Whether you agree with it or not, Metallica is perhaps one of the biggest, if not the biggest metal bands of all time. Only the likes of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Guns N’ Roses could conceivably challenge Metallica’s throne as the biggest name in metal.
From a niche act to an ultra-sized, all-consuming overpowering force — an inexorable, wild rock entity with the capacity to draw massive crowds internationally, or pleasantly do whatever the heck it wants. No other metal band has remained so prominent within the broader culture — or become a worthy shorthand for heavy music — the way Metallica has. Here are three surprising examples of Metallica’s tremendous influence on pop culture outside of heavy music.
1. San Francisco gave Metallica its own day
Occasionally, a city will officially dedicate a day to a band or musician of local relevance. 10th July Liverpool celebrates Beatles Day, while in 2010, Pittsburgh named 7th December, Gregg Gillis Day, after the main man behind Girl Talk. In 1999, S.F. mayor Willie Brown made a similar move, dubbing 7th April Metallica Day. On that date, Metallica received a plaque on the Walk of Fame on Grove Street near Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
2. Metallica has been on both The Simpsons and South Park
In “The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer,” an episode of The Simpsons that first aired in 2006, Otto the bus driver finds Metallica stranded on the side of the road. Otto offers to give the band members a lift, but they give him the cold shoulder. Otto then mentions that he attended a Springfield show in 1997 — an act that was apparently a turning point in Metallica’s career.
Metallica is one of many bands to appear on The Simpsons, along with the Rolling Stones, U2, the Ramones, Green Day, and The Smashing Pumpkins. Yet, Metallica have accomplished a rare achievement by appearing on not just The Simpsons but South Park, too. In season seven’s “Christian Rock Hard,” Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman form a band called Moop (Cartman leaves quickly), but after the boys learn about the effects of illegal downloading, they go on strike until things change. Stan, Kyle, and Kenny look to have a bust of a protest, but then Metallica show up and makes its feelings known.
3. A pro wrestler made hearing “Enter Sandman” an integral part of his charm
In 1993, wrestler Jim Fullington joined the Philadelphia-based Eastern Championship Wrestling as ‘The Sandman’, a character whose persona consisted of every lame surfer cliché meshed into one. He was blonde, wore big red glasses and a wetsuit that jovially read “SURF’S UP” on the pocket, and, most ridiculously, carried around a surfboard. His entrance themes included “Big Shot” by Billy Joel and “Surfin’ USA” by The Beach Boys.
Eventually, Fullington dropped the surfer spiel and taking on a different, more villainous persona. Whilst retaining the Sandman name in the transition, he gained new theme music: “Enter Sandman” from Metallica’s 1991 self-titled “black album.” The Sandman’s entrance usually involved him coming through the crowd, which sent the ECW faithful into a frenzy. The tune foreshadowed his arrival for years, and became a crucial part of his identity.
So, you see, Metallica has had quite the influence not only in the genre of rock music but also in popular culture. If like us you appreciate your rock music and anything pop culture, we encourage you to come and view our fantastic collection of amazing musical instruments that will only intensify your love for music.