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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Metallica Songs

“Master of Puppets,” “Battery” and your other favorites by the metal legends

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If Metallica fans don't like the song selection on the group's upcoming European tour, they have only themselves to blame. That's because the band is letting ticket holders in every city vote on the set list. Every single song in their vast catalog is fair game and the results are public on the band's website. "To be totally honest with you, sometimes I wish they would vote on some of the really obscure songs," says Lars Ulrich. "We love playing crazy stuff. . .We want to mix it up as much as possible." We decided to do our own poll and have our readers vote for their favorite Metallica songs. Click through to see the results. 

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4. “Orion”

The closest that Metallica ever got to prog rock was their 1986 instrumental from Master of Puppets. The song is more than eight minutes long and was named after the constellation Orion because it has a spacey bridge. Cliff Burton played a huge role in the writing of this song, and his bass solo is arguably his greatest moment in the band's history. The song is still in the group's live rotation, but it hasn't quite sounded right since Cliff passed away. 

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3. “Fade to Black”

Metallica fans have been accusing the group of selling out all the way back to the release of this 1984 song, which was the group's first ballad. It's a dark track about depression and suicide, and in a bizarre twist of fate James Hetfield nearly died while performing it in 1992 on a co-headlining tour with Guns N' Roses. A giant ball of flames shot up during the end of the song, and Hetfield got confused and stood right above it. He suffered horrible third-degree burns and couldn't play guitar for weeks, but the tour carried on. 

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2. “Master of Puppets”

Many of the songs on Master of Puppets are about the loss of control in some form or another. The epic title track addresses addiction. "It deals pretty much with drugs," James Hetfield says. "How things get switched around, instead of you controlling what you're taking and doing, it's drugs controlling you." The song has been played live at nearly every Metallica concert since 1986, racking up over 1,400 plays. Just a few weeks ago, they opened a show with it for the very first time. They also recently broke it out on The Howard Stern Show and The Colbert Report

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1. ‘One’

For a great many Metallica fans, "One" was their first exposure to the band. That's largely due to the fact it marks the moment they finally folded and agreed to make a music video, which was played incessantly on MTV in 1989. This was the era of Poison and Warrant, but Metallica didn't make a clip with girls in bikinis. Instead, they took footage from the 1971 movie Johnny Got His Gun, based on the 1939 novel about a World War I solider whose arms and legs get blown off by a land mine. It was the opposite of everything on MTV at the time, and it was absolutely brilliant. The song has been a key moment in their live show ever since. 

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