James Alan Hetfield is the main songwriter, co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and lyricist for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his rhythm playing, but has also performed occasional lead guitar duties both in the studio and live.
Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering a classified advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released nine studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles. In 2009, Hetfield was ranked number 8 in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists, and ranked 24th 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 2nd in The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists poll of the same magazine, only behind Tony Iommi. Rolling Stone placed Hetfield as the 87th greatest guitarist of all time.