- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Elected officials in Alameda County, California, have agreed to designate this Saturday, Feb. 10, in honor of Cliff Burton, a local musician and who played bass for Metallica before dying tragically in a 1986 tour bus crash.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation Tuesday declaring “Cliff Burton Day” on what have been the bassist’s 56th birthday.

Efforts to established “Cliff Burton Day” started with an Change.org petition created last month and ultimately presented to the Municipal Advisory Council in Burton’s hometown of Castro Valley, east of San Francisco. The council voted 7-0 in favor of the proposal, and its members forwarded the petition to the county Board of Supervisors where it was accepted during Tuesday’s meeting, according to Blabbermouth, a heavy metal website that reported on the initiative.

Metallica confirmed the board’s decision on social media Tuesday evening along with a photograph of the official proclamation signed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors designating this Saturday in honor of the “life and legacy” of the metal band’s former bassist.

“Thanks to all of the fans who got behind this initiative. We love that he remains so revered,” Metallica said on Twitter.

Burton was born on Feb. 10, 1962 in Castro Valley, where he began his formal music training at the age of six from a local piano teacher, the board recalled in its proclamation designating “Cliff Burton Day.” He started his first band while attending Castro Valley High School with future members of fellow rock groups Faith No More, and he performed with outfits including Agents of Misfortune and Trauma prior to being asked to join the newly-formed Metallica in 1982.

Burton took Metallica up on its offer and joined the group in time to appear on the band’s debut album, 1983’s “Kill ‘Em All,” where he was prominently featured on a two-and-a-half-minute bass solo that appeared at the start of the song “(Anesthesia) - Pulling Teeth.” He co-wrote several songs that appeared on Metallica’s 1984 follow-up, “Ride the Lighting,” as well the band’s third record, 1986’s “Master of Puppets,” but died that September when the group’s bus crashed while touring Sweden. He was 24.

“I miss Cliff a lot,” Metallica co-founder James Hetfield said in a 2016 interview. “I think about him quite often. But it also makes me realize that you know, he’s here in spirit. He’s not here physically, but there are people that are here physically, and let’s have some good times now.”

Metallica replaced Burton a month after his death with bassist Jason Newstead, and the band’s next few albums – 1988’s “…And Justice for All,” 1991’s self-titled, so-called “Black Album” and 1996’s “Load” – each sold several million copies apiece. Mr. Newstead left the band in 2001 and was replaced by Metallica’s current bassist, Robert Trujillo.

Burton’s father revealed last year that he’s quietly donated royalties received for his son’s music to his alma mater.

“I give a scholarship to the high school he went to, Castro Valley High School, for music. The kids who won it they invariably write and thank me for. And 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,” Ray Burton said in a podcast last August.

Burton was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of Metallica in 2009. His former band released its tenth studio album, “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct,” in 2016.

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