Happy Birthday today (Aug. 3) to James Hetfield. The co-founder, lead singer, and rhythm guitarist for Metallica is 55. Other rockers celebrating include Collective Soul frontman Ed Roland (55) and Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter (48).

Metallica formed out of Los Angeles, California in 1981 when singer/guitarist James Hetfield answered an advertisement posted by drummer Lars Ulrich in a local newspaper. The band’s current line up features founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, along with longtime guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Former members include lead guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton, and Jason Newsted.

Metallica’s fast tempo, aggressive sound made them one of the “Big Four” thrash metal bands along with Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. The band established a growing fanbase in the underground metal community and won critical acclaim for their first four albums. Their third album “Master of Puppets” was described as one of the most influential and heaviest thrash albums. The band received it’s most commercial success with their fifth album, “The Black Album” which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 in 1991. Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

Metallica's 'WorldWired Tour 2018-2019' plays Times Union Center in Albany Oct. 29. Cheers to James on his birthday today! For more on James Hetfield and Metallica, check out the official band website here.

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