“The Memory Remains” is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, with British singer Marianne Faithfull on backing vocals.
The lead single from Metallica’s seventh studio album, Reload, released in 1997, it was first performed live in a “jam” version on July 2, 1996. Faithfull was brought in, as James Hetfield felt her “weathered, smellin’-the-cigarettes-on-the-CD voice” fit what he described as “the whole eeriness of the Sunset Boulevard-feel of the song”, given the lyrics tell the story of a faded artist who goes insane from losing her fame.
The spoken words “Say yes, at least say hello”, during the outro, are a reference to The Misfits, the last complete movie in which Marilyn Monroe starred.
The song was written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. It can be heard playing in the strip club Bada Bing! in the episode of The Sopranos, “The Knight in White Satin Armor”. It is also used as one of the theme songs for WrestleMania XXVIII.
Asked if he would have bought Reload, bassist Jason Newsted said, “Not if I heard ‘The Memory Remains’ first.”
Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, “Rock radio is already way hip to this smokin’ jam from the band’s new album, “Re-load”. The time has come for popsters to climb aboard and join the fun.
With its grinding, slow groove and winding melody, “The Memory Remains” has the traditional song structure and crisp production needed to attract listeners who don’t usually indulge in such guitar-heavy fare. In fact, this song has the potential to draw a pile of new people into the band’s already massive legion of fans.”
If someone hadn’t started the clapping, the crowd would still be singing, no joke.