If anyone thought it was a fluke when Metallica debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in June 1996 with Load, that thought was completely dispelled when they did it again just 18 months later. On 6 December 1997, Reload made the band album chart champions again.
The rock heroes had been mining multi-platinum for fun in the run-up to the album release. In November, Metallica had been certified ten-times platinum, And Justice For All six times and Master Of Puppets, Ride The Lightning and Load four times each. That amounted to an incredible 28 million shipments for those five albums from their catalogue in America alone, and Reload kept the run going. Within six days of its release, the RIAA had certified the new album double platinum for two million US shipments.
The album, billed very much as the “second half” of its predecessor and again produced with Bob Rock, had been previewed by the release of the single ‘The Memory Remains,’ Metallica’s collaboration with Marianne Faithfull, who featured on backing vocals. The band did some interesting and unusual promotion to set up the release of this new, seventh studio set. On 11 November, they played a free concert, The Million Decibel March, for 40,000 fans at the CoreStates Center Complex in Philadelphia.
Two days later, after hopping the Atlantic, they were playing another free show, at Ministry Of Sound in London. On the day that the album made its spectacular chart debut, the band guested on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Metallica were on the march again.
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