The lyrics suggest the story of a man contemplating, and eventually committing suicide. It was the first musical ballad released by the band.
- "Fade to Black" was played live for the first time on February 9, 1985, in Chicago, IL at the Aragon Ballroom. It replaced "The Call of Ktulu" and played 2 nights prior in Ohio. It was 8th of a 10-song set.
- As of August 2016, "Fade to Black" has been played 1,104 times live, making it one of the nine songs played live over 1,000 times along with "Master of Puppets", "Creeping Death", "Seek & Destroy", "One", "For Whom The Bell Tolls", "Enter Sandman", "Sad But True", and "Nothing Else Matters".
- This was also the song that Metallica had been playing the intro of during their infamous concert at Montreal's Olympic Stadium in 1992, when James Hetfield suffered second-and-third degree burns from a pyrotechnic accident.
- James has played the intro with many guitars, using two different double necks in 1992-'93, an explorer with a clean tone, and with an acoustic guitar.
- In the summer of 1984, the band got their gear stolen, which inspired James to write Fade to Black.
- Former Bassist Jason Newsted's last song played with Metallica live was Fade to Black.
Life, it seems, will fade away Drifting further every day Getting lost within myself Nothing matters, no one else I have lost the will to live Simply nothing more to give There is nothing more for me Need the end to set me free Things not what they used to be Missing one inside of me Deathly lost, this can't be real Cannot stand this hell I feel Emptiness is filling me To the point of agony Growing darkness taking dawn I was me, but now he's gone No one but me can save myself, but it's too late Now I can't think, think why I should even try Yesterday seems as though it never existed Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye