Contact Us

How Soundgarden Inspired Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’

Metallica Soundgarden
Theo Wargo / Buda Mendes, Getty Images

One of Metallica‘s most famous riffs might never have existed if not for Soundgarden.

“Soundgarden had just put out Louder Than Love. I was trying to capture their at­titude toward big, heavy riffs,” guitarist Kirk Hammett told Rolling Stone in 2008. “It was two o’clock in the morning. I put it on tape and didn’t think about it. When [drummer] Lars [Ulrich] heard the riff, he said, ‘That’s really great. But repeat the first part four times.’ It was that suggestion that made it even more hooky.”

And so begins “Enter Sandman,” which became a million-selling single then a fixture at sports events. A connection between the two bands continued. They made a memorable – and somewhat controversial – appearance together at Lollapalooza, and both were set to play last weekend’s Rock on the Range. Then came news of the shocking suicide of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell.

Now they’re joined in grief. Metallica addressed the sad news during their May 19 show in Foxborough, Mass. “We forgive you, Chris,” frontman James Hetfield said after the band played “The Unforgiven,” another standout cut from Metallica’s 1991 self-titled album. Later in the same show, bassist Rob Trujillo referenced Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.”

Some fans questioned Metallica’s headlining spot at 1996’s Lollapalooza, but the heated debate ended up giving Hammett yet another opportunity to note his Soundgarden fandom.

“I think that the bill on this year’s Lollapalooza is pretty good,” Hammett told Guitar World back then. “It may be a little top-heavy because of us and Soundgarden, but it’s certainly stronger than last year’s. F— all those f—ing elitists who say ‘Metallica’s not alternative’ or ‘They’re too big of a band to play Lollapalooza.’ They’re just being very narrow-minded. I’ve been to every single one; I’ve actually jammed at a few too. When Ministry was out, I played with them a few times, and I did the same with Primus. I’ve f—ing loved Soundgarden since 1985 or ’86.”

Metallica kicked off their WorldWired tour behind Hardwired … to Self-Destruct earlier this month. Cornell died on May 18 just hours after Soundgarden played a Detroit concert. Survivors say prescription drugs may have played a role in his death.

Soundgarden Albums Ranked Worst to Best

Next: Top 10 Metallica Post-‘Black Album’ Songs

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Recommended For You

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for 97.7 KCRR quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive 97.7 KCRR contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.