The lyrics suggest the story of a man contemplating, and eventually committing suicide. It was the first musical ballad released by the band.
"Fade to Black" was played live for the first time on February 9, 1985, in Chicago, IL at the Aragon Ballroom. It replaced "The Call of Ktulu" and played 2 nights prior in Ohio. It was 8th of a 10-song set.
This was also the song that Metallica had been playing the intro of during their infamous concert at Montreal's Olympic Stadium in 1992, when James Hetfield suffered second-and-third degree burns from a pyrotechnic accident.
James has played the intro with many guitars, using two different double necks in 1992-'93, an explorer with a clean tone, and with an acoustic guitar.
In the summer of 1984, the band got their gear stolen, which inspired James to write "Fade to Black".
Life, it seems, will fade away
Drifting further every day
Getting lost within myself
Nothing matters, no one else
I have lost the will to live
Simply nothing more to give
There is nothing more for me
Need the end to set me free
Things not what they used to be
Missing one inside of me
Deathly lost, this can't be real
Cannot stand this hell I feel
Emptiness is filling me
To the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he's gone
No one but me can save myself, but it's too late
Now I can't think, think why I should even try
Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye