Metallica's Cliff Burton inspired by cop show Barney Miller

A picture of Cliff Burton with Metallica in 1986
Cliff Burton, left, with Metallica in 1986 (Image credit: Getty)

Cliff Burton was inspired to take up the bass guitar by the theme music for comedy cop show Barney Miller, his father Ray has revealed.

On the 30th anniversary of Burton’s death in a tour bus accident at the age 24, Cliff’s family have set up a Facebook page where fans can pay tribute to the late Metallica bassist.

And his father Ray has recorded a video remembering his son’s early path in to music.

The death of his brother Scott led Cliff to learn a musical instrument and it was the Barney Miller music that got him hooked on the bass.

Ray Burton says: “Cliff’s older brother Scott, who was 16 at the time, died of a brain aneurysm. Shortly after Scott died, Cliff came to his mother and me and asked if he could take up playing the bass guitar.

“The reason he liked the bass guitar was the Barney Miller show, a comedy cop show, which started off with a bass solo. And Cliff just loved that bass solo and he wanted to get the same sound that was in that show.”

Ray also discusses how Cliff became friends with Mike Bordin, who would go on to play drums with Faith No More.

The accident which claimed Burton’s life took place in Sweden on September 27, 1986.

Metallica’s first managers Jon and Marsha Zazula remember the young bassist in a feature published by TeamRock today.

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Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.