How the band Metallica got its name

You can’t talk about rock royalty without mentioning Metallica.

The name echoes success and longevity the likes few rock bands have ever seen. Formed in 1981, the L.A.-based band’s track record for the past 36 years has been staggering, to put it mildly. Six number one albums, numerous hits and a show that is pretty hard to top in the business of rock and roll.

Though they have had their share of normal rock n’ roll turmoil over their storied history, they are still one of the most stable bands in rock. They have had only eight members in their 36 years on the scene, and they rock as hard today as they did back in the days of big hair and groupies.

But there is one thing that has been on the mind of Metallica fans for decades: Where did the name “Metallica” come from?

If you’re one of those fans that has been searching for a place that would answer that immortal question, you have found the right place. In our special series explaining where some of the biggest acts in music got their name, we went deep into the band’s archives to find out.

Here’s the answer.

The name “Metallica” stems from a brainstorming session between drummer Lars Ulrich and his friend, Ron Quintana. While in the middle of the back-and-forth, Quintana suggested two names -- “MetalMania” and “Metallica.”

“MetalMania” sounded too commercial, but “Metallica” was the one that stood out to Ulrich. So, when Ulrich placed his second advertisement looking for a lead guitarist, the band’s name was “Metallica,” and, as the old saying goes, the rest is rock history.

The newly minted Metallica was unlike anything heard in the early-’80s. The band recorded their first track in 1982, and by early 1983, their first album, Kill Em’ All, would appear on store shelves. Metallica would go on to transform metal, carving out space on the charts that, at the time, was dominated by the new wave sound.

Metallica would go on to have one of the most storied runs on the charts in the history of music, a run that is still going to this very day.