Metallica have been using Italian film composer Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" as their concert intro music since 1983, an ongoing indication of the movie maestro's significant influence on the veteran metalheads. On Monday (July 6), Morricone died in Rome at the age of 91.

The composer's death — which came after Morricone fell and fractured his femur last week — was confirmed by his lawyer, as The New York Times reported. In his lifetime, the orchestrator scored more than 500 movies, including Western classics The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars.

It's from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly that "The Ecstasy of Gold" originates. The selection crops up on live Metallica albums such as 1993's Live Shit: Binge & Purge and 1999's S&M. Metallica even recorded a metal version of the tune for a 2007 tribute album called We All Love Ennio Morricone.

The band's James Hetfield first brought Morricone's influence to Metallica, according to the 2011 illustrated discography book Metallica: The Music and the Mayhem. To wit, the country-tinged sounds of Load's "Mama Said" were ostensibly spurred by the act's reverence for the composer.

But Metallica aren't the only rockers who have a love for Morricone. Danzig and Misfits' frontman Glenn Danzig, who recently completed a "vampire spaghetti Western," has said his soundtrack for the film "sounds almost exactly like an Ennio Morricone soundtrack," per a quote covered by Blabbermouth.

Morricone also conducted the music for films such as The Thing (1982), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), In the Line of Fire (1993), Days of Heaven (1978) and The Untouchables (1987). In 2016, the composer won his first Academy Award for his work on Quentin Tarantino's Western thriller The Hateful Eight.

Morricone was born in Rome in 1928, and he was writing his first compositions by the age of six, as Rolling Stone pointed out. In addition to the voluminous scoring work that emerged later in his life, he was also a trumpet player who received a musical education from the National Academy of Santa Cecilia.

Several rock and metal musicians have mourned Morricone's death since the news emerged early Monday. Metallica also shared a statement regarding the composer's passing. See those messages below.


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