More than just an exceptional bassist, Cliff Burton was a phenomenal songwriter who played a crucial role in shaping the sound of Metallica's first three records. One of his most standout achievements was the writing he contributed to "For Whom the Bell Tolls," a highlight of Metallica's 1984 thrash-terpiece, Ride the Lightning.
Real 'Tallica heads may know that Burton wrote part of that song years before he ever joined Metallica, and in a video that's now resurfaced on YouTube, the bassist can be seen jamming the iconic intro lick with one of his pre-Metallica bands, Agents of Misfortune.
The video was captured at a battle of the bands that Agents of Misfortune were playing in 1981, where they caused an enormous racket while rocking out on what appears to be a VFW hall floor. Notably, one of Burton's bandmates was Jim Martin, who'd go on to join alt-metal institution Faith No More in the early 90s.
Clearly, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" came a long way since this early iteration, and Metallica's version is infinitely better. But it's fascinating to see Burton's draft version of that timeless metal gem. Watch Agents of Misfortune's performance above via YouTube, and skip to the 11:20 mark to see the "For Whom the Bell Tolls" part.