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Enter Sandman
Enter Sandman (single)
From the Album Metallica
Released 29th July 1991
Lenght 3:59 (edit)
5:34 (LP)
Label Elektra (USA)
Vertigo (Europe)
Chronology
Previous Single
Don't Tread on Me
Next Single
The Unforgiven

Enter Sandman was released as the first single from their eponymous fifth album, Metallica. The music was written by Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, and Lars Ulrich. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Hetfield wrote the lyrics, which deal with the concept of a child's nightmares.

The single achieved gold certification for more than 500,000 copies shipped in the United States, spurring sales of over 22 million copies for Metallica and propelling Metallica to worldwide popularity. Acclaimed by critics, the song is featured in all of Metallica's live albums and DVDs released after 1991 and has been played live at award ceremonies and benefit concerts.

The single was also released in limited box (Vertigo - METCD 7), that included "Enter Sandman" single and space for other 3 singles from Metallica

Release and reception

Initially, the song "Holier Than Thou" was slated to be the opening track and first single from Metallica; according to the documentary A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica, producer Bob Rock told Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield that the album has "five or six songs that are going to be classics", not only with fans but also on the radio, and that "the first song that should come out is Holier Than Thou". According to Rock, Ulrich was the only band member who felt, even before recording, that "Enter Sandman" was the ideal song to be the first single. Ulrich has said that there was a "big argument"; however, after explaining his point of view to the rest of the band, "Enter Sandman" eventually became the opening track and first single of the album.

The single was released on July 29, 1991, two weeks before the release of Metallica. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the United States and nine other countries, and sold over 22 million copies worldwide, allowing "Enter Sandman" to become, as Chris True describes it, "one of the most recognizable songs of all time in rock". The single peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart. On September 30, 1991, it became Metallica's second single to achieve gold status in the United States, for shipping more than 500,000 copies. In addition to the nominations received by the album as a whole, the song was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 34th Grammy Awards in 1992, ultimately losing to "The Soul Cages" by Sting.

"Enter Sandman" was acclaimed by critics. Chris True of Allmusic declared it "one of Metallica’s best moments" and a "burst of stadium level metal that, once away from the buildup intro, never lets up". According to him, the song's breakdown "brilliantly utilizes that 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep' bedtime prayer in such a way as to add to the scary movie aspect of the song". Steve Huey, in Allmusic review of Metallica, described it as one of the album's best songs, with "crushing, stripped-down grooves". Robert Palmer of Rolling Stone described "Enter Sandman" as "possibly the first metal lullaby" and wrote that the song "tell[s] the tale" of the album's "detail and dynamic, [...] song structures and impact of individual tracks". Sid Smith from the BBC called the song "psycho-dramatic" and noted that the "terse motifs served notice that things were changing" with Metallica's new album. Blender magazine's Tim Grierson says that the lyrics "juxtapose childhood bedtime rituals and nightmarish imagery" and praises the "thick bottom end and propulsive riff". This song is considered to be their signature song.

Tracklisting

Elektra - PRCD 8421-2

No. Title Composer Length
1. Enter Sandman (Single Version) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 3:59
Total length:
3:59

Vertigo - 868 732-7

No. Title Composer Length
1. Enter Sandman James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 5:34
2. Stone Cold Crazy (Queen Cover) Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon 2:18
Total length:
7:52

Vertigo - 868 733-2

No. Title Composer Length
1. Enter Sandman James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 5:34
2. Stone Cold Crazy (Queen Cover) Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon 2:18
3. Enter Sandman (Demo Version) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 5:06
Total length:
12:59

Vertigo - 868 727-1

No. Title Composer Length
1. Enter Sandman James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 5:34
2. Holier Than Thou (Demo Version) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 3:49
3. Stone Cold Crazy (Queen Cover) Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon 2:18
4. Enter Sandman (Demo Version) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 5:06
Total length:
16:48

Personnel

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