On July 29, 1991, Metallica released the first single off its self-titled fifth album (aka The Black Album), “Enter Sandman.” The single quickly went platinum, and went on to become one of the most memorable songs in rock. (Just writing this blog has put the song in our heads for three days running.)

The intro features a hard rock, tom groove with syncopated crash/snare accents. As drummer Lars Ulrich himself said of the song’s ear-worminess, “The whole intro, the verse, the bridge, the chorus — it’s the same riff.”

According to engineer Randy Staub, Ulrich recorded each section of the song separately, requiring close to 50 takes of the drums, and they also used several combinations of 40 to 50 microphones to give the song a live concert feel.

During the Master of Puppets and Metallica tour era, Ulrich was often seen behind his Tama Granstar II signature kit. He was the first artist for whom Tama created a signature kit, and more have since followed.

Lars Ulrich’s drum kit illustration from Drum!’s February 2017 issue.

Want more Metallica? See also:

Lars Ulrich: Hardwired For The Long Game

Does The Artist Help Design The Signature Kit? A Lars Ulrich Story

Groove Analysis: Lars Ulrich