“Enter Sandman” is one of Metallica’s most popular and enduring songs in their catalog. (Fun fact: It’s the band’s sixth most-performed song in Metallica history. As of publishing, the track has appeared on Metallica’s setlists 1,404 times.)

It’s one of Metallica’s most commercially successful songs, peaking at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It’s the top song listed on Metallica’s artist page on Apple Music and Spotify. Additionally, it’s been covered by a slew of major artists, including Motorhead, Weezer, Ghost, Juanes, Rina Sawayama and, inexplicably, Pat Boone.

As if that’s not enough, “Enter Sandman” has received numerous honors. It was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 34th Grammy Awards. (It ended up losing that Grammy to Sting’s “The Soul Cages.” This, of course, proves the Recording Academy’s hard rock/metal blindspot.) The track has also been included on many “Best Songs” lists. It came in at 408 on Rolling Stone‘s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.  “Enter Sandman” has been featured on several VH1 lists, including “40 Greatest Metal Songs of All Time” (22), “100 Greatest Songs of the ’90s” (18) and the 2003 list “The 100 Greatest Songs from the Past 25 Years” (88).

RELATED: Metallica: All Songs Ranked Worst to Best

With all of this in mind, how come some of Metallica’s members and people in their orbit didn’t like the song initially?

 

In recent years, stories have emerged of key Metallica figures talking about not really liking the song in its early stages. It’s truly a strange phenomenon, especially considering the longevity of “Enter Sandman.” Seriously, this is a song that refuses to die. If we’re being honest, it’s going to outlive us all.

Below are four instances of notable people talking about their mixed feelings about “Enter Sandman.” Get ready to be befuddled!

  • James Hetfield

    The latest revelation about “Enter Sandman” came from Papa Het himself! He shared via Metallica’s Masterclass saying, “I didn’t think ‘Enter Sandman’ was such a great song.” Hetfield added, “I think Lars [Ulrich] and [producer] Bob Rock said, ‘Go back. I challenge you to go back and work on it.'”

  • Bob Rock

    Speaking of the iconic producer, he said in an interview with GibsonTV in March 2020, “I remember Lars [Ulrich] saying, ‘Well, Sandman is the single.’ And I’m going, ‘What?’ To me it was like, I didn’t get it yet.” Rock defends his then-reasoning saying that all of the lyrics weren’t done yet. His choice to be the lead single off of “The Black Album”? “Holier Than Thou.” (Yes, really!)

  • Jason Newsted

    Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted recalled in an April 2022 interview with Metal Hammer not being very impressed with “Enter Sandman” at first. Newsted said he “struggled” with the song, noting, “I knew it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up … ‘Sandman’ I thought was kinda corny, honestly.”

  • Mariano Rivera

    Okay, so the legendary New York Yankees closer isn’t technically part of the Metallica camp, but this one bears mentioning. For years, Rivera famously would jog from the bullpen to the pitcher’s mound while “Enter Sandman” played.

    There’s one problem, though: Rivera doesn’t like Metallica.

    He told MLB Network in January 2019, “With all due respect to the guys, I’ve never been to one of them. As a Christian, with all due respect to Metallica, I don’t listen to that kind of music.”

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