Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Nothing Else Matters
"Nothing Else Matters" is probably the best known ballad by Californian thrash metal band Metallica. It was first released in 1991 on the self-titled "Black Album". At that time, it was not liked by long-standing Metallica fans, who were used to the thrash metal songs of their first four albums and accused them of "selling out". Regardless, the song is now very popular among Metallica fans and is still played frequently on the radio.
Singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield initially wrote it to a girlfriend he once had, but now he cannot remember why; some say it meant that "no matter how far" he was (since Metallica spent most of their time on tours), he was still "so close" with the heart. He considered it a very personal song and was not going to publish it, but once lead guitarist Kirk Hammet heard it he wanted it on the Black Album. Now Metallica consider it a song dedicated to all their fans. It has become a staple of their live performances.
Its intro is an E minor arpeggio beginning with only free string (some say, because when he started composing it he was on phone with his girlfriend and had one hand free). It is very easy, therefore it is one of the first pieces most Metallica fans learn to play when they buy a guitar. However, the rest of the song is more difficult (at least for a beginner).
The video was premiered on MTV on February 26, 1992. It was directed by Adam Dubin ; it consists of parts of the "A year and a half..." video tape which was shot during the recordings of the Black Album.
Its orchestration was arranged by Michael Kamen conducting the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. A live version is found on the album S&M. This version was released as the single "Nothing Else Matters '99" with the b-sides of the S&M version of "For Whom The Bell Tolls", "-Human" and "Until It Sleeps" on January 4, 2000.
Due to the song's popularity (and easiness to play, it is a very simple song compared to Metallica's other material), it has been covered many times, by artists within and without the heavy metal genre. It was covered by the bands "Apocalyptica" and "Die Krupps" for tribute albums, and has also been covered by the Vienna Boys' Choir, Gregorian (a troupe of Gregorian chanters), Lucie Silvas (a British pop singer/songwriter), the Angels of Vines and Staind.
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