Remembering the night James Hetfield caught fire on stage
(Credit: Florian Reischauer)

From Johnny Cash to Tank: Metallica’s James Hetfield picks his favourite songs ever

Metallica is such a behemoth of rock and roll that it can feel quite intimidating to ever approach them, even as a subject. The band offer up a meaningful output that is sure to leave you quaking in your boots. But, as with many performers, once you get past the persona the group and its members are just like you and me.

It means that, like you and me, they probably create their own playlists and pick their own shower songs. It’s a joyful image to imagine Kirk Hammett belting out Bette Midler in the shower and it got us thinking about what the band’s singer, James Hetfield, like to put on his stereo system. Below we can find out as we’ve got a playlist of the singer’s favourite songs.

Metallica are the juggernauts of metal music. One of the early adopters of the scene the band turned the ’80s hair metal on its head and delivered some heavy iron worthy of anchoring an entire scene to. They’re so widely beloved that it’s hard to imagine the band doing anything ‘normal’.

But if we’re to trust this 2016 playlist, which in this case we will, we can assume that Hetfield, just like the rest of us, likes to vary up his genres when creating the perfect playlist. The band’s powerhouse lead singer isn’t one to shy away and the playlist of his favourite music is littered with proof that he wouldn’t avoid his roots here either selecting heavy rock above all else.

Yet Hetfield also shows off a far deeper side to his musical taste. The singer selects jazz-guitarist Bill Frisell and indie rock charmers Unknown Mortal Orchestra to name a couple—but the peace doesn’t last for long as Hetfield always lands on the tougher side of rock.

Selecting some veteran thrash bands like Venom and Dark Angel as well as some more modern metal acts like Pallbearer and Ghost B.C. Hetfield shows that he’s metal to the core. There are also notable choices of Gary Jules’ version of ‘Mad World’ and a special song from Colin Hay, the former frontman of Men At Work, which have made us smile. But all in all the playlist shows a truly musical man.

Not confined to one mood or genre, Hetfield shows off that the singer knows his stuff no matter the band and his playlist is truly enjoyable from start to finish, no matter your musical persuasion.

Listen to Hetfield’s full playlist below.

James Hetfield’s favourite songs:

  • ‘Shellshock’ – Tank
  • ‘The Highway Man’ – Johnny Cash
  • ‘Gloomy Sunday’ – Pallbearer
  • ‘Surfer Girl’ – Bill Frisell
  • ‘Mad World’ – Gary Jules
  • ‘Indian Reservation’ – Paul Revere and The Raiders
  • ‘Fertile Green’ – High on Fire
  • ‘Lahja’ – Oranssi Pazuzu
  • ‘From The Pinnacle to the Pit’ – Ghost
  • ‘Jeweler’s Daughter’ – Carousel
  • ‘Eyes on Fire’ – Blue Foundation
  • ‘Who You Can Trust’ – Ivy Levan
  • ‘Die Hard’ – Venom
  • ‘Multi-Love’ – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
  • ‘Dear Father’ – Colin Hay
  • ‘Volcanic’ – Death Angel
Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content