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Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Covers 100-Year Old Song for Unusual Compilation Album

Kirk Hammett
Carlos Alvarez, Getty Images

What does Metallica‘s Kirk Hammett have in common with preeminent pop parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic? Not much, perhaps, but they both appear on the most unusual compilation album of this (or maybe any) year.

The record in question, titled ‘The Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music: Daisy Bell,’ rounds up an eclectic grab bag of artists — including Hammett and Yankovic, as well as Tyler the Creator, Nick Cave, Katy Perry, Devo‘s Mark Mothersbaugh, and ex-Oingo Boingo mastermind Danny Elfman — all of whom contribute covers of the same song, the 19th century pop standard ‘Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two).’

Penned in 1892 by English songwriter Harry Dacre, ‘Daisy Bell’ reached popularity through live performances by Katie Lawrence and Jennie Lindsay; in 1893, singer Dan W. Quinn took it to the top of the charts for nine weeks with the first of numerous hit recordings. It’s since become part of the cultural lexicon, being covered by everyone from Alvin and the Chipmunks to Blur — and as film fans no doubt recall, it was the song HAL performed during its deactivation in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’

Printed in an extremely limited run of 999 hand-numbered and signed copies on 180g red vinyl, the ‘Daisy Bell’ LP is the brainchild of artist Mark Ryden, whose work is familiar to pop and rock fans through his cover paintings for artists such as Michael Jackson (1991’s ‘Dangerous’) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (1995’s ‘One Hot Minute’). If you know Ryden’s aesthetic, this record fits right in — and in fact, its release was timed to the May 3 opening of his new ‘Gay ’90s’ exhibit at the Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles.

But far from being just a weird, expensive curio, the album is a fundraiser for the music education nonprofit Little Kids Rock, who stand to gain somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 from the proceeds. Half of the copies were earmarked for the ‘Gay ’90s’ opening at the Kohn (a gallery spokesperson said they expected it to sell out in “about five minutes”), but if you’re interested in getting one for yourself, the other half are scheduled to go on sale at Ryden’s website on May 13.

Next: Top 10 Metallica Songs

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