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Fade to Black is a song by thrash metal band Metallica from their second album, Ride the Lightning (1984). It was written by Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Cliff Burton, and Lars Ulrich.


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.
  • As of August 2016, "Fade to Black" has been played live 1,104 times, making it one of the nine songs played live over 1,000 times, along with "Master of Puppets", "Creeping Death", "Seek & Destroy", "One", "For Whom The Bell Tolls", "Enter Sandman", "Sad But True", and "Nothing Else Matters".
  • 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".
  • Former Bassist Jason Newsted's last song played with Metallica live was "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


Ride the Lightning.jpg
Ride the Lightning
Songs Fight Fire with FireRide the LightningFor Whom the Bell TollsFade to BlackTrapped Under IceEscapeCreeping DeathThe Call of Ktulu
Members James HetfieldLars UlrichKirk HammettCliff Burton
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Guitar Hero Metallica
Songs For Whom the Bell TollsThe UnforgivenNothing Else MattersEnter SandmanKing NothingSad But TrueNo Leaf CloverOrionFade to BlackThe Memory RemainsWherever I May RoamWelcome Home (Sanitarium)FuelFranticOneAll Nightmare LongHit the LightsMercyful FateSeek & DestroyCreeping DeathMaster of PuppetsBatteryThe Shortest StrawWhiplashDyers EveDisposable HeroesFight Fire with FireThe Thing That Should Not BeBroken, Beat & ScarredCyanideMy Apocalypse
Featured Band Songs Turn the PageTuesday's GoneAm I Evil?Stone Cold Crazy