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From Thin Lizzy to Jimi Hendrix: Metallica's Kirk Hammett picks his favourite songs ever

We’re digging deep into the Far Out vault to bring you the favourite songs of one of the legendary members of the heavy metal society, Metallica’s own guitar maestro, the inimitable, Kirk Hamett. Below he picks his ultimate playlist.

As one of the behemoths of the rock world, Metallica has a certain aura about them that makes it hard to imagine them doing anything normal. Can you really imagine James Hetfield putting out the rubbish or Kirk Hammett clearing the unwanted photos from his phone? We can’t.

When we stumbled upon this 2016 Spotify feature that had the band’s guitarists extraordinaire, Kirk Hammet pick the perfect playlist of his favourite tunes, we found it hard to imagine them sitting down to actually make the thing. However, we aren’t sceptical that Hammett knows his way around the decks.

Kirk Hammet may well be known as the more culturally savvy of all his bandmates. A musician not afraid to step out of line with the metal credentials that gave him his fame, Hammett’s selections as his favourite songs see some curious artists making their presence felt amid the heavy rock royalty.

Hammett picks two versions of Damian Marley’s ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ — the original and, inexplicably, one live version with Jack Johnson, and it doesn’t end there. The more curious selections, or perhaps we should say unexpected, continue as he also picks the legendary Carole King, The Isley Brothers and Captain Beefheart—all of which wouldn’t necessarily be associated with Hammett’s style.

Naturally, there is a doff of the cap to the guitar legends of times gone by as he selects two deep cuts from Thin Lizzy and Jimi Hendrix amidst a host of heavy rock. Hendrix was an undoubted influence on Hammett, and his song became the first the legendary guitarist would ever learn on the instrument.

“The very first song I ever learned was ‘Purple Haze.’ I learned it and then two weeks later I rallied some friends – me, a bass player, a drummer, and a singer – I was plugged into an amp, the bassist was plugged into the same amp, and the vocalist was plugged into the same amp. [Laughs]

“We played ‘Purple Haze’ and that was all we played for 15 minutes. [Laughs] Make racket, stop, play again.” It was this ethos that Hammett took into Metallica and continues to imbue their work with a sense of freedom.

Kirk Hammett’s favourite songs:

  • ‘Blood and Thunder’ – Mastodon
  • ‘Tell Me’ – Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • ‘Mambo Inn’ – Grant Green
  • ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ – Damian Marley
  • ‘Really Rosie’ – Carole King
  • ‘I’m Gunna Booglarise You Babby’ – Captain Beefheart
  • ‘Vacuity’ – Gojira
  • ‘The Heat Is On, Pts 1 & 2’ – The Isley Brothers
  • ‘Drifting’ – Jimi Hendrix
  • ‘Set to Fail’ – Lamb of God
  • ‘Everything In It’s Right Place’ – Radiohead
  • ‘Kill The King’ – Rainbow
  • ‘Polar Nights’ – Scorpions
  • ‘Gibson Boy’ – Tal Farlow
  • ‘Lay Down, Stay Down’ – Deep Purple
  • ‘Opium Trail’ – Thin Lizzy
  • ‘Hello It’s Me’ – Todd Rundgren
  • ‘Ghosts Along the Mississippi’ – DOWN
  • ‘Ritual’ – Ghost
  • ‘The 2nd Law: Unsustainable’ – Muse
  • ‘I Like It’ – Foxy Shazam
  • ‘Hollow’ – Alice in Chains