James Hetfield picks his favorite vocalists and singers of all time. Metallica‘s frontman James Hetfield is a well-known musician and he likes to add different heavy metal vocal styles to his music and lyrics for Metallica band. In this article, we will detail the bands that James Hetfield picked as his favorite of all time.
Hetfield‘s career as a musician began while he was a teenager, on August 3, 1963, in Downey, California. He co-founded Metallica in 1981 with drummer Lars Ulrich, crafting a sound that mixed strong guitar riffs, intricate song structures, and raw, introspective lyrics. James Hetfield’s strong and emotional vocal style was important in developing the band’s signature sound.
Metallica gained popularity during the band’s career, becoming one of the most commercially successful and influential metal bands of all time. Hetfield’s songwriting talents have been crucial to the band’s success, with anthems such as “Enter Sandman,” “Master of Puppets,” and “Nothing Else Matters” resonating with millions of fans around the world.
Despite Metallica’s success, Hetfield struggled with personal issues that affected his life and the band’s trajectory. He entered rehab in 2001 and out in 2022, battling addiction and alcoholism, resulting in a sabbatical for Metallica. Hetfield’s recovery journey has been impressive, and his perseverance in conquering these obstacles has garnered him respect and affection from fans and peers alike.
Hetfield has undertaken other artistic activities in addition to his involvement in Metallica. He has demonstrated his skill as a guitarist, contributing to the band’s particular sound, and is noted for creating complicated and memorable riffs. Furthermore, through his company, ‘Hetfield’s Garage,’ he has pursued his passion for autos, going into custom car and motorcycle manufacturing.
James Hetfield’s Favorite 10 Metal and Rock Music Bands of All Time
James Hetfield has also been known to share his respect for other talented music bands. Hetfield picked his favorite metal and rock bands of all time. He has a passion for heavy music and Hetfield also revealed what he thought about Metallica’s latest new album M72:
“It’s not that I’m not sharing it with them; I don’t know what it is yet. In the past, there’s been, you know, 14 riffs, 14 song ideas. And you just kind of link them together – what matches with one thing. A lot of them are either just subject matter or potent words or maybe even a song title with nothing else. What I tried to do this time was to introduce the vocal patterns and the cadence, the intensity. What are the vocals going to be doing in this song?
Trying to introduce that earlier than ever to make me feel more comfortable. And make it a part of the songwriting, so then Lars can feel where to chill out, where to go crazy, where to put certain cymbals even.
I think it’s helpful for everybody to have at least an inkling of what the vocals are going to be doing. Some songs took 10 different ideas, and we would cut and paste. “The beginning of this verse is really great, but the second half of the verse in this is really great. Let’s put these together.”
So I was a lot more vulnerable in not so much the lyrics, but the cadence, the vocals. That was freeing as well, and it was helpful for everybody. And then just filling in the blanks with lyrics after that, which I find really challenging and fun. It’s a giant puzzle.”
What kind of music bands does James Hetfield love?
- Judas Priest
- Black Sabbath
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Thin Lizzy
- Iron Maiden
Metallica‘s frontman James Hetfield shared the Top 10 Metal and Rock Bands of All Time. Here is the James Hetfield picks albums as follows:
AC/DC, who formed in Sydney in 1973, rapidly established themselves as hard rock pioneers. With the thunderous vocals of Bon Scott and subsequently, Brian Johnson, AC/DC unleashed a sound that captivated rock fans all over the world. Their breakthrough album, “Highway to Hell,” published in 1979, launched them to international stardom, with singles such as “Highway to Hell” and “Girls Got Rhythm.”
After the unexpected death of Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC appeared stronger than ever with the addition of Brian Johnson as their new frontman. “Back in Black,” the band’s first album with Johnson, was a huge success, paying tribute to Scott while also demonstrating the band’s perseverance and resolve. Rock songs such as “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” emerged.
The music of AC/DC stands out by its direct, no-frills approach to rock ‘n’ roll. With albums like “High Voltage,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” and “For Those About to Rock We Salute You,” AC/DC established a distinct and irresistibly addictive sound. Their songs, which were generally powered by infectious riffs and sing-along choruses, became part of the rock canon, ensuring their success and enduring appeal.
AC/DC’s live shows are legendary, recognized for their tremendous intensity, explosive stage presence, and Angus Young’s thrilling guitar acrobatics. The band’s concerts are pure rock ‘n’ roll joy, with singles like “Thunderstruck” and “T.N.T.” thrilling crowds and generating an environment of pure rock ‘n’ roll happiness.
James Hetfield shared why he likes AC/DC as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“Music would speak my voice, and it connected on so many levels. It made perfect sense that I would want to express myself that way. It was all about Kiss and Aerosmith. The first concert I went to was Aerosmith and AC/DC at the Long Beach Arena.”
2. Judas Priest
Judas Priest debuted as a pioneer of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal after forming in Birmingham, England, in 1969. Judas Priest rapidly became known for their tremendous sound and outstanding stage presence, thanks to their leather-clad appearance, the vocals of Rob Halford, and the dual guitar harmonies of K.K. Downing and Glen Tipton. Their breakthrough came with the publication of the album “British Steel” in 1980, which featured songs such as “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight,” cementing their place as heavy metal heroes.
Judas Priest’s music is identified by its driving rhythms, blazing guitar solos, and Rob Halford’s recognizable vocal range, which frequently reaches ear-piercing highs. Albums such as “Sad Wings of Destiny,” “Painkiller,” and “Screaming for Vengeance” highlighted the band’s ability to blend melodic hooks with strong riffs, resulting in a distinct sound that captivated metal fans worldwide.
Halford’s legendary entrance on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, use stage sets, and the band’s ability to generate an exciting atmosphere distinguish their live presentations. Songs like “Electric Eye,” “Hell Bent for Leather,” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” have become live standards, electrifying audiences and cementing Judas Priest’s reputation.
James Hetfield revealed why he likes Judas Priest as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“Judas Priest is everything we wanted to be as a band starting out. If someone asked you to define what heavy metal is, that’s one of the bands you’d show them.”
Motörhead, formed in 1975 in London by flamboyant leader Lemmy Kilmister, set out to create a sound that defied categorization. Motörhead created their own sound identity by fusing elements of hard rock, punk, and heavy metal, which connected with fans who desired the raw fire and intensity of their music. Their breakthrough came with the publication of their legendary album “Ace of Spades” in 1980, which included the anthemic title tune as well as “Love Me Like a Reptile.”
The music of Motörhead is distinguished by its relentless tempo, ferocious guitar riffs, and Lemmy’s trademark raspy vocals. Songs like “Overkill,” “Bomber,” and “Iron Fist” demonstrated the band’s high-energy attitude, laying the groundwork for the speed and thrash metal genres to come.
James Hetfield tells why he likes Motörhead as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“There are so many great bands that haven’t been acknowledged – and if they do or don’t, it’s not up to me. It’s just a nod, a tip of the cap. What does it really mean to be in there? I don’t know. But to some of these bands, it might mean the world. With the passing of Lemmy, it’s really, really important for me to see Motorhead acknowledged in that. Because there’s no more rock’n’roll person on this planet than Lemmy.”
4. Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath was formed in 1968 in Birmingham, England, by guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and renowned frontman Ozzy Osbourne. In 1970, their self-titled debut album introduced the world to their peculiar blend of thunderous riffs, haunting melodies, and lyrics steeped in darkness and occult imagery. Songs such as “Black Sabbath,” “Paranoid,” and “Iron Man” established the band’s image as forefathers of a new, harder kind of rock music.
Tony Iommi’s legendary guitar riffs, Geezer Butler’s booming basslines, Bill Ward’s forceful drumming, and Ozzy Osbourne’s mesmerizing vocals define Black Sabbath’s sound. Their pioneering use of down tuned guitars, gloomy atmospheres, and deep, sludgy sound established the groundwork for heavy metal’s evolution. Albums such as “Paranoid,” “Master of Reality,” and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” solidified their reputation as masters of dark, heavy music.
The live performances of Black Sabbath were legendary, exhibiting their raw strength and mesmerizing stage presence. Black Sabbath developed an immersive experience for their listeners by incorporating occult iconography, theatrical theatrics, and a sense of darkness into their acts. On stage, songs like “War Pigs,” “Children of the Grave,” and “N.I.B.” took on new life.
James Hetfield reveals why he likes Black Sabbath as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“Black Sabbath is a mammoth riff with menacing lyrics that made me oh so happy. That was gonna be my speech. That was it. But Springsteen kind of upped the ante the last year. I’ll go a little deeper. Picture a nine-year-old boy. Quiet, well-behaved on the outside. But on the inside boiling and dying for a life to burst open with some sort of stimulation. The discovery of music was what was to burst it wide open.
But not just any music. This was more than just music. A powerful, loud, heavy sound that moved his soul. You see, this timid nine-year-old constantly raided his roommate-slash-older brother’s record collection. And going against his older brother’s wishes, played those off-limit records on the forbidden record player. Out of all the records he could have worn out, there was no other choice. The very moment he saw their earliest album cover, he knew they were going to offer him a different kind of ride. He was drawn to them like a magnet to metal.”
UFO was formed in London in 1969 as a blues-rock band before embracing a stronger sound influenced by developing hard rock. With the inclusion of Phil Mogg’s distinct vocals, Michael Schenker’s scorching guitar work, and the excellent rhythm section of Pete Way on bass and Andy Parker on drums. Their breakthrough came with the release of the album “Phenomenon” in 1974, which demonstrated their ability to meld infectious melodies with hard-hitting rock.
The melodic sensibilities of UFO’s music are propelled by Michael Schenker’s explosive guitar solos and Phil Mogg’s passionate vocals. Their tunes, which ranged from the anthemic “Doctor Doctor” and “Lights Out” to the bluesy “Rock Bottom” and the soaring “Love to Love,” coupled powerful riffs with catchy hooks.
James Hetfield explains why he likes UFO as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“Metallica does cover songs because it’s fun. ‘It’s Killing Me.’ song.
So, here’s another song that Lars [Ulrich] has been wanting to do…so blame Lars if it’s really good.”
6. Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd is a legendary American rock band from Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
Lynyrd Skynyrd formed in 1964, drawing inspiration from the rich musical legacy of the American South. The band’s lineup featured a powerful triple-guitar onslaught with Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, and Ed King, as well as Billy Powell’s soulful keyboard playing and the sturdy rhythm unit of Leon Wilkeson on bass and Artimus Pyle on drums. They made their breakthrough in the early 1970s with “Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd,” which included the timeless hits “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.”
James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine mention why he likes Lynyrd Skynyrd as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“So when I joined Metallica, I had the song Mechanix, which I wrote. One day, when we were coming to rehearsal, Lars had just said something about slowing down Mechanix. I had just gotten to the studio with Cliff, and we had been listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I was being a jerk, so I played Sweet Home Alabama instead of Mechanix, and that’s basically the middle part of what would become Metallica’s The Four Horsemen.”
Slayer was formed in 1981 in Huntington Park, California, by vocalist Tom Araya, guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, and drummer Dave Lombardo. With its fierce sound, relentless speed, and dark lyrical themes, they set out from the start to push the boundaries of thrash metal. Their debut album, “Show No Mercy,” released in 1983, made an explosive debut, setting the groundwork for their own kind of aggressive, unyielding music.
Slayer’s music is distinguished by scorching guitar riffs, fast drumming, and visceral, frequently contentious lyrics. Their unrelenting sonic assault, highlighted by songs like “Angel of Death,” “Raining Blood,” and “South of Heaven,” established a standard for extreme metal.
James Hetfield tells why he likes Slayer as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“I mean, we never really liked being labeled thrash metal, at least because we were definitely different than Slayer. You know, we didn’t rely on spikes and crap like that when we were trying to get other people into Metallica.
They would hear heavy metal, and they would instantly be turned off by that term. Because they had in their mind Judas Priest or satan or some crap like that. That’s not what Metallica was all about.”
8. Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy, founded in 1969 in Dublin by frontman and composer Phil Lynott, immediately achieved prominence for their explosive live performances and distinct sound. With the addition of guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson, as well as the sturdy rhythm unit of bassist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey, the band began developing its unique style, which is distinguished by twin guitar harmonies and Lynott’s soulful vocals.
Thin Lizzy’s music touched people all over the world, captivating their hearts and minds with emotionally charged lyrics and irresistible songs. Songs like “The Boys Are Back in Town,” “Whiskey in the Jar,” and “Jailbreak” demonstrated the band’s ability to meld hard-hitting rock with Irish folk influences.
James Hetfield shares why he likes Thin Lizzy as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“It was one of those moments that was so sad. You just wondered, ‘Why did God take such a creative person?’. But I think there was a purpose to it all, because the struggles that he wrote about: with drugs, drink, ethnicity, all of those things, they almost speak louder now he has passed. For me, going through the struggle with alcohol and addiction in general, just going back and listening to his lyrics it’s like, ‘Wow, I know what he’s talking about now’. I love that.”
9. Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden, who formed in London in 1975, rose to notoriety in the early 1980s with their self-titled debut album, which was followed by the highly acclaimed “Killers.” Iron Maiden produced a sound that mixed the fury of metal with the soaring vocals of Bruce Dickinson, the galloping guitar riffs of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers, and the thunderous rhythm combination of bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain.
The music of Iron Maiden is distinguished by their harmonized guitar melodies, galloping bass lines, and Dickinson’s operatic vocal range. Their songs frequently explore historical events, literature, and mythology, resulting in epic storylines that enthrall listeners. Tracks such as “The Trooper,” “Fear of the Dark,” and “Run to the Hills” have become genre anthems.
James Hetfield talks about why he likes Iron Maiden as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
“Well, obviously hanging out with the Iron Maiden guys always brings back great memories. I mean, it’s just weird to remember, you know, 1981 possibly? Hanging out in Hollywood, California, driving around with Ron McGovney, me and Lars in the backseat, and seeing Steve Harris walk down the street and us, you know, dorky, shy metalheads, ‘Hey, Steve!’ And he actually turns around and starts walking towards us with a thing.
That was, like, our first brush with somebody kinda cool and famous, so that always stuck with me. Yeah, Steve Harris, a super-down-to-earth, really cool guy. And nothing has changed. I mean, he showed up at the show that we did.”
KISS was founded in 1973 in New York City by vocalist and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley (Starchild), bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons (Demon), lead guitarist Ace Frehley (Spaceman), and drummer Peter Criss (Catman). KISS immediately became known for their explosive live performances and their unique blend of hard rock and glam theatrics, thanks to their makeup, costumes, and pyrotechnic-laden shows.
The music of KISS is distinguished by infectious riffs, anthemic choruses, and catchy melodies. Their early albums, such as “KISS,” “Hotter Than Hell,” and “Destroyer,” included hard-hitting rockers and unforgettable ballads that piqued the interest of fans. Rock and roll songs like “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Detroit Rock City,” and “Beth” became classics.
James Hetfield reveals why he likes KISS as one of his favorite metal bands of all time:
Hetfield stated that he’s not a fan of the “farewell tour. I don’t think that’s fair to anyone. KISS’ farewell tour for the 10th time? Scorpions were done and then they tour? You can’t say that and then not do it. I don’t know what’s in store for us. I don’t want to go on the history of how other bands have done it. We’re unique in our own path and unique in how our path ends.”
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