforgiven," and "Nothing Else Matters." While the group toured the world for several years, Elektra released the acclaimed box set Live Shit: Binge and Purge in 1993.
Metallica recorded two albums worth of material for their next release, but ended up releasing some of the material as 1996's Load and the rest as 1997's Reload, both of which debuted at No. 1 on the album charts.
The double CD Garage Inc., includes the Garage Days Re-Revisted EP as well as rare B-sides and newly recorded covers. The album was released in late November 1998 on Elektra.
In November 1999, S&M hit record store shelves. The double CD was recorded live with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at the Berkeley Community Theatre.