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Kurt Cobain's favourite song and album by Metallica

Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain never spoke publically about his love of Metallica. However, he was close friends with their guitarist Kirk Hammett, who later revealed the singer’s favourite records by the metal legends.

Their first meeting came before Nirvana exploded into the big time and had only released Bleach on Sub-Pop. Although the album didn’t break the mainstream, it was a hit on the underground and found its way to Hammett, who became obsessed with the record. When Metallica next visited Seattle, the pair hung out, and their friendship blossomed.

Hammett didn’t expect Cobain to like Metallica as much as he did, and it took the guitarist aback. Despite the Nirvana frontman’s love for the pioneering metal act, he did refuse to open for them on tour. However, this was reportedly down to his dislike for fellow support act Guns N’ Roses rather than any issues with Metallica.

“When we recorded The Black Album, I was listening to this band that was on this independent record label,” Hammett once said about Nirvana. “I was really into their first album. So I sat down with the singer. His name was Kurt. He said that one of his favourite albums was Ride The Lightning,” he added.

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Although Ride The Lightning was his favourite record by Metallica, Hammett confirmed that ‘Whiplash’ from Kill’ Em All was Cobain’s favourite track by the group. “Absolutely,” Hammett told Rolling Stone. “He told me that himself. He came to one of our shows in Seattle, on the Black Album tour.”

He continued: “I remember at one point, we were playing ‘Whiplash,’ and he looked at me and kept punching the air with his fist, and gave me a big thumbs-up sign. I was like, ‘Cool. Kurt, I know you love this song. This one’s for you!’ I knew Kurt kind of well, and I hung out with him quite a bit. He was a pretty big Metallica fan – I was surprised at how much of a Metallica fan he was. He loved Ride the Lightning. He loved that album.”

While Metallica is not an apparent influence on Nirvana’s sound, their success did help make it possible for them to achieve mainstream popularity and have the cultural impact they had. Both groups refused to conform to the norms of popular music and instead squeezed in unexpectedly through the back door without ever compromising.

Hammett thinks that way too, and once said: “Rock radio embracing our sound – our heaviness – helped the whole grunge thing take hold. Not long after The Black Album came out, Nirvana put out Nevermind. I like to think we had something to do with the acceptance of Nirvana.”

Listen to Cobain’s favourite song and album by Metallica below.