|"Master of Puppets"|
|Single by Metallica|
|from the album Master of Puppets|
|B-side||"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" (7")|
|Released||July 2, 1986|
|Studio||Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen|
|Metallica singles chronology|
"Master of Puppets" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 2, 1986, as the only single from the album of the same name. It was also issued as a promo single in the US by Elektra Records.
The song was recorded during October–December 1985 at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark.
It is the second and title track of the album, preceded by a shorter, high-speed typical thrash metal track, "Battery", a similar sequencing heard on Metallica's second (Ride the Lightning) and fourth (...And Justice for All) albums. "Master of Puppets" is also notable for its extensive use of downpicking and long instrumental section, beginning at 3:34.
The song was bassist Cliff Burton's favorite song on the album, as he said when the album was released. The song is one of the band's most famous and popular songs, frequently played at concerts.
The song, as lead singer James Hetfield explained, "deals pretty much with drugs. How things get switched around, instead of you controlling what you're taking and doing, it's drugs controlling you."
The videos Cliff 'Em All, S&M and S&M2 include live performances of "Master of Puppets" in its entirety. A shortened form appears in Cunning Stunts. Both versions can be seen in the video portions of the Live Shit: Binge & Purge box set.
"Master of Puppets" is the band's most played song, first played on December 31, 1985, at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for a crowd of 7,000. As of August 1, 2022, the song has been performed 1,718 times. During the band's World Magnetic Tour, additional live performances were filmed in Mexico City; Nîmes, France and Sofia, Bulgaria. These performances were released on video in November 2009 (Mexico and Nîmes) and October 2010 (Sofia).
The French electronic music duo Justice also played a version of this song on their first live album A Cross the Universe, which was released on 24 November 2008. The last song on the live album named "Final" contains a fairly large sample of "Master of Puppets".
|1.||"Master of Puppets" (7" Edit)||3:27|
|2.||"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"||4:06|
VH1 ranked the song as the third greatest heavy metal song ever.
In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 22 in its 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks list.
Martin Popoff's book The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time ranked the song at number 2. Popoff composed the book by requesting that metal fans, musicians, and journalists nominate their favorite heavy metal songs. The author derived the final rankings from a database tallying almost 18,000 votes.
The song also ranked number 1 on a 100 Greatest Riffs poll conducted by Total Guitar magazine.
The readers of Guitar World voted the song as ranking at number 51 among the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett's solos for "Fade to Black" and "One" ranked significantly higher on the same list.
In 2020, Metal Hammer ranked the song number 1 on its list of the 50 best Metallica songs of all time.
In 2021, it was listed at No. 256 on Rolling Stone's "Top 500 Best Songs of All Time".
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||32|
|Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)||80|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||100|
|Global 200 (Billboard)||20|
|Hungary (Single Top 40)||13|
|Netherlands (Single Tip)||4|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||17|
|Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)||68|
|UK Singles (OCC)||22|
|UK Rock & Metal (OCC)||1|
|US Billboard Hot 100||35|
|US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)||5|
|US Rock Airplay (Billboard)||41|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||20,000|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000*|
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
A riff from David Bowie's song "Andy Warhol" (at 0'48") is quoted in "Master of Puppets" (at 6'19"). It is an homage made by Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett to whom Bowie was a huge influence.
"Master of Puppets" is featured in a scene of the 2003 film Old School and is heard as actors Luke Wilson and Will Ferrell play characters who are busy kidnapping people off the street to join their new fraternity. The song is featured in the fourth season finale of the Netflix series Stranger Things, where Eddie Munson is seen playing the track in the Upside Down to attract the Demobats. The band said they were "blown away" by the scene. Like with Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill", which was also featured in the season, the song regained popularity and started charting again following the release of the finale, notably entering the U.S. and U.K. charts for the first time since the song's original 1986 release and peaking at number four in the Netherlands. The song also appears in a trailer for the upcoming game Marvel's Midnight Suns. The song was featured in the opening credits for the film Zombieland: Double Tap.