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James Hetfield celebrates his birthday today (August 3.) While plenty will be paying tribute to him on this day, we thought we’d take a moment to look back on when he paid tribute to Black Sabbath during their 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

With the 2021 Rock Hall induction ceremony just a couple of months away, there will likely be talk of the “best speeches” in the ceremony’s history. There have been plenty of dramatic, bombastic induction speeches, but there’s something incredibly endearing about Hetfield’s speech, which was about half the length of the one Lars Ulrich gave to induct Sabbath.

He was funny, straight-to-the-point and vulnerable. You could tell what he was doing meant the world to him.

When describing himself as a little boy first getting into Sabbath, Hetfield said, “He was drawn to them like a magnet to metal. That’s pretty lame, yes. Okay, I’ll try again. More like a shy boy to his own loud voice. Those monstrous riffs lived inside him and spoke the feelings he could never put into words, sending chills of inspiration through him from those gloomy lyrics and outlaw chords and all. They helped crack the shell he was stuck in. Also, scaring his mom and his sister was an extra bonus.”

Hetfield’s complete remarks can be heard below beginning at the 6:40 mark. (Some NSFW language ahead.)

 

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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.