Elton John brought Metallica rocker James Hetfield to tears after he called ‘Nothing Else Matters’ “one of the best songs ever written.”

In a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show alongside Metallica and Miley Cyrus, Elton discussed his cover of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ with Miley, which begins and ends with him playing the piano.

“That idea came from Andrew Watt, who produced the track and played guitar on it,” Elton explained.

“He said, ‘I want you to start the song and finish the song, because I don’t want it to start with the guitar, because that’s how the original record started.”

He continued, “Listen, this is one of the best songs ever written, to me. It’s a song that never gets old. And playing on this track, I just couldn’t wait. The chord structure, the melodies, the time changes, it’s got drama written all over it.”

After hearing this, Hetfield became visibly emotional, putting his hands to his face as he wiped away tears.

Elton continued, “I have to say, it was a no-brainer playing on this song. Metallica are probably the crème de la crème of those kind of bands. You can’t really define them. They’re not a heavy metal band. They’re a musical band. Their songs aren’t just heavy metal. They’re beautiful songs. This is such a melodic song — it’s fucking great, actually.”

Love Metal?

Get the latest Metal news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

In response to Hetfield’s reaction over the meaningful words from the music legend, Lars Ulrich responded, “If you could have said 40 years ago when James and I started … that 40 years later we would still be functioning, we’d be sitting here with one of the greatest stars in the world next to us, with Elton on a Zoom, and doing your radio show, and talking about the accomplishments and what this record means to so many people, that would be the mindfuck of all mindfucks.”

He added, “To be able to hear what you just said, Elton, sitting next to James … the reaction I can feel in his body language when you said it was one of the greatest songs ever written … it’s just incredible to hear.”

Later in the show, Miley performed the lead vocals for the classic Metallica track as Hetfield backed her on vocals.

You can read more about this topic on the Metal Observer.

Check out Elton John discussing Metallica on The Howard Stern Show:

YouTube VideoPlay

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine