Metallica's debut LP, "Kill 'Em All", was released in 1983. It was followed in 1984 by "Ride The Lightning". This led to a major label deal with Elektra. In 1986, the band released "Master Of Puppets", which is considered by many to be one of the greatest heavy metal records of all time. In September of that year, while on tour in Sweden, the band was involved in a bus accident which took the life of Cliff Burton. Eventually, Jason Newsted (of Flotsam And Jetsam) was hired as the band's new bassist and he made his debut on 1987's "Garage Days Re-Revisited", an EP of cover tunes.
In 1990, Metallica hooked up with producer Bob Rock for a self-titled release that would become better known as "The Black Album", due to its cover art. Released in 1991, the black album would become one of the best-selling rock albums of all time, selling over 16 million copies in the US alone.
In 1996, the band returned with "Load". The following year, "Reload" appeared. The albums continued the band’s trend of more accessible music. In 1999, the group released an album and accompanying film called "S&M", which featured Metallica performing their songs with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
In 2001, as the band was preparing to begin work on a new album, Newsted quit the group, citing personal and musical reasons. Work on the new album was further complicated when Hetfield entered rehab for alcohol abuse. The album, called "St. Anger", was eventually completed in 2003 with producer Bob Rock handling the bass. Upon its release, "St. Anger" drew mostly negative reviews. Following the recording, Robert Trujillo, formerly of Suicidal Tendencies, was hired as bassist. The making of the album was captured in the documentary “Some Kind Of Monster”.
In 2008, "Death Magnetic", produced by Rick Rubin, would surface and was hailed by many as Metallica's return to thrash metal. The following year, Metallica was inducted into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Former bassist Jason Newsted was present and Cliff Burton's father appeared on Cliff's behalf. Dave Mustaine, who was not inducted, was invited to the ceremony by the band but declined to attend. In 2011, Metallica collaborated with Lou Reed on the album, “Lulu”, which was largely panned by critics and ignored by consumers.