Cliff Burton

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Mr.Ace, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Mr.Ace

    Mr.Ace Bass players rule!

    Sep 8, 2015
    Pompano Beach FL
    Endorsed by Fusion ( maker of killer gig bags)
    How good was he?
  2. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    He really, really sucked.
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  3. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Good enough for me!

  4. Lemmy once said of Randy Rhoades, "He was great... Of course he got better after he died, they all do." I feel a bit that way about Cliff. He was a terrific player and a very creative musician, and Metallica was never the same without him, yet there is a tendency to go overboard and proclaim him one of the great bassists of all time, which is probably a bit of an exaggeration. Judge for yourself.

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  5. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Kill'em All was released:

  6. proverbs10_4

    proverbs10_4 Inactive

    Jul 16, 2020
    Pretty awful. Never understood why he’s more popular as a bass player than Billy Sheehan.

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  7. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Because he died. CB was good but not better than Billy Sheehan in my estimation.
  8. Mata Leao

    Mata Leao

    Dec 21, 2017
    BS is definitely better musically and technically, but CB helped write and was part of much better and popular songs.
    Besides his DLR days, I can't imagine BS's most popular song did better than CB/Metallica's worst.
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  9. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I can identify with that sentiment.

    Sheehan is kinda cursed like Yngwie. Amazing musicians, but who spends any time listening to them?
    jmattbassplaya likes this.
  10. Mata Leao

    Mata Leao

    Dec 21, 2017
    Right. He's too damn good.
  11. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Not necessarily too good. There’s a difference between technical mastery of an instrument and mastery of song craft. There’s also the simple luck of it all.

    Some pretty mediocre musicians have made millions because they can write pop songs or just happened to write good enough songs that hit the right societal chord at the exact right time.

    As for Cliff, he was an original inspiration for me. I have respect and he certainly had chops. That said, he wasn’t particularly amazing. Outside of Anesthesia (and other live solos), Orion, For Whom, and a couple other songs, he’s so diluted in the mix you can hardly hear him. I would have loved to hear him in a different group and genre to get a better sense of him.
  12. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    No argument with this
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  13. Mata Leao

    Mata Leao

    Dec 21, 2017
    Where's the fun in that?
    Root 5 likes this.
  14. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    It's been pointed out that Burton's death artificially amplified his status as a bass player. I suppose that's true - to a certain extent.

    But consider that because of his untimely death, the only material we have to judge him by is 5 years of recordings with Metallica (3 albums plus a few demos and bootlegs) and that he was only 24 years old at the time of his last performance.

    Think of all the bassists who are regarded so highly and remember that nearly all of them have the benefit of years or decades of experience behind them.

    Imagine if the only music available to judge the skills of Geddy Lee was entirely contained on the 3 albums Rush , Fly By Night, and Caress of Steel.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  15. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    I don’t think that’s a good comparison. Geddy was a beast even then.
  16. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Imagine Geddy had died in a tragic accident right after Caress of Steel. You and I would agree that his bass playing was really good, but that would certainly be disputed decades later. With only 4 or 5 recognizable songs to his credit there would be lots of doubters and lots of reasons given to justify why he was overrated by some fans who were nostalgic for the past and overly sympathetic because he was taken away too soon.

    I'm sure we'd hear why Geddy played too many notes because Rush was a power trio and he was too busy, trying to fill up the sonic space left by having only one guitarist. Plus, some would say Geddy had the unlikely benefit of being in a band with a monster drummer helping him drive the rhythm section and also a great guitarist who was able to play rhythm and leads at the same time to cover for Geddy's excessive wankery. Fair or not, many people would be saying exactly that.

    In all likelihood, Rush would have been a very different band if it had continued with another bassist and singer. There would be no 2112, Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, Permanent Waves, or Moving Pictures. None of that amazing bass playing would exist, but we'd be comparing Geddy's early work to some replacement bass player, just like people now compare Cliff Burton's playing to that of Jason Newstead.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  17. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    I think Geddy Lee’s playing, in its totality by that time, was more impressive. Do not misunderstand me - I respect Burton; he was a very talented musician. But if I had to pick...
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  18. serch777


    May 25, 2020
    Durham, UK
    He was pretty talented, although he was in the wrong band to develop his skills to the max. That said, if he hadn't passed away and stayed in Metallica, they would probably not be as commercially successful as today, but they would have kept putting out very solid albums through their whole career.
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  19. Big Fat O

    Big Fat O

    Dec 28, 2008
    Boston, MA
    Rick Beato on YouTube broke down Master of Puppets and had a lot of nice things to say about Cliff. If he lived they would have been as successful as the have been.