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The Shortest Straw (song)

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"The Shortest Straw" is the fifth track from American thrash metal band Metallica's fourth studio album, ...And Justice For All. It was released with the album on August 25, 1988 by Elektra Records.

The song's lyrics deal with the blacklisting of American politicians with alleged ties to communism during the Red Scare of the 1950s. The title "The Shortest Straw" may also be a reference to the death of bassist Cliff Burton — Burton was given his fatal sleeping bunk by pulling the shortest straw in a game of chance.


The song "The Shortest Straw" was not played on the '88-'89 Damaged Justice Tour. The song was not premiered until 1990 on the '90 Tour in London,UK at the Marquee under the secret gig name The Frayed Ends. It was a regular song on the '92 Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour. The song was not played again until at the Rosemont Horizon Arena(now Allstate Arena) in Chicago.IL on February 8, 1997 on the "96-'97 Poor Touring Me tour. The song was not played again until recently on the World Magnetic Tour on September 19, 2009 at Montreal, Canada at the Bell Centre.


Suspicion is your name

Your honesty to blame

Put dignity to shame


Witch-hunt, modern day

Determining decay

The blatant disarray


The public eye's disgrace

Defying common place

Unending paper chase




Reckoning with vertigo it doth bring

Shortest straw, challenge liberty

Downed by law, live in infamy

Rub you raw, witch-hunt riding through

Shortest straw, the shortest straw has been pulled for you

(Pulled for you) Shortest straw (3x)

This shortest straw has been pulled for you

The accusations fly

Discrimination, why?

Your inner self to die


Doubt sunk itself in you

Its teeth and talons through

You're living Catch 2-2


A mass hysteria

A megalomania

Reveal dementia reveal



Certainly in vertigo you will be


Behind you hands are tied

You're being ostracized

Your hell is multiplied


The fallout has begun

Oppressive damage done

Your many turned to none

To nothing

You're reaching your nadir

Your will has disappeared

The lie is crystal-clear


Channels red

One word said

Blacklisted with vertigo make you dead

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