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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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After witnessing the success that came from ...and Justice for All—the music video "One" became the most requested music vidoe on MTV—Hetfield and Ulrich, the band's leaders, wanted to take Metallica's music a step further. They brought in music producer Bob Rock, who was known for taking rock bands and bringing them to pop star status, to work their next project, The Black Album (1991). Although The Black Album catapulted Metallica into a rock star status that they had never seen before,
the journey there wasn't easy, particularly for Hetfield and Ulrich. The two headstrong leaders of the band clashed with each other numerous times during the making of the album.
In promotion of their most recent album, Metallica went on tour with Guns 'N Roses in 1992. However tragedy struck once again while the band was on tour, except this time it happened on stage. While performing in Montreal, a large flame erupted on stage and the sound of Hetfield's guitar suddenly vanished. There was a stage malfunction and Hetfield suffered second- and third-degree burns on the left side of his body. Within three weeks, a bandaged Hetfield went back to performing with Metallica.
With Hetfield and Ulrich at the forefront, tension began to rise yet again between the band members. Newsted decided to leave the band in 2001 after having felt stifled creatively by the two Metallica creators. Two years later, the band released St. Anger, 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.
Though their eighth album flopped, Metallica's next release, Death Magnetic (2008), brought the band back to their hardcore roots. The album put the rock legends exactly where they needed to be, though their 10th release, 2011's Lulu, proved uninspiring. Hetfield later confirmed that an 11th album was in the works, but stated in May 2013 that songwriting for that project had not yet begun.
James Hetfield married his wife, Francesca, in 1997. They have three children together and live in Belvedere, California.
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