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James Hetfield Year by Year: Photos 1984-2020


James Hetfield has been in the spotlight since the early ’80s as Metallica‘s frontman. We’ve collected dozens of photos of him below from across his entire career.

Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich founded Metallica in late 1981 in Los Angeles. At the time, Hetfield handled guitar and bass in addition to singing duties. Eight months after their formation, “Hit the Lights” appeared on the Metal Massacre compilation that launched Metal Blade Records. The band eventually picked up a new lead guitarist, Dave Mustaine, and bassist Ron McGovney.

McGovney didn’t last long, making way for Cliff Burton, who joined on the condition Metallica relocate to his hometown of San Francisco. They made another lineup change just before they record their…



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