Metallica’s Master of Puppets conjures UK Top 40 hit thanks to Stranger Things

1986 song gets first ever UK chart placing after appearing in season finale, reaching No 22

First there was Kate Bush, scoring a No 1 hit with Running Up That Hill 37 years after it was released. Now, the supernatural power of Stranger Things to resurrect old hits continues, giving Metallica their first UK Top 40 hit since 2008.

Like Running Up That Hill, their 1986 song Master of Puppets was used as a key plot point in the Netflix series, featuring in the final episode of the fourth season in an operatically epic scene.

The popularity of the drama – season four became the second Netflix show after Squid Game to notch over a billion hours of views – has brought a new global audience to Metallica’s song, which has been in Spotify’s top 50 most streamed songs ever since, and Apple Music’s top 100.

Streams and downloads have combined to take Master of Puppets to No 22 in the UK singles chart this week, its first ever placing. Metallica’s first hit single in the UK was 1988’s Harvester of Sorrow which reached No 20, and since then they have had 17 other Top 40 hits including four in the Top 10: Enter Sandman, Nothing Else Matters, Until it Sleeps and St Anger. Their albums have hit the Top 40 12 times, with three No 1s: Metallica (1991), Load (1996) and Death Magnetic (2008).

This clip contains spoilers for Stranger Things season four

After Master of Puppets was used in Stranger Things, the band stated: “The way the Duffer brothers have incorporated music into Stranger Things has always been next level, so we were beyond psyched for them to not only include Master of Puppets in the show but to have such a pivotal scene built around it. We were all stoked to see the final result and when we did we were totally blown away.”

When some veteran fans grouched about the influx of new listeners to the band, Metallica wrote on TikTok: “EVERYONE is welcome in the Metallica Family. Whether you’ve been a fan for 40 hours or 40 years, we all share a bond through music. All of you started at ground zero at one point in time.”

Master of Puppets also entered the US Billboard Hot 100 for the first time this week, at No 40.

Elsewhere in the UK singles chart this week, Scottish duo LF System spend a second week atop the singles chart with their disco edit Afraid to Feel, with Harry Styles, George Ezra, Beyoncé and Kate Bush – in her seventh week in the Top 10 – rounding out the top five.

Styles hops back to the top of the album chart after being deposed by Paolo Nutini last week, to score a fifth non-consecutive week at No 1. Nigerian pop star Burna Boy has his highest ever placing on the chart at No 2 with his new album Love, Damini, while his single Last Last rises to No 7 and could soon contend for the top spot with an upcoming remix featuring British rapper Dave.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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