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Music

Metallica's Kirk Hammett once revealed his favourite song of all time

@josephtaysom

Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett has been an essential part of the group ever since he rescued them when they were desperate following the departure of Dave Mustaine. Almost 40 years on, it’s hard to envisage their line-up bereft of the prolific axeman.

Following his inclusion into their set-up, things only continued to escalate for the group, and now it’s impossible to think of heavy metal without their name immediately springing to one’s mind. While they get the credit for being pioneers of the genre, that isn’t strictly true, and Hammett’s favourite track of all time is one from true trailblazers of the heavy metal genre.

Kirk Hammett’s musical upbringing took a turn to the darker side of life thanks to his older brother Rick. It was Rick who introduced him to the dangerous bands of rock and roll such as Led Zeppelin, and UFO, as well as Jimi Hendrix. All these artists captivated a young Hammett and convinced him to buy his first guitar as a 15-year-old.

Around this time, Hammett’s life began to revolve around his new sonic obsession, and there’s one song that particularly reminds the guitarist of this precious period. “One of my all-time favourite songs is ‘Shoot, Shoot’ from the UFO when I was 15 or 16 years old,” he told Pop Talk. “You know, just learning how to play the guitar in my room. (When) I first learned that song earlier that afternoon; I was just so blown away by the guitar playing, and just the riffs and everything.”

Being able to master his heroes’ song gave Hammett a sizeable confidence boost and made him feel like he was on the right track. Furthermore, there was something intangible about UFO that he found endearing and unlike anybody else around.

He continued: “When I learned it, it gave me a real sense of accomplishment. Because first of all, it was UFO, a band that was unlike any other band in America at that time, late ’70s. No one really knew who UFO was; to this day, a lot of people don’t know. But, when I learned that song like I said, it gave me a real sense of accomplishment because I could play it from beginning to end, and the guitar solo.”

Over the years, his love for the song has only strengthened, and Hammett believes that it’s responsible for developing the unique style that he still flaunts in Metallica all these decades later.

Hammett added: “Then I proceeded to play it like throughout all my teenage years – in my bedroom, just alone with the recording. So, when I look back at that time, I think why that song is kind of, like – it was a big part of my development as a guitar player and just finding my style. It has a lot of the elements that I learned then and that I still use now today in Metallica. Very basic elements. But it’s still there. So, that’s why it’s my favourite song I think.”

While Hammett may not necessarily believe it’s the best song of all time, the glowing sentiment he has for ‘Shoot, Shoot’ is unmatched. For that reason, the crucial role the track played in his journey as a guitarist will never be paralleled.