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‘The Memory Remains’ – Story Behind the Song

'The Memory Remains'
Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

1997’s ‘ReLoad‘ marked the seventh studio album released by Metallica. Written and recorded during the same sessions as their previous album, ‘Load,’ ‘ReLoad’ is chock full of ripping rock tunes, from ‘Fuel‘ to ‘Bad Seed,’ with a few more sprinkled in between. One track on ‘ReLoad’ stands out more than any other, though, mainly due to the backup vocalist ‘Tallica employed for the tune.

The Memory Remains‘ features Marianne Faithfull, a woman most well-known for her romantic relationship with Mick Jagger, frontman for The Rolling Stones. During her stint with the rocker, Faithfull co-wrote ‘Sister Morphine’ from the Stones’ 1971’s ‘Sticky Fingers.’ Over 20 years later, Faithfull would have another shining moment in the spotlight by being a hugely memorable part of ‘The Memory Remains.’ If you’ve ever heard the song – which we know you have about a thousand times – then there’s no doubt that you’ve had Faithfull’s haunting vocals stuck in your head. The female vocalist last performed the song live with the band on Dec. 7, 2011 during their 30th anniversary celebration at the Fillmore in San Francisco, Calif.

Faithfull was featured in the music video for the single. One of Metallica’s most expensive music videos, ‘The Memory Remains’ was directed by Paul Andresen and cost a reported $400,000 to create. The high bill came from the complex suspended stage that the band plays on during the video.

Initially called ‘Memory,’ Metallica recorded their first demo of the song on March 6, 1995. While it remains a core track for rock radio stations throughout the country, it has never found a steady place in their live performances. Since its first debut to a live audience on Nov. 11, 1997 in Philadelphia, Penn., ‘The Memory Remains’ has been played just a shade over 200 times. Debuting at No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, this would mark the last time Metallica had a song in the top 40 spots of that chart until ‘The Day That Never Comes,’ the first single from ‘Death Magnetic.’

Watch Metallica Perform ‘The Memory Remains’ with Marianne Faithfull – San Francisco – Dec. 7, 2011

Next: Read All About Metallica's 'ReLoad'

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