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Megadeth Biography


Home > Music > M > Megadeth > Biography


Birth Place: Los Angeles, California
Years Active: 1983–2002, 2004–present
Genres: Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Hard Rock Speed Metal


Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Founded by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson, the group was formed in 1983 following Mustaine's expulsion from Metallica. Megadeth is known for its distinctive, technical instrumental style, often featuring dense, intricate passages and trade off guitar solos, as well as for Mustaine's recurring lyrical themes including politics, war, addiction, personal relationships and religious themes. Megadeth has experienced numerous line-up changes, and there have been over 20 individuals that have all officially been a part of the group at different times, with Mustaine and Ellefson being the only original members still in the line-up, with Ellefson leaving temporarily.

After he was fired from Metallica in 1983, Mustaine formed Megadeth along with Ellefson, guitarist Greg Handevidt and drummer Dijon Carruthers. The band toured and gained a following, signing with the independent label Combat Records in late 1984.

Megadeth's debut album, 1985’s “Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!,” sold very well for an independent release, and the group attracted the attention of major record labels. By the end of the year, the group signed with Capitol Records. Megadeth's first major-label album, “Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?,” was released in 1986.

“So Far, So Good... So What!” was released in early 1988 and Megadeth's fourth album, “Rust in Peace,” was released in late 1990. Megadeth's most commercially successful album, 1992’s “Countdown to Extinction,” peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, and was the band's first record to be certified platinum by the RIAA. The album featured Megadeth's biggest hit single “Symphony of Destruction,” which peaked at #71 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

1994’s “Youthanasia” peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200, and like its predecessor, was certified platinum by the RIAA. The singles “Train of Consequences” and “À Tout le Monde,” reached the Top 30 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart.

The following year Megadeth released “Hidden Treasures,” an EP that featured previously released non-album tracks, including soundtrack and compilation songs. 1997’s “Cryptic Writing s” peaked at #10 on the Billboard 200, and became the group's sixth consecutive studio album to be certified gold in the U.S. The release scored the band's highest-charting single to date, “Trust,” which peaked at #5 on the Mainstream Rock Songs charet.

The following year, “Risk” was released, and was a critical and commercial failure. After signing with Sanctuary Records, the group released “The World Needs a Hero” in 2001. In early 2002, Mustaine suffered several injuries, which led him to announce in a press release that Megadeth had disbanded.

In 2004, Megadeth reunited, and released “The System Has Failed.” Although intended to be a solo album by Mustaine, outstanding contractual obligations with the band's European label EMI forced him to release one more album under the Megadeth name.

2007’s “United Abominations” reached #8 on the Billboard 200 and 2009’s “Endgame” peaked at #9 the Billboard 200.