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Album: ...And Justice For AllReleased: 1988
This song is about false justice and how some people pay the judge to fix the court case: "Halls of justice painted green, money talkin'..."
"...And justice for all" are the last words of the Pledge of Allegiance, which is commonly said in American schools at the beginning of the day.
There is a 1979 movie called ...And Justice For All
starring Al Pacino and Jeffrey Tambor that may have inspired this song. Pacino plays a lawyer who realizes that the justice system is full of corruption and favoritism.
Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield are the credited writers on this track, which runs 9:47.
This album showcased some of Metallica's most complex music. Some of the songs were so complex that the band had a difficult time reproducing the sound for their tour in support of the album. This also might have something to do with why they used many more simplistic rifts on their next album, Metallica (better known as The Black Album). Kirk Hammett stated in an interview that once the band had finished playing this song, one of them up and said, "We're never playing that f--king song ever again."
On June 28th 2007, Metallica finally played this song live. It was the first time the band had performed this song in over 20 years. During the "Sick of The Studio" tour, this song gained a spot on the setlist.
The Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen worked on the album, handling the engineering and co-producing it with Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. "That took some effort to do because there were so many parts," he said of the title track in a Songfacts interview
. "It's four songs in one! I always get surprised when I hear it.
But that's played from beginning until the end - the bits. We did a bit, and when a bit was cool, we'd do the next bit, and so on. And this is still all analog tape, so that is all me punching in."