Cliff Burton

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Clifford Lee "Cliff" Burton (February 10th 1962 - September 27th 1986) was an American musician, best known as the second bass guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica, recording three studio albums. He died in 1986 after getting crushed by a tour bus in Copenhagen whilst promoting Metallica's more.


Because of Cliff, I play bass. Anesthesia(pulling teeth) was the first song I learned and has completely shaped my style which is warmly welcomed by any musician I jam with. I was like "What? You can do that with a bass? " But another reason why I am posting on the #1 spot is to say what?!?! What kind of simple idiots vote bassists from Avenged Sevenfold and my chemical romance over Jaco Pastorius and Victor Van Wooten? You obviously no nothing about bass and much less music in general. A good question to ask is why the hell are you even visiting this website? This isn't the place for you. You should just post your ignorant views on your favorite emo band page on facebook instead of soiling this page and delaying the progress of prospective bass playing youths who's naivety allows them to believe that they should learn from the musicians on this page in the order in which they are ranked. Pitiful.

This list has it problems, but it's the first one to have the right person on top (although my vote tied Jimi as #1 guitarist so hopefully he'll also be #1 soon). I grew up as a Headbanging, Mosh-Pit addicted, metalhead; but my musical taste has matured, immeasurably. However, there never was, nor with the downward path music is taking, will there ever be, a bassist in the league of Burton. It was said best on an independent biographical show, Burton was wearing bell-bottoms and listening to REM when it wasn't cool. All of the mature harmonies on Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppet's was all Cliff, despite the megalomanical attempts of Lars to control everything. The guy was a fan of Bach and other classical music; so musically diverse, so talented, so incredible, Cliff RIP, you were the man! Claypool rules too, and I think Cliff would be pissed to see Mike Mills (REM) isn't on here. - psychokiller32

Easily the Greatest Bassist of all time. He played with extreme speed and displayed serious technical prowess on a Bass, Not only was he amazingly fast, a great composer and a master of techniques like Harmonics but his riffs sounded incredible. Michael Balzary(aka Flea) can't really even compare to him, especially since their styles of playing are on opposite ends of the spectrum, its like comparing a Quarter back to a Running Back, They're playing the same game but have totally different skills and roles. Flea combines some mean Funk/Punk combonations like the song "Get Up and Jump" but Cliff Burton was a metal god. If you disagree listen to "(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth" from the album Kill 'em All. Cliff Burton-Fast, Technical, Original RIP

Cliff Burton was the most ingenious, creative and talented human being to ever pick up a bass guitar. The legacy he has left behind has blessed anyone who has cared to listen to it. The man was pure legend and his ability unsurpassed. Anyone who thinks there is a bassist out there, past or present who is/was as talented as Cliff, I pity you, for you are ignorant of what is plainly obvious... Cliff Burton was a God. He lives in every true metallers heart and soul! Rest in Peace amigo, you are sorely missed - philmegadeth666

Cliff Burton is the best bass player in the world, simple as that. I mean, for a start you could actually hear what he was playing, plus it some times sounded like guitar playing and on top of all that, he music sounds good. Don't forget he was an amazing composer. Also to all those people that say he wasn't that good, remember, he died young, only leaving behind 3 albums. He didn't have the chance to release more music and prove how good he was.

I'm not just voting burton simply because he's the most popular, and I'm sure nobody else has voted him simply because he's currently number 1. he was in Metallica for seek and destroy, ride the lightening and master of puppets, and wrote to live is to die, which were Metallicas best albums and nothing other than death magnetic have really come close to their 80's albums, after burtons death, Metallica went rapidly down hill, theyve never really been the same since... that just shows that with burton, Metallica were one of the best thrash metal bands of all time, without burton Metallica has become lesser known for their newer stuff... that's how much of an impact burton had on Metallica and his talent is shown in their 80's music

I can't believe he doesn't have 100% of the votes. Even though the late great Clifford Lee Burton left us 25 years ago, he is still No. 1. And this is for a reason! For Whom The Bell Tolls! The greatest loss to the entire history of music! But Sir, if you are reading this, you are still alive and still going strong as ever! We love you for what you've done for us! GOD! You can take Justin Gayber, give us Cliff back!

Cliff Burton for Metallica was what Jeff Hanneman was for Slayer. After their deaths both bands original work were rendered inaudible for old fans as both of those bands lost their "roots" and both bands dropped doing what is called "Thrash metal" for the sake of mainstream "heavy metal". The fact that Metallica is compared with Iron Maiden repeatedly, proves my point.

Cliff was in a class by himself. He learned from Sabbath, Maiden, Misfits, etc. , but then took it to the next phase. He could gallop with ease, play parts that incorporated all four fingers of his right hand, and make it look like it was nothing but it sounded amazing. Cliff is the bassist that is always given as an influence to bassists of the last 30 years. And on top of that, his work with Metallica only spanned 3 years.

I have no words... Cliff was the best. The best style, the best man.. but there is nothing to do. He is gone. Without it, Metallica is another band, like many others.. nothing special. This is it. Now, please, listen with me "Orion" from the album Master of Puppets. You can search for an enhanced bass version. And toast. In loving memory of CLIFFORD LEE BURTON. RIP!

This man was a god among bassists, and died way before his time... I often ponder how Metallica and metal in general would have been different had he not died... Think of for whom the bell tolls, the call of ktulu, orion, and anesthesia just to name a few... His presence was undeniable and you can tell when they did and justice for all, though a great album... It would never be the same. - BLJ423

Most of the other guys on this list have lived well past their 50's. Geddy Lee, Steve Harris, Geezer Butler, they are all pushing 70 years old. Cliff died when he was 24 years old. We have heard only about 4 or 5 years worth of work and in that short amount of time he established himself as one of if not the greatest bass player ever. Imagine what we could've heard if he had lived past 1986... - BlackMetalMaven

I personally think Cliff Burton should be #1 because of his amazing bass solos and all! You can't deny his implications in many songs like The Call Of Ktulu and Seek And Destroy! But most of all, Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) is probably one of the most popular bass solos ever made! The bass solo on Orion, a lot of people thought it was a guitar, but it was Cliff! He died way too early though... He was a god on bass, and made it look like it was an easy thing while he played such amazingness! RIP Clifford Lee Burton!

No doubt Cliff is the best. Trujillo very good bass-guitarist too, but should remember, that Cliff knew a lot in music and taught James and Lars how to do the music. His bass parts in the most of songs are incredible! Or remember his manner to play. Would now be 83 to look at his game and Metallica as a whole.R.I.P. cliff. Thank you for your beautiful music m/

He's just the best. No one plays the bass like he does. No other player even comes close to the style he plays. Just vote for him, the other players don't deserve it as much as he does. I'm a muse, Green Day and a7x fan. But seriously, don't vote because you like the band, vote for how well they play, and cliff just plays the best. No question there

Cliff DOES NOT play with a pick, only his fingers, and that's very impressive considering he was in a thrash metal band like Metallica. Fingerstyle is the way to do it. Cliff is the best ever. Flea is good, but Cliff knew way more about music and the different techniques in it. Cliff deserves to be number one on this list.

Cliff Burton is by far the best bassist that I have ever heard. His life was cut way too short. He was a freak of nature. He had 3 picks which were his fingers!. He would have been the buddy rich of bass if he was still alive today. Rest In Peace to the legend, the virtuoso, the God of bass!

Cliff Burton is the greatest bassist of all time and I'm counting Gene Simmons and Geezer Butler here so this is not a light comment he is my influence as an up and coming bass player and will continue to be even if I don't make it he will always be the best to me and any fool who thinks he's not can look him up on youtube any videos showing him will be more than enough proof - PlaymateBass

The thing I love about Cliff was he was not much of a "groove" player, he was metal through and through and people complain saying he played it like a guitar, well that just makes him even better and the amount of soul he put into his work, my god more soul than the 60's, 70's and 80's put together, Plus he had his bass strap low and constantly headbanging he just looked comfortable behind a bass, where as people like Wooten and Sheehan, amazing as they are they just don't look relaxed or comfortable behind a bass, all uptight and rigid. RIP Cliff

Wrong... A good bassist but not deserving of this spot. Anyone who uses a pick to play bass doesn't make the top 10 in my book. To have Cliff over Steve Harris and Geezer Butler is just insulating to all of us metal fans. If Cliff were alive he'd even agree. Harris (1) Butler (2) Jones (3) anyone after that can be debated

Man, this guy was crazy. The way he played the bass was like if he was playing metal, so much variation. One can listen to his solo Anesthesia and songs like For Whom The Bell Tolls. No wonder ride the lightning and master of puppets were super hit albums. R.I.P. Cliffy

Honestly, this isn't because he's dead, it because he is one of the most influential bassists of all time, not because of he's style, but because of his technical difficulty, he played the exact same parts as james and kirk, but not just like a normal bassist, he played the same note for note, he also played guitar styled solos, with his fingers and a wah, when he played fwtbt live, he made up most of the intro riff, adding complex solos and incredible switches between strings, flea could never compare to cliff, R.I. P
'cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home'

I have never heard nor expect to hear someone who plays the Bass guitar quite like he did. Cliff Burton played the Bass guitar like an electric guitar, something that had never been done before. While he was sadly unable to play in very many albums, the albums he did play in were all masterpieces. His work on Metallica's album "Kill 'em All" is some of the finest music I've ever heard, and Burton arguably contributed the most to it. His famous solo Anesthesia-(Pulling Teeth) is undeniably a masterpiece in itself. In my mind Cliff Burton is the greatest Bass Player of all time, R.I.P

Look, he was a very talented player. But best EVER? Behind guys like Victor Wooten, Flea, Claypool, Geddy Lee, and the list goes on and on and on and on and on? Those guys revolutionized bass playing and could play circles around Burton. He wasn't even the best bassist to play in Metallica, for Christ's sake. - JerryAndrews

Anesthesia(pulling teeth) for the win!
Metallica is amazing and kill em all through master of puppets were when the shined brightest. Cliff burton will be missed by all Metallica fans. May heaven be blessed with his amazing bass skills