James Alan Hetfield is an American musician and songwriter best known as the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica, which has won nine Grammy Awards. He was born in California, US, and grew up in a strict Christian Science family. He joined forces with drummer Lars Ulrich, and the two of them went on to start the band Metallica. The band started as one of the first to play thrash music. They went on to become one of the most popular heavy metal bands.
Hetfield has made a special place for himself and his band in the history of heavy metal music with his strong leadership, powerful voice, signature rhythm guitar style, and skill at writing songs. He was a big reason why their band went from being an underground roots band to becoming one of the best metal bands in music history. “Metallica” has put out 10 studio albums, 4 live albums, 39 singles, and 41 music videos. They’ve sold more than 145 million albums all over the world. He is considered one of the best metal guitarists and singers of all time. Hetfield is married to Francesca Tomasi, and the two of them have three children together.
James Hetfield Early Life
Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963, in Downey, California, to Virgil Lee Hetfield and Cynthia Bassett (née Nourse). His father was a truck driver whereas his mother was a light opera singer. His parents were followers of Christian Science and they strictly followed their beliefs of not taking medicines or medical treatment, even when his mother suffered from, and ultimately died of cancer.
His parents split up in 1976, and his mother died when he was 16 years old, in 1979. He has an older half-brother and a younger half-sister from his mother’s first marriage. When his mother died, he moved in with David, his older half-brother. Hetfield went to the school called “Downey High School.”
At age 9, he started playing the piano, and later, he played his brother’s drums. When he was a teenager, he started to learn how to play guitar. Hetfield played in garage bands like “Leather Charm” and “Obsession” that were from his area. Aerosmith’s music had a big impact on him as a child. He was also influenced by the music of Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Scorpion, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Queen, and many others.
James Hetfield Career
Hetfield found a classified ad posted by drummer Lars Ulrich in a Los Angeles local newspaper, ‘The Recycler.’ They both got together in 1981 to form ‘Metallica,’ a heavy metal band. They were joined by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Cliff Burton. Mustaine’s unpredictable behavior and drinking created some issues during the initial years, so in 1983, he was replaced with lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. The band relocated from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Initially, the group had to face rejections from major record labels because of their aggressive sound, so their managers decided to launch their label. Their first album, ‘Kill ‘Em All (1983) reflected British metal styles of the early 1980s. Their next album, ‘Ride the Lightning,’ included social and political themes while the third album, ‘Master of Puppets,’ (1985) was considered a masterpiece by the critics. This album brought their music to more mainstream audience and it was ‘Metallica’s first album that was certified gold. It sold more than 3 million copies and included tracks ‘Battery,’ ‘Damage, Inc.’ among others.
Their bus rolled over a patch of black ice near Stockholm while they were on tour to promote “Master of Puppets.” Cliff Burton was thrown out the window and died instantly. Hetfield was upset by this loss coming out of the blue. In the end, Jason Newsted was chosen to be the new bassist.
The song “One” from “Metallica’s” next album, “…..And Justice for All” (1988), was their first music video and did well on MTV. The album got to number 6 on the “Billboard 200.”
Their next album, “Metallica,” which was produced by Bob Rock and had singles like “The Unforgiven,” “Enter Sandman,” and “Sad, But True,” sold over 15 million copies and went straight to the top of the “Billboard 200” chart. The album’s song “The God That Failed” was written about his mother’s belief in Christian Science and her death from cancer. In the song “Enter Sandman,” he talked about the fears he had as a child. With this album, “Metallica,” which came out in 1991 and is often called “The Black Album,” the band’s sound changed.
In August 1992, Hetfield was on tour with Guns N’ Roses when a pyrotechnics accident on stage at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium started a fire. Hetfield was burned on his left side. But he was back on stage in 17 days, even though he couldn’t play guitar until he was entirely well. (Other times, skateboarding had caused him to break his arm.)
“Load” (1996) and “Reload” (1997) were their next two albums (1997). The song “The Memory Remains” from the album “Reload” shows how good Hetfield is at writing songs. “S & M” (1999) and “St. Anger” (2001) came after these (2003).
In the meantime, the band had problems, especially between Hetfield and Ulrich, who were both very strong-willed. Hetfield and Jason Newsted also had disagreements, which led to fits of anger and drinking binges. So, Hetfield went to rehab in 2002 to get help for his drinking problem, and he was away from the band for 7 months.
In 2004, a documentary called “Some Kind of Monster” came out. It was about how the band members got along and how the album “St. Anger” was made. Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky made it and ran the show.
When Jason Newsted left the band in 2001, they hired Robert Trujillo, a bassist from Ozzy Osbourne’s band. When it came out on September 12, 2008, “Death Magnetic” followed in the footsteps of Metallica’s other albums and went straight to the top of the Billboard charts.
In 2013, the band released a movie and its soundtrack called “Metallica: Through the Never.” Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, their tenth studio album came out in November 2016.
Awards & Achievements
The band has won nine “Grammy Awards,” five “Billboard Music Awards,” and two “American Music Awards.” On April 4, 2009, Hetfield and other band members were inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden gave the group the Polar Music Prize in 2018.
James Hetfield Personal Life
On August 17, 1997, Hetfield married Francesca Tomasi, who hails from Argentina. She initially worked as the band’s costume designer. The couple resides in Vail, Colorado, and has three children – Cali Tee (b. June 1998), Castor Virgil (b. May 2000), and Marcella Francesca (b. Jan. 2002).
Besides music, he likes to farm, keep bees, and make changes to cars and motorcycles. He is a member of “The National Rifle Association” and a good hunter. He has a lot of tattoos, including ones that show his birth year and a stage accident with fireworks.
Hetfield was in Dustin Hunt’s film “Absent,” in which he talked about how the divorce of his parents left him without a father and how that made him feel. Mark Eglinton’s book “So Let It Be Written,” which is Hetfield’s biography, came out in April 2017.
James Hetfield Net Worth 2022
Celebrity Net Worth says that James Hetfield will have a $300 million net worth in 2022. Most of his money comes from Metallica’s shows, especially since the band’s albums and tours bring in a lot of money.
It is one of the highest-earning bands in the world because concerts and merchandise alone bring in between $50 million and $100 million.
Hetfield also adds to his net worth by putting money into real estate. In 1999, he bought a farm with 1,150 acres.
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