GHOST frontman Tobias Forge (as his new alter ego, Cardinal Copia) was backed by members of CANDLEMASS and the Swedish songwriting, producer and artist duo VARGAS & LAGOLA for a performance of the METALLICA classic "Enter Sandman" earlier tonight (Thursday, June 14) when the San Francisco heavy metal giants were honored with the prestigious Polar Music Prize.
Also appearing at the event, which took place at Konserthuset in Stockholm, Sweden, were Loney Dear (a.k.a. Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen), who played METALLICA's "No Leaf Clover" and "Wherever I May Roam", and REFUSED frontman Dennis Lyxzén and SCORPIONS/ex-MOTÖRHEAD drummer Mikkey Dee, who performed a cover of METALLICA's "Whiplash". Reading the citation for METALLICA were DEEP PURPLE's Ian Paice and Roger Glover.
Glover said: "In the early '80s, we were riding high, doing a big festival in England. I heard this band backstage — well, they were on stage; I was backstage — and I thought, 'Umm, who's this?' METALLICA. I'd heard the name, didn't know anything about them. I went on the side of the stage to have a look and I thought, 'Yeah, there's something happening here.' I'll tell you why: because the audience were singing every word they sang. And that's what impressed me. When you touch that many people with your music, there's something special going on."
METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo accepted the prize from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
In his acceptance speech, Ulrich paid tribute to fellow winner and founder of the Afghanistan National Institute Of Music, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast.
Lars said: "I would like to say what an honour and a privilege it is to share this award with Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, who through his tireless and selfless endeavors is showing the world how connecting people through music can be both a transformative and a healing experience.
"Who would have thought, when METALLICA started this musical journey 37 years ago, that one day we would be standing in front of both musical royalty and actual royalty, accepting one of the most prestigious prizes that can be bestowed upon musicians."
The entire event was broadcast live on Sweden's TV4, and footage can be seen below.
The evening banquet was held at the Grand Hotel immediately following the ceremony at Konserthuset.
Sweden's biggest music award, the Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by Stig "Stikkan" Anderson, the manager and music publisher of ABBA. A well-known lyricist, he also was the co-writer on many of their early hits. The prize was first presented in 1992.
Previous winners of the Polar Music Prize include Elton John, Sting, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, LED ZEPPELIN, PINK FLOYD, Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, B.B. King, Quincy Jones, Paul McCartney, Max Martin and Bruce Springsteen.
The Polar Music Prize honors two laureates every year to "celebrate music in all its various forms" and "to break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music." It awards each laureate one million kronor (approximately $125,000).
METALLICA will donate the prize money to its All Within My Hands Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting and enriching the lives of the members of the communities by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services.