Happy 60th birthday, Lars Ulrich!
The Metallica drummer and metal icon was born December 26, 1963, in Denmark. He’d originally set out to be a professional tennis player like his father, but decided to pursue music instead after moving to California.
As the story goes, once in California, Ulrich placed an ad in a newspaper looking to start a band, which then caught the attention of a young James Hetfield. The pair officially met in 1981, and formed Metallica.
With Metallica, Ulrich would help pioneer the burgeoning thrash subgenre of metal with albums such as Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. The group would then bring metal to the mainstream with their giant 1991 self-titled effort, aka The Black Album, which is certified Diamond by the RIAA and spawned singles including “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters.”
A decade later, Ulrich would be in the headlines more for his vocal opposition to Napster than for Metallica’s music. The software platform allowed fans to share files of songs with each other for free — then a novel concept — which, during a 2000 Senate hearing, Ulrich testified amounted to copyright infringement.
Dysfunction in the Metallica camp followed into the new millennium, which was famously documented in the 2004 film Some Kind of Monster. Eventually, the group restabilized, and has released three more albums: 2008’s Death Magnetic, 2016’s Hardwired … to Self Destruct and 2023’s 72 Seasons. In between, Ulrich and Metallica were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
Today, Metallica remains the biggest band in metal, with Ulrich in particular becoming an ambassador for the genre. The group spent the last year headlining stadiums on their M72 world tour, which will resume in 2024.
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