James Alan Hetfield (born August 3, 1963) is an American musician and songwriter best known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his intricate rhythm playing, but occasionally performs lead guitar duties and solos, both live and in the studio. Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering an advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released ten studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles.
In 2009, Hetfield was ranked at no. 8 in Joel McIver’s book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists and no. 24 by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time. In Guitar World’s poll, Hetfield was placed as the 19th greatest guitarist of all time, as well as being placed second (along with Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett) in The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists poll of the same magazine. Rolling Stone placed Hetfield as the 87th greatest guitarist of all time.