You’re right, Cliff ‘Em All isn’t a full concert. However, it is full of live footage from the early days of, back from when Cliff Burton was alive and well and an integral part of the band, as the title suggests. The sound and quality is spotty, at it’s best it always has been, but that’s due to the fact that this is basically a compilation of bootleg material and home movies.
Cliff ‘Em All was released in November 1987, a little more than a year after Burton’s death on September 27, 1986. As a tribute, there’s lots of footage of him tooling around on solos, images, and video clips. But Cliff was much more than a friend and bandmate to the other members of Metallica, he was also one of the most inventive and talented bass players in metal history. Though he wasn’t a legend when he died, he was on his way, and his death thrust him the pantheon of rocks greatest.
Given the love and kinship James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, and Lars Ulrich had with Burton, it’s no wonder Jason Newsted was never fully welcomed into the band. Christ, Metallica could have gotten God to play bass after Burton died and they still would have treated him poorly.
As an interesting side note, in the last year I learned that Burton played in a pre-Metallica band with Jim Martin and Mike Bordin of Faith No More. Some say this band was called EZ-Street, but the vid below clearly says that they were called Agents of Misfortune. Check it out and you’ll hear the beginnings of “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
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