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CV Rock Musician Cliff Burton Inducted in R&R Hall of Fame
By : Robert Souza : 4/14/09
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Castro Valley rock legend Cliff Burton was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Bay Area band Metallica this month.

Burton’s father, Ray, accepted his son’s honorary induction during ceremonies in Cleveland, Ohio on April 4.

Cliff Burton, best known as a heavy metal bass player who made use of distortion and special effects, was killed in an accident in 1986, four years after joining Metallica. It was Burton’s early influence that helped create Metallica’s unique musical style for which the band has become famous.


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Also attending the induction ceremony was San Leandro photographer Rick Brackett, who knew and photographed Burton in the 1980s when the musician played in gargage bands across Castro Valley and Hayward during the early days.

“It felt like an honor to be invited to go,” said Brackett. “I even postponed a trip to Africa because I couldn’t miss this once in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Brackett recalled Burton as a quiet and cheerful musician who appreciated classical pieces by Bach as much as he loved the songs of punk pioneers the Misfits.

Burton lived in an apartment with his parents Ray and Jan Burton on Stanton Ave. and played Little League baseball in town. He graduated from Castro Valley High in 1980. Six years later, the young musician died when Metallica’s tour bus skidded off an icy road in Sweden.

“I was shocked when I found out that Cliff had died,” Brackett said. “He’s still respected as one of the greatest bass players of all time and is legendary like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Randy Rhoads.”

Sharing the stage with inductees the likes of Run DMC, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Wanda Jackson, Jeff Beck and Bobby Womack, Ray Burton, who now lives in Southern California, wore a shirt emblazoned with a photo of Cliff snapped by Brackett during the early days of Metallica.

“I remember Cliff’s parents were always dedicated followers of his music. They’d go to every show and order all the photos I took of Cliff and the band...even the blurry ones,” Brackett recalled with a laugh. “Cliff was well known in all musical circles as a fantastic musician and his legend lives on.”

During their 27 year career, Metallica released 11 albums with five debuting at number one on the “Billboard Top 200” concectutively. An estimated 100 million copies of the albums have been sold worldwide, more than half in the U.S.

No matter how busy he during rehearsal and recording sessions with Metallica, Burton always found time for one of his main loves—going out and fishing on Lake Chabot, according to Brackett.

For more information on Richard Brackett’s photos, email him at RichardBrackett@ymail.com or call 635-0926.

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