Metallica Honor Late Musician Hal Willner: ‘A Truly Inspirational Collaborator’

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Jon Blistein
·3 min read
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Metallica remembered late producer, writer and composer Hal Willner as “a truly inspirational collaborator” and recalled working with him on their 2011 album with Lou Reed, Lulu.

Willner died Monday at the age of 64, and while a cause of death has yet to be confirmed, he was reportedly suffering from symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.

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In a post on Instagram, Metallica described Willner as “someone who through his unique combination of musical knowledge and warm personality, invigorated every project he touched.”

Willner amassed a one-of-a-kind resume over the course of his career: He was a long-time Saturday Night Live staffer in the music department and produced eccentric all-star tribute albums — as well as records by artists like Reed, Marianne Faithfull and Laurie Anderson.

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Willner’s connection to Reed brought him into Metallica’s orbit when they collaborated on Lulu. While the album has certainly had its critics, Metallica said, “Hal expertly helped guide us all to a project we loved, and remain fiercely proud of, to this day.”

Drummer Lars Ulrich shared an additional statement, saying, “I will always treasure the time I spent with Hal in those most inspiring and collaborative environments. He was such a warm, open, and communicative person, and as Lou’s right-hand man, he was absolutely essential in pushing Lulu forward. I’ll never forget him, and I know I speak for the entire Metallica family when I say he will be greatly missed.”

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