The drummer recalls missing out at the awards ceremony in 1989
The rock group were nominated in the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category that year for the album ‘…And Justice For All’ and were favourites to win. After Metallica had performed ‘One’, however, it was announced that the award had actually gone to Jethro Tull.
“When Jethro Tull was announced, it sort of reiterated what everybody had thought all along,” said Ulrich. “It was the thought that the Grammys were out of whack with what was current, that it was still sort of a few years behind the curve in terms of what was really going on in the music world, rather than what was going on within the Recording Academy.”
“This is how fucked up it was,” he continued. “The record company had already made 10,000 onesheets to put in record stores that said [‘…Justice…’ was a] ‘Grammy Award Winner’. So we said ‘Why don’t we just put a sticker on them that says, ‘Grammy Award Loser”?”
Speaking about the night’s actual victors Jethro Tull, Ulrich said: “I don’t think I’ve ever met [frontman] Ian Anderson. The other day, I was listening to one of their songs. I was telling my 15-year-old son, ‘These are the guys that won the Grammy the first year’. Those were crazy days.”
Metallica performed ‘One’ at this year’s Grammys (January 26) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their first appearance at the awards. They were joined by classical pianist Lang Lang for the performance.