Cliff Burton of Metallica
Photo: Fin Costello/Getty Images
Cliff Burton's Metallica Royalties Fund Music Scholarship Program
Cliff Burton's bass playing shaped the sound of Metallica's first three albums and changed the band's legacy long after his tragic death in a bus accident in 1986.
His father, 92-year-old Ray Burton, recently revealed in a podcast interview with Alphabetallica, that he donates his son's royalty checks to music scholarship programs.
"From the royalties that I get, I give a scholarship to the high school he went to, the Castro Valley High School, for music," Ray Burton explained, "so the kids that have won it thank me for it. I think Cliff probably would have done that with his money, because he was not against education by any means. He liked it very much."
Cliff's bass playing was inventive, distinctive and unhinged, which is perhaps most prominent in the bass-driven instrumental "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)" from Metallica's 1983 debut album, Kill 'Em All. When Metallica was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009, the band asked Ray Burton to join them onstage to accept the award.
The elder Burton also recalled the first time his son brought home a royalty check for Kill 'Em All, saying, "I had absolutely no idea what that album meant. We realized that things had a possibility of really getting big when Cliff got his first royalty check. I think it was $1,500. He said, 'Mom and dad, here's my first check. Come on, I'll take you out to dinner tonight.'
One thing is clear: Cliff Burton's contributions, both through his music and through his father's generosity, continue to make a difference in our world.