n 1981, Lars Ulrich was looking to form a group in Los Angeles. He placed an advertisement in The Recycler, a local newspaper. James Hetfield and Hugh Tanner, guitarists for the group Leather Charm, answered the ad. Before Ulrich had a band, he asked Brian Slagel, founder of Metal Blade Records, to record a song for the label's compilation that was coming up.

Ron Quintana, a friend of Ulrich's, approached him with the names Metal Mania and Metallica. Ulrich took to the name Metallica. Ulrich placed another advertisement in the same newspaper and guitarist, Dave Mustaine, answered the call. Ulrich and Hetfield attended a show where they were mesmorized by the bassist, Cliff Burton, and asked him to join Metallica.

When Metallica was ready to record their debut album, Metal Blade Records didn't have the finances so Metallica sought out other options. After hearing the band's demo, Johnny Zazula, a concert promoter, borrowed the money for the group to record and signed them to his label, but not before Metallica made a change to their lineup. Mustaine was kicked out of the group for drug and alcohol abuse and violent tendencies. Kurt Hammett, Exodus guitarist, flew out and replaced Mustaine that afternoon.

Metallica recorded their first three albums, "Kill 'Em All," "Ride The Lightning," and "Master of Puppets." Mustaine received writing credit for "Ride The Lightning." During their 1986 European tour, Burton was asleep o­n the tour bus with the band while driving through Sweden, when the bus driver lost control of the bus, flipping several times. Burton was found dead, his body pinned underneath the bus. Metallica reluctantly continued o­n, bringing in Jason Newsted, to play bass.

With Newsted, Metallica went o­n to record several studio albums until his departure in early 2003, replacing him with bassist Robert Trujillo.