Cliff Burton, Metallica's original bassist, played a massive role in plotting the band's direction, an influence that palpably resonates in its entire body of work. He was tragically killed when the metal giants' tourbus overturned on a rural road in Sweden in the early hours of 27 September 1986.
His ferocious, innovative and - let's never forget - virtuosic bass playing underpinned the band's first three studio albums, and his death is something that its members are open about struggling with to this day. Of course, there are many more positive, if inevitably bittersweet memories to look back on. Take Burton's final show, for example.
Speaking to Gibson TV (below) in 2020, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett recalled a rip-roaring performance.
"The last show that we played with Cliff was a spectacular show," Kirk recalls in the interview. "It was the first show after maybe six or seven weeks when James [Hetfield] was back on guitar because he had broken his arm during the Ozzy tour.
"His arm was healed enough so he was able to play guitar and it was the first show where we had James back… and it was the night that Cliff died.
"Everyone was just so happy James was back and to have James's guitar fuelling everything again, rather than me and John Marshall [tech and stand-in guitarist] sharing that duty.
"We played really, really well and felt like we were back 100%… so that last show was one of the best shows we'd played all fucking year and in retrospect I'm glad Cliff's last show was special in that regard.
"It really was, in all respects, one of the best shows we'd played and Cliff was very, very happy. So knowing that is a good thing."
"Cliff and I used to room together, so we were super close – we were like brothers," Hammett continues. "We'd hang out, arms around each other and then ten minutes later we could be arguing and wrestling on the ground. That's the kind of relationship we had – total, 100% honest. Emotions just out there all the time.
Cliff would say this so much; 'There's power in the truth – you've got to be honest all the time and if you have problems with me I want you to tell me' and I would tell him, then he would tell me. Then he'd suggest ridiculous things like, 'Let's wrestle' or fisticuffs, a drinking contest or 'You've got to show me this lick!'
"I get emotional when I think about Cliff and when we're together we think about Cliff. I know that James and I, we get really, really emotional.
"I would say for me, there's still some grief. after all these years I can still feel that pain."
"My fondest memories of Cliff are his total disregard for convention and his total disregard for playing things out the way you expected them," said Ulrich.
"He was up to challenge the normalcy, to challenge the status quo, to just fuck with things musically, attitude-wise - the way he dressed, the way he carried himself, his sense of humor, his relationship with the music that inspired him, the music that he played. It was always very unconventional, and it was very unusual."
Ulrich continued: "You could certainly argue that me and James [Hetfield] at that time were more kind of the squarer guys, 'cause we were more like, 'Motörhead, Iron Maiden!' Heavy metal T-shirts, and long hair and bang our heads into the wall.
"Cliff was just so fast in his palette of things that he was into and things that were inspiring him and the things that he was doing."
"I love harmonies and Cliff Burton has planted a seed in me that continues to grow on that. And I love it.
"I always loved Thin Lizzy and bands that pull off these really cool harmonies. There’s so many cool voicings that you can do and it just interests me a lot."
Replacing Burton was always going to be a massive task, and Jason Newsted, who joined the band from 1986 to 2001, remembers getting an all-important blessing during his third try-out.
Speaking to Metal Hammer, he recalled, “That third night, they had ‘the elders’ come in for their blessing."
“Torben Ulrich, the Burtons, a couple of the crew guys, people that had been there from the get-go… We got through about six tunes: Master [Of Puppets], [Fade] To Black, [For Whom The] Bell Tolls, the masterpieces!”
Crucially, it was Burton’s mother who approached him immediately after he finished playing.
“So I am just composing myself for a second, putting my bass down, turning off Cliff’s amp – I’m playing fucking Cliff’s amp dude!” said Newsted. “Jan comes walking in the room by herself, and she grabs me, and gets my attention. She says, ‘Great job, son’ and I’m like, ‘Oh fuck!’
“She embraced me, and it seemed like it was quite a while, and she said, ‘You’re the one, you must be the one. Please be safe, we love you,’ and she gave me a kiss. That was 35 years ago, and I'll never, ever forget it.”