Flemming Rasmussen has always been credited as one of the best producers in the industry. In a recent Interview, he discussed “Escape” off of “Ride the Lightning” in a new interview, claiming the song the only track Metallica ever recorded to please anyone other than themselves.
Flemming said on Rock Talk (transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar):
Was there any trepidation from the band that maybe the fans would abandon them or, ‘Uh-oh, what are we doing? Slowing stuff down?’
“No, not at all. I think they had pretty big confidence in their songwriting and the songs they were doing. The only thing on ‘Ride the Lightning’ was that they did a pretty short song that they more or less did so that they had like a single.
“It’s ‘Trapped Under Ice.’ [it’s actually ‘Escape,’ as the interviewer pointed out] That’s one song, their first one on side two, that was more or less kind of… I can’t remember what it was. But this one song that they kind of felt that they were maybe selling out a bit.
“But they were on that Megaforce label and they desperately wanted to go on a major label. So it was kind of their way of pleasing a major label without knowing what they really wanted since they didn’t have anybody to play the ball.
“But that’s the only time we kind of talked – ‘Is this too short? Too poppy? Too whatever…’ That’s the only thing where they ever questioned, ‘Are we gonna do the song or not?’ I think we ended up doing it.”
“That was more or less written to please a future major record label so they could put out a single and maybe try to get some attention.
“But what happened then was – once they got that major deal [it was] because the album sold pretty well and that was mainly because of ‘Ride the Lightning’ and ‘Creeping Death’ and songs like that. After that they went, ‘We’re never gonna try to please anybody else but ourselves.’
“This was in the beginning of their career and I think they probably wanted to have it in case they wanted to play it to a major label. And if they said there’s not single they could say, ‘Well, you could release this as a single because it’s the shortest song on the album.’
“And we were actually talking about that one whether we should do it or not, and then we ended up doing it. And that’s probably why they never played it live.” [Laughs]