Photos: Metallica’s James Hetfield Through the Years
The singer-guitarist has enjoyed a fruitful career packed with many lasting memories and his band will always be credited as one of the pioneers of the thrash metal sound of the early '80s that inspired so many.
Hetfield was a founding member of the group, starting the band back in 1981 after answering a classified ad in the back of The Recycler placed by drummer Lars Ulrich. The imposing, shaggy haired rocker took over lead vocals and played guitar in the band's first incarnation, helping the group turn heads with their 1983 breakout Kill 'Em All.
As the '80s continued, the band continued to raise the bar, seeing their profile rise with Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and And Justice for All, before becoming a mainstream phenomenon with 1991's self-titled "black" album. In the decades beyond, Metallica rose to the ranks of the biggest band in the metal world thanks to the Load, Reload, St. Anger, Death Magnetic and Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct albums.
Outside of music, Hetfield has become increasingly involved in film and TV, serving as narrator and voice talent on a few projects and also landing his first significant feature film acting role in 2019's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
Join us in celebrating James Hetfield's birthday as we reflect at his looks through the years in the gallery below.
James Hetfield: Through the Years