Vive La Musica

Songs that changed my life – Metallica

I have a pretty intimate relationship with music, and have as far back as I can remember. It seems fairly common to hear a song and associate it with a memory, and I do that a lot. The inverse is also true with me – memories trigger song associations as well, which seems to be a bit less common. Though the music I listen to evolves over time (does my 1989 Poison-to-Dokken preference realignment count as evolution? Probably not), my bond to music has stayed consistently strong.

I’m never far from music, like many of my fellow junkies, and on certain occasions, I come across some new track or band that absolutely blows me away and changes my perception of not just music, but myself, and my life. Introspectors tend to have moments where they say to themselves things like “I know my life will never be the same after this” – and I have musical moments like that. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. I’ve experienced probably a couple dozen moments like that over the last 25 years, and I’ll share a few here. I can’t remember them all off the top of my head, but whenever one of those songs comes on the great iTunes shuffle, I’m instantly transported back to that moment of discovery. Enough already, more about the songs that have smacked me in the face.

Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls

In my middle school poser (you saw that picture, right?) skater days, we used to gather in somebody’s basement and watch these skate videos that were usually put out by Powell & Peralta or some other skateboard manufacturer. Sometimes these were hilariously campy “movies” like The Search for Animal Chin or Thrashin‘, but we usually watched videos of skate competitions, when half-pipes were still pretty much a rarity and only the pros got to ride them. Stuff like Christian Hasoi flying 17 feet out of a half-pipe (with that silly measuring stick built onto the ramp) kept us entertained for hours. We popped in a tape of a competition at Oceanside, and during the street competition (crazy kick-flippin’ dudes on flat ground, no ramps, curbs or railings), one of the guys (pretty sure it was Per Welinder – can’t find the actual video, but it was something like this) had this amazing metal song as his skate music. I’m not sure I’d ever heard Metallica before that moment (though I’d probably seen them in Kerrang or Creem), but once I heard the opening guitar riff with the bell clanging and the thunder of the drums, I was hooked. It took me a while to figure out what the song was, and who played it, but I literally became a Metallica fan for life based on that freestyle segment of a skate video. I kept rewinding and watching that part over and over, which annoyed pretty much everyone in the room, because we usually fast-forwarded through the freestyle stuff. Even with the crappy sound of a mid-1980’s TV and a VCR, that song still knocked me over.

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