“At first I didn’t even want to play it for the guys. I thought that Metallica could only be the four of us. These are songs about destroying things, head banging, bleeding for the crowd, whatever it is, as long as it wasn’t about chicks and fast cars, even though that’s what we liked. The song was about a girlfriend at the time. It turned out to be a pretty big song.”
— James Hetfield, on Nothing Else Matters
Eventually, Hetfield did play it for the guys and Nothing Else Matters went on to become one of Metallica’s signature songs. The song may have been inspired by Hetfield’s feelings about being away from his girlfriend while he was on the road but, as Hetfield explained it to Mojo Magazine, “It’s about being on the road, missing someone at home, but it was written in such a way, it connected with so many people, that it wasn’t just about two people, it was about a connection with your higher power, lots of different things.”
The video was directed by Adam Dubin and edited by Sean Fullan and is made up of clips from the 1992 Metallica documentary, A Year And A Half. Along with the song, the video is best remembered for a scene where Lars Ulrich throws darts at a poster of Kip Winger. Do you blame him?
For his part, Kip Winger has said about Metallica’s hatred of him, “That is why it’s the great irony that we ended up on that geeky guy’s shirt on Beavis & Butt-head, because Metallica couldn’t play what we play, they couldn’t do it, they literally — technically — couldn’t do it. And I’ll challenge those chumps to that any day of the week, but we could play their music with our hands tied behind our back. And so, I was a little teed off about that, but in the end, none of that shit matters…”
If you say so, Kipster.
26 years after the release of Nothing Else Matters, Metallica is still selling out stadiums worldwide. And Winger? Look for them at the closest county fair.
Let’s give the final words to James Hetfield:
“I remember going to the Hells Angels Clubhouse in New York, and they showed me a film that they’d put together of one of the fallen brothers, and they were playing ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ Wow. This means a lot more than me missing my chick, right? This is brotherhood. The army could use this song. It’s pretty powerful.”