Metallica’s first album, Kill ’em All, came out 32 years ago today, on July 25, 1983. The band was formed in California, of course, but Kill ’em All came out on a Jersey-based indie label, and the discovery of Metallica by that label’s owners, Jon and Marsha Zazula, represents, perhaps, the most important turning point in the band’s career.
At the time, the Zazulas lived in Old Bridge and owned a record store, Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven, that was located at the indoor Route 18 flea market in East Brunswick and was a hub for local heavy metal activity. In late ’82 or early ’83, a Metallica fan encouraged Jon to listen to their demo. He did, and immediately recognized its potential.
The Zazulas helped arranged for a series of East Coast Metallica shows in the spring of ’83, including one at the Showplace in Dover. And by the the end of July, the album — now recognized as a thrash-metal landmark — was recorded and available via the label they had created for that purpose, Megaforce.
Megaforce also released Metallica’s second album, Ride the Lightning, and though the band then moved to a major label, Elektra. Megaforce continued to put out albums by various artists, mostly (but not exclusively) in a metal or hard-rock vein. Among their signings were Anthrax, Overkill, Testament, King’s X, Frehley’s Comet and Warren Haynes.
Megaforce remains active to this day; for information, visit megaforcerecords.com.
Below is the first single from Kill ’em All, “Whiplash.”
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.