Slipknot’s Corey Taylor calls Enter Sandman “our generation’s Stairway To Heaven”

It was an essential riff to learn when Taylor was starting out playing guitar.

Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor has praised the ubiquity of Metallica‘s Enter Sandman’s main riff in the guitar world, comparing it to how Stairway To Heaven’s intro became a “must-learn” riff.

Taylor was speaking to Knotfest’s Ryan J Downey about Metallica in celebration of the release of The Metallica Blacklist, a 50-plus song covers album featuring everyone from Elton John to Phoebe Bridgers to Taylor himself.

Taylor explained: “One of the first songs I ever learned how to play on guitar was Enter Sandman, because that was kind of our generation’s Stairway To Heaven or Smoke on the Water. It’s one of those riffs in that… I like to call it the Guitar Center virus. Anybody who comes into a Guitar Center is either playing Sandman, Crazy Train, Smoke On The Water or Stairway or Whole Lotta Love.”


He described Enter Sandman as one of these “gateway riffs where you go, ‘Oh, I figured it out.’”

Taylor also stated that Metallica riffs became “a language that you could speak to other musicians when you’re jamming for the first time. If you kicked into Blitzkrieg or something, or if you kicked into Ride The Lightning, and they kicked in with you, you knew you were off to the races, because you don’t just learn that riff, you learned the whole tune and you just go for it.”

“It was almost like an initiation in a weird way; you knew how to do it. So I played Metallica in almost every band that I’ve been in; it’s always just been there. I mean, from my first sort-of-real band Criminal Mischief all the way up to my solo band.”

For The Metallica Blacklist, Taylor picked his cover to be the track Holier Than Thou. In total, the new album features 53 tracks, with names such as Mac DeMarco, Weezer, Sam Fender, The Chats and Miley Cyrus all picking a song to cover. Taylor’s version of the track is below.

The Metallica Blacklist’s full tracklist:

  1. Enter Sandman – Alessia Cara & The Warning
  2. Enter Sandman – Mac DeMarco
  3. Enter Sandman – Ghost
  4. Enter Sandman – Juanes
  5. Enter Sandman – Rina Sawayama
  6. Enter Sandman – Weezer
  7. Sad But True (Live) – Sam Fender
  8. Sad But True – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  9. Sad But True – Mexican Institute of Sound feat. La Perla & Gera MX
  10. Sad But True – Royal Blood
  11. Sad But True – St. Vincent
  12. Sad But True – White Reaper
  13. Sad But True – YB
  14. Holier Than Thou – Biffy Clyro
  15. Holier Than Thou – The Chats
  16. Holier Than Thou – OFF!
  17. Holier Than Thou – PUP
  18. Holier Than Thou – Corey Taylor
  19. The Unforgiven – Cage The Elephant
  20. The Unforgiven – Vishal Dadlani, DIVINE, Shor Police
  21. The Unforgiven – Diet Cig
  22. The Unforgiven – Flatbush Zombies feat. DJ Scratch
  23. The Unforgiven – Ha*Ash
  24. The Unforgiven – José Madero
  25. The Unforgiven – Moses Sumney
  26. Wherever I May Roam – J Balvin
  27. Wherever I May Roam – Chase & Status feat. BackRoad Gee
  28. Wherever I May Roam – The Neptunes
  29. Wherever I May Roam – Jon Pardi
  30. Don’t Tread on Else Matters – SebastiAn
  31. Don’t Tread on Me – Portugal. The Man
  32. Don’t Tread on Me – Volbeat
  33. Through the Never – The HU
  34. Through the Never – Tomi Owó
  35. Nothing Else Matters – Phoebe Bridgers
  36. Nothing Else Matters – Miley Cyrus feat. WATT, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Trujillo, Chad Smith
  37. Nothing Else Matters – Dave Gahan
  38. Nothing Else Matters – Mickey Guyton
  39. Nothing Else Matters – Dermot Kennedy
  40. Nothing Else Matters – Mon Laferte
  41. Nothing Else Matters – Igor Levit
  42. Nothing Else Matters – My Morning Jacket
  43. Nothing Else Matters – PG Roxette
  44. Nothing Else Matters – Darius Rucker
  45. Nothing Else Matters – Chris Stapleton
  46. Nothing Else Matters – TRESOR
  47. Of Wolf and Man – Goodnight, Texas
  48. The God That Failed – IDLES
  49. The God That Failed – Imelda May
  50. My Friend of Misery – Cherry Glazerr
  51. My Friend of Misery – Izïa
  52. My Friend of Misery – Kamasi Washington
  53. The Struggle Within – Rodrigo y Gabriela