Metallica have been named as one of the recipients of this year’s Polar Music Prize.
Widely regarded as one of the most prestigious honours in music, The Polar Music Prize is an international music prize ‘celebrating the power and importance of music.’
Each year a 12-member Award Committee selects two Laureates, and receiving their award alongside Metallica are The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and its founder and director Dr. Ahmad Sarmast.
Metallica and ANIM will receive their awards at a gala ceremony and banquet at Stockholm’s Grand Hôtel by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on Thursday 14th June.
Live broadcast on Swedish television, each of the two winners will also pocket hefty prize money of one million Swedish Kronor (around £89,500).
Explaining why Metallica are receiving their honour, the Polar Music Prize Committee wrote: “Not since Wagner's emotional turmoil and Tchaikovsky's cannons has anyone created music that is so physical and furious, and yet still so accessible.
“Through virtuoso ensemble playing and its use of extremely accelerated tempos, Metallica has taken rock music to places it had never been before. In Metallica's world, both a teenage bedroom and a concert hall can be transformed into a Valhalla.
“The strength of the band’s uncompromising albums has helped millions of listeners to transform their sense of alienation into a superpower.”
Metallica © Ross Halfin
Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said: “We believe that our two recipients, although from very contrasting worlds, exemplify the mission of the Polar Music Prize, and that is to honour musicians and music organisations, whose work has made a difference to people’s lives.
“Metallica are loved and admired by millions of hard rock fans across the globe. They have led where other bands have followed and their 2017 world tour broke all records.
“Dr Ahmad Sarmast founded the Afghanistan National Institute of Music to restore the joy and power of music to children’s lives. ANIM’s work with young people and disadvantaged children is truly inspirational.”
Metallica now rub shoulders with fellow Polar Music Prize Laureates including Chuck Berry, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ennio Morricone, Sting and Paul McCartney.
Lars Ulrich said: “Receiving the Polar Music Prize is an incredible thing, it puts us in very distinguished company. It’s a great validation of everything that Metallica has done over the last 35 years. At the same time, we feel like we’re in our prime with a lot of good years ahead of us. Thank you very much.”
James Hetfield enthused: “I feel very honoured to be in such great company with the others who have accepted the Polar Music Prize. As myself and as Metallica I’m grateful to have this as part of our legacy, our history. Thank you.”
Also waxing lyrical, Robert Trujillo said: “Receiving the Polar Music Prize is such an honour, especially sharing it with artists (previous Laureates) such as Joni Mitchell, Keith Jarrett and Wayne Shorter, who I admire dearly.
“It’s incredible to be recognised and honoured in this way, to me, it’s very prestigious. Hopefully this will inspire younger generations of musicians to keep the music alive.”
Kirk Hammett adds: “It means a lot to me because we’ve been added to a list of very distinguished artists and musicians who I respect. And to be acknowledged for the work we’ve done. I know how important this is and how much of an honour it is.”
The Polar Music Prize was establishedin 1989 by late ABBA publicist, lyricist and manager Stig Anderson who also co-founded the Swedish record company Polar Music.