Clifford Lee “Cliff” Burton bass guitarist for Metallica, was tragically was killed at the age of 24 in a bus accident in Sweden on September 27, 1986, as Metallica was touring in support of the “Master of Puppets” album. Here’s a photo of Burton from his last photo session with Metallica in September of 1986.
Here’s another photo from the same session with Burton in between bandmates James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett.
Burton’s final performance with Metallica was in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Solnahallen Arena on September 26, 1986, one day before his death. Burton is second from the left as the band prepares to walk off the stage that night.
This photo below is that last photo of Burton alive and was taken backstage right after the concert before the band got into the bus heading to Denmark. (Note: Burton’s cool Blue Oyster Cult shirt)
During the European the tour the band complained that the sleeping cubicles on their tour bus were unsatisfactory and uncomfortable. To decide who received pick of the bunks, Hammett and Burton drew cards. On the evening of September 26, 1986, Burton won the game with an ace of spades, thereby getting the first choice of bunk and pointed at Hammett and exclaimed;
“I want your bunk!”
“Fine, take my bunk, I’ll sleep up front, it’s probably better up there anyway”
Burton was sleeping shortly before 7 am on September 27 when, according to the driver, the bus skidded off the road and flipped onto the grass in Kronoberg County. Burton was thrown through the window of the bus, which fell on top of him, resulting in his death.
Here’s a video interview of James, Kirk & Lars Ulrich talking about the bus crash…
In 2006, 20 years after Burton’s death, the Metallica fan club of Sweden had a memorial stone erected. The memorial stone stands on the opposite side of the road where the accident happened in Dörarp, Småland, Sweden.
Burton was also posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Metallica on April 4, 2009.