For the second time since the release of “Stranger Things” season four, downloads of a 1980s song that was used on the show's soundtrack soared. Read on to learn more about the hit, and how it ties into the plot of this popular Netflix NFLX series.
What Happened: “Stranger Things” released the second part of its fourth season on July 1. Viewers of the final two episodes were treated to a performance of a classic song from one of the most well-known bands in the metal genre.
“The most metal concert ever” was performed by the character Eddie Munson in an effort to take on the evil Vecna. Munson, played by actor Joseph Quinn, unleashes “Master of Puppets” by Metallica. As Munson strums on his guitar, the man-eating bats that surround Vecna’s lair are driven away. That leaves an opening for the show's other characters — Steve, Nancy and Robin — to attack Vecna.
The song comes from the 1986 Metallica album of the same name — the third studio release from the band. The album was released by Elektra, a record label now owned by Warner Music Group WMG.
Matt and Ross Duffer, executive producers of “Stranger Things,” wrote the song into the script during pre-production.
“It was another one of those ‘it has to be this song’ moments,” music supervisor Nora Felder said. “This part of the story was anticipated to be a pivotal and especially hair-raising scene in which Eddie heroically stood tall for the fight of his life.”
No other song was discussed and “Master of Puppets” was preferred from the start, Felder added.
“Stranger Things” got permission from Metallica after sharing what the scene would look like and how the song would be used.
“I got in touch with Metallica’s management office and carefully went over the scene and what the intent would be," Felder said.
Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo shared that his 17-year-old son Tye Trujillo and Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett helped provide new guitar parts for the song specific to the show.
Why It’s Important: Metallica's rocketing up the singles charts follows a resurgence in popularity of another 1980s hit — 1985's “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush. The Bush single was featured in a pivotal moment of the most recent season and later topped the charts for the first time in Bush’s musical career.
This wasn’t the first time a Metallica song was used in “Stranger Things.” Recall season two, which featured the song “The Four Horsemen," a track on the band's 1983 debut album, "Kill 'Em All."
The use of “Master of Puppets” led to the song ranking 12th on the top 50 songs chart on Spotify Technology SPOT, which Movieweb noted was fairly significant given the song's long run time of 8:30 plus minutes.
The song hit the number one position on the iTunes rock chart from the Apple Inc. AAPL music store, according to The New York Post. The song ranks 29th overall on the iTunes singles chart.
“Master of Puppets” was the lone single off of the album of the same name in 1986 and has gone on to be a fan favorite.
The album was also the last to feature Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, who later died in a vehicle accident. The song was said to be Burton’s favorite off of the album.
Metallica recently closed one of their live shows with “Master of Puppets” for the first time in over 25 years.
In 2021, Metallica redid their song “Nothing Else Matters” to be featured in the Walt Disney Company DIS movie “Jungle Cruise.”
Songs featured in shows and movies often see an increase in popularity. Since “Stranger Things” has had a major impact on music downloading and streaming, the show's next season may attract musicians and music labels begging for their songs to be included.
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