METALLICA have selected the track "53rd & 3rd" as their contribution to the upcoming RAMONES tribute album, We're A Happy Family, which is due later in the year through DV8/Columbia Records, according to www.metallica.comAlthough the band had ended up recording and mixing no less than four RAMONES covers before deciding which track to include on the CD, they eventually chose "53rd & 3rd" — a track universally recognized as being about late RAMONES bassist Dee Dee Ramone's early New York life — as a way to pay homage to the bassist, who died of a drug overdose in early June. As previously reported, We're A Happy Family will contain additional cuts by KISS ("Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio?"), ROB ZOMBIE ("Blitzkrieg Bop"), EDDIE VEDDER ("I Believe In Miracles"), RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS ("Havana Affair"), THE OFFSPRING ("I Wanna Be Sedated"), PRETENDERS ("Something To Believe In"), GARBAGE ("I Just Want To Have Something To Do"), MOTÖRHEAD ("Rockaway Beach"), GREEN DAY ("Outsider"), STATIC-X ("Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment"), RANCID ("Sheena Is A Punk Rocker"), U2 ("Beat on the Brat"), and TOM WAITS ("Jacky and Judy"). In other METALLICA-related news, a rare version of the track "Hit The Lights" — featuring guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, and their friend Lloyd Grant guesting on lead guitar — will be appearing on the upcoming Metal Blade Records 20th anniversary box set, which is due on October 22nd. A different version to the one that appeared on the CD release of the very first Metal Massacre compilation LP (which included appearances by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron McGovney), this early recording only appeared on the first few thousand vinyl copies of Metal Massacre and was subsequently removed from the album in favor of the other, more widely-available version. When asked about the project, Lars' response was, "This is the earliest and the rawest version of 'Hit The Lights' that exist, come to think of it, it is the earliest METALLICA recording ever released, and it's really fun to be able to share this with you. It's got amazing energy and a kind of youthful innocence that, to my ears, holds up quite well 20 years later." Also on the METALLICA-related front, James Hetfield celebrated his 39th birthday by racing vintage cars with his bandmates and family Tuesday, August 6th in Sonoma, California. The frontman (whose actual birthday was Saturday) got behind the wheel of several vehicles on a closed-off racetrack, including a Chevy Camaro that appeared as a stunt car in the band's "I Disappear" video.
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