On September 27, 1986, Metallica’s tour bus was involved in a crash while the band was traveling between gigs from Sweden to Denmark. Shortly after 7 A.M. that morning, the band members were awakened in their bunks as the bus began skidding from side to side. The bus driver would later tell authorities he had hit a patch of black ice and lost control of the vehicle. As the bus careened off the road, it flipped over onto its side and bassist Cliff Burton was thrown through the window, with the bus landing on top of him. Burton was 24 years old when he died.
The bassist’s influence and legend has only grown over the years—so much so that earlier this year Guitar World reported that February 10, 2018 was recognized as "Cliff Burton Day" in Alameda County, California (Burton was raised in Castro Valley, CA), after Metallica fans started a petition on change.org to recognize the late bassist on what would have been his 56th birthday.
Metallica celebrated the proclamation with an Instagram post, writing "As many of you know, Cliff was born and raised in Castro Valley and was the reason we high-tailed it to the Bay Area back in ’83.
"Thanks to all of the fans who got behind this initiative and we’d like to send our appreciation and respect to all of you who continue to honor Cliff in your own personal ways. We love that he remains so revered."
In honor of the late bassist, check out this video of Burton performing his trademark solo, “(Anesthesia)—Pulling Teeth” onstage with Metallica in 1983.