To Live Is To Die

Album: ...And Justice For All (1988)
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  • This song is a tribute to Metallica's bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus crash. It is instrumental except the spoken word piece near the end - this was a poem that Cliff wrote before he died >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Toke - Stoke, England
  • The line, "These are the pale deaths which men miscall their lives" comes from the book Lord Foul's Bane, Book One of the series "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" by Stephen R. Donaldson. In the book, the main character decides to write a poem to amuse himself. The full poem is as follows:
    These are the pale deaths
    which men miscall their lives:
    for all the scents of green things growing,
    each breath is but an exhalation of the grave.
    Bodies jerk like puppet corpses,
    and hell walks laughing.
    >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Evan - Columbus, GA
  • Metallica singer James Hetfield explained to Mojo magazine December 2008 that this song is an "homage to Cliff without going over the top." He added: "It's about realizing how grateful we were to have that time with him."
  • Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett on the first part of the "To Live Is To Die" solo (Guitar Player, April 1989): "That's a very straight blues box. It was the very last solo I did on the album. It was recorded at 5:00 in the morning, just a few hours before we had to leave for the Monsters Of Rock tour. I just played off the top of my head. On the other solos I carefully figured out the most appropriate scales for the chord changes." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Olli - Finland
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Comments: 33

  • John from WiesbadenNot one of the best... THE best.
  • Zander from Los AngelesThe thing that makes Orion better than this is that the mood in Orion changes, whereas TLITD is slow, hard, raw, metal pretty much the whole way through. Orion has more movement, if that makes sense.
  • A-z from Earth, I Think?O.K.>>>>> "When a man lies he murders some part of the world. These are the pale deaths men miscall their lives." This part of the song lyrics were written by Paul Gerhardt, a poet/writer from the 17th century(b. 1606 d.1676) This was after THE REAL King Arthur, but before the movie " Excalibur", so.... Adam - Clinton Township, Mi; Levar - Washington, Dc (author Merlin...really, dude?) you are both incorrect. Nice try, but y'all get the boobie prize. The " All this I cannot bear to witness any longer. Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation take me home?” part, i believe, is all Cliff, prolly inspired from the vast reading of classic literature that the man spent a great deal of time doing. As far as this song being one of Metallica's best songs....NO WAY! Not even one of the best songs on the album, let alone their whole discography. On this album alone (not in order of bad-ass-ness, just album order) "..And Justice for All", "Eye of the Beholder", "One"(although WAY over-played), "Harvester of Sorrow", "The Frayed Ends of Sanity", and "Dyers Eve" (imhop... IS one of the best of Metallica's songs, if not THE best). Now as for Cliff's best songs, well "The Call of Cthulhu" or "(Anesthesia) - Pulling Teeth" ARE BOTH WAY BETTER than ' To Live Is To Die". The unbelievable gritty, dirty beast sounds in " The Call..." and the mind blowing solo of " Pulling Teeth" are two of the stellar examples of the musical genius and BAD ASS BASS Playing of Mr. Burton. God keep Cliff's soul, in the name of Jesus, Amen.
  • Molly from Allegan, Mithe members always talk about how cliff would have been the first to get P.O ed if they gave up so i always saw this song as the bit at the begining like mourning and then volume swell is like cliff getting really mad at them in spirit.
  • Shingami from Lusaka, ZambiaWhen Metallica make an instrumental they really outdo themselves and this is proof of that. The way the guitars just harmonize along this song just makes me drift into my own world. Its an amazing song though my favorite instrumental by Metallica is Orion.
  • Diego from La Paz, Boliviathis is the song i want to be played at my funeral
  • Adam from Clinton Township, MiThe line is from a poem called Excalibur... not sure if it inspired the movie.
  • Xavier from Santa Fe, NmRest in peace, Cliff
  • Jon from Dumont, NjA favorite of mine for years. One of the best rock instrumentals ever.
  • Levar from Washington, Dcdoes anyone know what the other lines are quoted from? The first is "when a man lies he murders some part of the world"

    This was in the movie Excalibur to Author by Merlin. Is the rest of the song quoted from other sources as well?
  • Bill from Arroyo Gande, CaGreat song, definetly 1 of my favorites. I cant pick between this 1 and "Orion".
  • Sina from Memphis, TnIn my book Metallica and Pink Floyd have composed the greatest instrumentals in rock history. This piece is a definite classic...
  • Jt from Tullahoma, TnI really enjoy this one. It's melodic, still heavy, and I think Metallica's instrumentals are the best.
  • Evan from Otway, OhThis is the BEST instrumental ever in my book. Great tribute to Cliff, he definantly deserves this kind of tribute, considering its one of their best songs. And the few spoken words close to the end, they just help to add to the...um...awesome-ness...for lack of a better word.
  • Eric from Milltown, Inif you go to cliffinourminds.com they have pics of the new memorial stone they placed where cliff died. It says "Cannot The Kingdom of Salvation take me home?" God Rest You Soul Cliff. m/
  • Ftb from Ku, OtherThe middle part of this song is just amazing

    one of the best metallica songs along with Fade to black
  • Stro from Anchorage, AkThe intro lasts about 1 min. And the outro is the exact same as the intro, starting about 9 mins into the song. Giving you the expection that the song will last 10 mins. A 10 min epic, a perfect song; but the song is cut short just the way Cliff's life was. My #1 Metallica song. #2 Fade to Black. #3 Orion (Instrumental).
  • Dev01d from Wollongong, AustraliaAwesome song, one of the best rock instrumentals ever.
  • Scorpion from Las Vegas, NvSecond best metallica song ever....right behind Orion.
  • Josh from Brisbane, AustraliaOne of Metallica's Best. Words somply cant describe how good this song is.
  • Joseph from Marikina, Otherthe line, "when a man lies, he murders some part of the world" is spoken by Merlin in the movie, Excalibur.
  • Carl from Buffalo, NyBest part of this song is when James does the middle part by himself and Kirk comes in with the volume swell, and then James busts into his solo......CLIFF is the best
  • Marcus from Nykoping, Sweden"To live is to die" was not featured on the S&M-concert, and there is no singing in it either. Great song, however, it must quite uniqe, cause it takes them more than seven minutes to get to the lyrics, and after 15 secs, they're back to instrumental!
  • Kyle from Lake Village, InThis is the greatest song ever wrote just like Cliff Burton is the greatest bassist ever WE LOVE U CLIFF
  • Serkan from Ankara, TurkeyDefinitely a masterpiece...
  • Jason from Everywhere, United StatesA great metallica song, along with one of Cliffs last contributions with the band Orion. I consider these as two of the greatest pieces of music ever recorded.
  • Katt from Dallas, TxI work at a station in Dallas and will play this and Orion for my friend Justin Rippy tonight. It's not much, but I remember you. Live on. Tears are falling tonight in Dallas....
  • Ian from Hamilton, CanadaJason did how ever sing back-up in S&m and his preformance did kind of ruin that part of the song for me.
  • Michael from Zurich, SwitzerlandGreat tribute to Cliff. He really deserves respect. *Requiescat In Pace*
  • Adam from Poplar Bluff, MoIn the top 5 of best Metallica songs.
  • Mike from Santa Cruz, CaThis song borrows from spanish operas.
  • Tim from Leuven, Belgiumwhen a man lies he murders some part of the world , these are the pale deaths which men miscall their lives , all this I cannot bear to witness any longer ,cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home

    cliff rules (rip 1986)
  • Hetfield from Manchester, EnglandAmazing son one of the greatest ever writeen by metallica
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