METALLICA has paid tribute to Ray Burton, father of the band's late bassist Cliff Burton, who passed away on Wednesday, January 15 at the age of 94.
"It is with incredible sorrow that we said farewell to Cliff's dad Ray Burton last week," METALLICA said in a statement. "For 38 years, we were lucky enough to have the energy, wisdom and light of Ray in our lives. His eternal youth with his drive, positivity and relentless smile were both incredibly powerful and stirringly honest. From coast to coast and overseas too, Ray's beaming face would regularly greet us, offering warmth and anchor to our travels, and when it came to the entire METALLICA family, band, crew and fans, he viewed us all as his own. That he has passed away leaves an indefinable feeling of sadness and loss, but equally, we know Ray wouldn't want us 'moping around on our darn keisters' for too long. So, in honor of him, and the kind of man he was, we also want to truly celebrate the 94 years of life Ray gave everyone, knowing in certainty that a glint of his light, wisdom and energy will always be with us all wherever we go.
"We love you Ray, Rest in peace"
Each member of METALLICA also wrote his own tribute, with guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield's "Mr. Ray Burton" taking the form of rhyming song lyrics. He wrote:
"Mr. Ray Burton is a hero of mine
In earthly form, his end of the line
He weathered many a difficult storm
A strong compass
true and gracefully worn
To his last breath, I've not met a more positive man
And to his son there was not a more loyal fan
So he leaves the material world to be with his sons and wife
I feel so very blessed to have had him grace my life
In earthly form, his end of the line
Mr. Ray Burton is a hero of mine
"May peace be yours.
"Love and Respect, James"
Drummer Lars Urich added: "Ray... Thank you for lighting up every room you walked into, for inspiring all of us with your positive energy, your perseverance, your effortlessness and for always making everyone feel comfortable in your presence... and of course, thank you for giving the world the gift of Cliff and his unique talents. I’m honored and humbled to have played and stood beside him.
"Rest In Peace. Lars"
Bassist Robert Trujillo said: "In my 55 years of existing on this earth I've met so many wonderful people, and not so wonderful people.
"In recent times, and most definitely since I've been in METALLICA, I've been asked who is an inspiration to me and/or who do I aspire to be like, and my reply is, 'I want to be like Mr. Ray Burton!' Ray is the father we all want, or need to have; his positive energy, and support for how and what we do is a powerful gift that he blessed us with.
"Always smiling, and always telling it like it is; someone to learn from. Ray's love for all styles of music was passion driven, telling me about various big band jazz artists from his youth, sharing his thoughts on how and why these musicians were so special. I'll always remember him telling my son, 'You practicing, you playing piano Tye, remember that's very important for your music; Cliff played piano all the time.'
"My family, the METALLICA family, and the world will miss Ray Burton, that goes without saying. Ray was a warrior, and would want us to face life the way he has, with that desire to be the best you can be from the inside out, stay humble, and keep smiling!
"We love you, and we will miss you Ray.
Guitarist Kirk Hammett said: "Lots of love Ray. May you finally be with Cliff and Jan."
Ray's stepdaughter Casey revealed in a tribute video that he had died of pneumonia, and that Trujillo had been in the hospital during the last week of her stepfather's life to offer support.
"He got a cold, and I took him to the hospital, and for seven days I stayed by this side hoping that he could recover," Casey said, "He's a really strong guy — he's always recovered — but, unfortunately, he's lived on 35 percent of his heart for the last several years. And we knew someday, his poor little heart would not be able to keep up, and this time, it wasn't. … He passed away surrounded by my family."
She continued: "We wanna take this time to tell you how much all of you meant to Ray. Every concert I took him to, every event he attended, every time you came up to him and you said to him, 'My name is… this is where I'm from, and this is what your son meant to me,' that brought his son back to him every time. The smile on his face every time we attended a METALLICA concert… he loved every one of you. He loved James, Lars, Kirk, Jason [Newsted] and Rob, and Dave [Mustaine]."
Ray died just 15 days shy of his 95th birthday.
Cliff joined METALLICA in 1982 and performed on the band's first three studio albums: "Kill 'Em All", "Ride The Lightning" and "Master Of Puppets". He also received a posthumous writing credit for the song "To Live Is to Die" from the band's fourth studio album, "...And Justice For All" and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of METALLICA on April 4, 2009.
His life was tragically cut short at the age of 24 in a tour bus crash on September 27, 1986 in Sweden.
Burton's initial replacement in the group was Newsted, who stayed in the lineup until 2001. Trujillo joined in 2003 and remains in the band to this day.
February 10, 2018 was proclaimed "Cliff Burton Day" by Alameda County supervisors. The late METALLICA bassist would have turned 56 years old on that date had he lived.