The Real Reason Metallica Uses ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’ As Their Live Show Intro Since 1983

Metallica, one of the greatest and most commercially successful bands of all time, have opened every single live performance of theirs with Ennio Morricone’s ‘Ecstasy of Gold’ composition since 1983. Considering the fans have always loved this intro since it’s the perfect composition that escalates gradually as it prepares the audience for what’s to come next, it would be interesting to break down the story behind their decision to open every show with this track.

As many of you know, ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ is one of the famous musical compositions by one of the most prolific and greatest film composers of all time, Ennio Morricone who came up with the theme for the 1966 movie, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,’ especially for the scene where Tuco is looking for a cemetery for the grave that holds golds coins worth of $200,000.

While many people may not see the connection between the well-known composition and Metallica, they happened to be using the track as the intro for their shows for nearly four decades and all members of the band have a huge amount of respect for late composer Ennio Morricone. In order to see the story of how the band came to use his composition, let’s travel back to the time when they first offered to use the theme.

How Did Metallica Start Using ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ As Their Intro?

Initially, the idea of using ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ didn’t come from Metallica members, it was actually Megaforce Records founder Jon Zazula who has worked with the band for their first two studio albums, ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ and ‘Ride the Lightning’ who suggested the band to use the composition instead of the clip of an accelerated heartbeat which has been used thus far.

In his autobiography named ‘Heavy Tales,’ Jon revealed the detailed story behind how Metallica decided to use ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ for their into in their live performances. He stated that he has always been a fan of Ennio Morricone and while looking for an emotional intro to prep the audience, he came up with two compositions, ‘The Trio’ and ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ which was the winner after all.

Here is what Zazula said:

“I’ve always been a huge Morricone fan, and I was looking for an intro song to be played prior to Metallica’s performance on stage, something emotional to get the crowd ready. I was tossing around ‘The Trio’ because of the fiery coronets at the finale of the song but ‘Ecstasy of Gold’ won.”

Since then, Metallica has been using the composition as their intro song. Furthermore, the band recorded a guitar-based interpretation of ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ for a tribute album to the Italian composer titled ‘We All Love Ennio Morricone,’ which was released in 2007. The track was a success as it received a Grammy nomination at the 50th Grammy Awards for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

James Hetfield Paid Tribute To Ennio Morricone After His Passing

Unfortunately, Ennio Morricone passed away at the Università Campus Bio-Medico in Rome on July 6, 2020, at the age of 91, as a result of injuries sustained during a fall. After hearing the devastating news, Metallica frontman James Hetfield shared a post on the band’s official Instagram page paying tribute to the iconic composer by revealing how he felt when the band first played ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ as their intro which was magical as well as stating that Morricone will always be a part of the Metallica family.

Here is what Hetfield said:

“The day we first played ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ as our new intro in 1983 it was magic! It has become a part of our blood flow, deep breathing, fist-bumping, prayers, and band huddle pre-show ritual ever since. I have sung that melody thousands of times to warm up my throat before hitting the stage. Thank you, Ennio for pumping us up, being a big part of our inspiration, and bonding between band, crew, and fan. I will forever think of you as part of the Metallica family.

R. I. P. Maestro Morricone

With respect,
James ‘papa h’”

The band shared another post afterward and thanked the legendary composer for the opportunity to have one of his most iconic compositions as their intro for so many years. Despite it was heartbreaking to see such an amazing composer pass away, both fans and Metallica members were glad to witness his genius for all these years.

You can listen to both versions of ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ down below.