Metallica for a Good Cause: Cliff Burton’s Dad Gives Royalties to Music Scholarships


Photo by Ken Settle / Story by Anne Erickson

The father of late Metallica bass player Cliff Burton donates a portion of Metallica royalties to help kids in music

Metallica bass player Cliff Burton tragically passed away in 1986, and ever since then, Burton’s family has received royalty payments from the three albums on which he held down the low end. Those releases include 1983’s “Kill ‘Em All,” 1984’s “Ride the Lightning” and 1986’s “Master of Puppets.”

Burton’s family has used part of the royalty money for a good cause: to give assistance to kids interested in pursuing music. In a new interview with the Alphabetallica Metallica fan podcast, Burton’s 92-year-old dad, Ray, says that he gives part of the royalties to Burton’s former high school, Castro Valley High School, to assist music scholarships.

Ray says it’s a good fit, as his son was supportive of education.

“The kids that have won it…thank me for it,” Ray said. “I think Cliff probably would have done that with his money, because he was not against education by any means. He liked it very much.”

Cliff passed away in a bus accident just a few months after the band’s “Master of Puppets arrived. Jason Newsted joined Metallica as the bass player after Burton’s death. Newsted moved on from Metallica in 2001, and bass player Robert Trujillo took his place. Trujillo is still with Metallica today.

Metallica has spent much of this year on tour in support of “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct.” That release is also the No. 1 selling rock album of the year so far, according to Billboard.



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