Sad news as Ray Burton, father of the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, passed away on Wednesday, January 15. He was 94. Burton’s death was confirmed by his daughter and Cliff’s sister — Connie, who wrote in a social media post earlier today: “To let you all know that my Dad died last Wednesday. Rest in peace Dad.” As shown in Adam Dubin’s 2019 film Murder In The Front Row, Ray and his wife Jan encouraged Cliff to study classical music and take piano lessons, later buying him a bass for Christmas at age 13, after his brother Scott died. After forming the band Trauma in San Francisco, Burton 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 co-wrote To Live Is to Die from …And Justice For All and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of Metallica on April 4, 2009. Cliff died in the tragic bus accident that claimed his life on September 27 th, 1986. We send our sympathies out to Connie and the Burton and Metallica family as this difficult time.
In his final interview with Revolver for Father’s Day 2019, Ray had this to say of Cliff:
“Cliff knew what he wanted to do and went out and did it,” Ray says of his son. “How could you not support a child who has that initiative already in their system and wanting to learn an occupation like that? The way he pursued music and the enthusiasm he showed toward the playing, we thought, ‘Well, let’s see what happens.’ Then when he came and said, ‘Can you support me for five years?’ Not long after that, it was absolute history.”