42. Cliff Burton memorial – Ace of spades



It was 1986 when the still quite unknown band Metallica passed by in their tour bus on their way from Stockholm to Copenhagen. When it was time to sleep, two of the members of the band, the bassist Cliff Burton and the guitarist Kirk Hammet, wanted the best sleeping spot, by the window. A set of playing cards was taken and the winner would be whoever draw the highest card. Cliff Burton drew the ace of spades and won. But it would turn out that he, in fact, lost.

Around dawn, the bus suddenly skidded. It drove of the road and overturned several times. A sleeping Cliff Burton was thrown out of the side window from his sleeping place and got the vehicle over him. It was probably an immediate death. Others on the bus escaped with minor injuries. The accident occurred near the small town Dörarp, between Ljungby and Värnamo.
Even though he was only 26 years old and only been in the band for a short time, fans of Metallica will never forget bassist Cliff Burton. He is considered to have been of great importance for the band´s development and success, even though he himself never got to reach the top.

For thousands of years, people have talked about how fate seems to govern our lives and how happiness turns into misfortune, or vice versa.
The playing card ace of spades has often been associated with difficulties and problems. It is also called the card of death.
During World War II, the symbol was painted on the helmets of some soldiers to instill courage and to give success. During the Vietnam War, the card and the symbol were used among American soldiers with the purpose to intimidate the enemies by making the card a symbol of death, humiliation and suffering. The ace of spades was painted on the helmets, and they also put ace of spade on the dead bodies of the enemy. It is said that the Vietnamese were more afraid of ace of spades, than of American bombs.
The symbolism around ace of spades became known far beyond military contexts through the movie Apocalyps Now (1979) and the myths around the symbol attracted rock musicians from the early beginning, and especially hard rockers.

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