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James Hetfield is the lead guitarist and vocalist for heavy metal band Metallica, known for hits like "Enter Sandman" and "The Memory Remains."
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Guitarist and singer James Hetfield, born on August 3, 1963, in Downey, California, formed the heavy metal group Metallica with drummer Lars Ulrich. The band with underground roots became a multi-platinum act known for albums like Ride the Lightning, Metallica, Load and St. Anger as well as singles like "Fuel" and "Turn the Page." By 2013, Hetfield and the band had won eight Grammy Awards.
Musician James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963 in Downey, California. The son of strict Christian scientists, James Hetfield was an outsider in high school, which was only exacerbated after his mother's death from cancer. He turned to music, playing with several garage bands throughout his teens.
Hetfield found a kindred heavy metal spirit in drummer Lars Ulrich, who had placed an ad in the newspaper looking for someone to jam with. Along with bassist Cliff Burton and guitarist Dave Mustaine (who was later replaced by Kirk Hammett), the two formed the straightforward heavy metal band Metallica in 1982.
Though Hetfield didn't originally plan on being the frontman for Metallica, the role he won by default now defines the band. In 1983, after relocating to San Francisco, Metallica released its debut album, 'Kill Em All. After Burton's tragic death in 1986, Jason Newsted took his place, and the band achieved its greatest commercial success with 1988's ...and Justice for All and 1991's Metallica. Thanks in large part to Hetfield’s loud, angst-ridden vocals and on-stage pyrotechnics, Metallica gained a huge following on tour, becoming one of the most renowned thrash/heavy metal bands of all time.
Metallica released St. Anger in 2003, about the same time Hetfield entered rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. The following year, Some Kind of Monster, a documentary film about the making of the album and the relationships among the band members, was released.
James Hetfield married his wife, Francesca, in 1997. They have three children together and live in Belvedere, California.
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