Metal Music

When Lady Gaga Joined Forces with Metallica for a Grammy Awards Performance

This memorable moment in Grammy history features James Hetfield of Metallica and pop powerhouse Lady Gaga delivering a stirring rendition of “Moth Into Flame” together. Their dynamic collaboration was a highlight of the 59th Grammy Awards, hosted at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 12, 2017.

The seeds for this remarkable duet were sown at a dinner at Bradley Cooper’s house, where Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich and Lady Gaga found themselves conversing. Ulrich shared, “I was at a dinner party [with Gaga], and we were sitting next to each other… and I thought, ‘This could be amazing.’ So I proposed, ‘We’re set for the Grammys soon, how about joining us?’ and she was thrilled with the idea.” Below is the rehearsal footage for their performance.

Gaga, who openly admires metal music, having been to Iron Maiden and Anthrax concerts and expressing her fondness for Metallica’s ‘Metal Militia’, threw herself into Grammy preparations, even arriving before Metallica to rehearse. Hetfield commended her work ethic on The Howard Stern Show, describing her as “immensely creative and bold.”

Yet, the Grammy performance itself was marred by technical difficulties. The introduction by Laverne Cox omitted Metallica’s mention, for which Cox later apologized. More notably, Hetfield’s microphone malfunctioned right as the performance kicked off, silencing his vocals. Gaga’s swift reaction, sharing her microphone with Hetfield, seamlessly turned the mishap into a poignant shared moment. The full Grammy performance can be viewed here:

Hetfield voiced his frustration about the glitch, saying, “I was mortified. It’s been ages since I was that angry.” Ulrich echoed this sentiment, recalling the initial tension backstage on The Late Late Show. The cause? A stagehand had accidentally disconnected Hetfield’s microphone just as the performance was starting.

Nonetheless, the incident had a silver lining, as Hetfield noted in the New York Post, “It turned out to be a serendipitous twist because it led to me sharing a mic with Lady Gaga, which made it feel even more like a genuine collaboration.”

Despite the setbacks, the resilience and professionalism of Metallica and Lady Gaga shone through, making their Grammy performance an unforgettable melding of rock and pop that still resonates with fans.

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