Ride the Lightning is the second studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. The album was released on July 27, 1984, by the independent label Megaforce Records. The album was recorded in three weeks with producer Flemming Rasmussen at the Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. The artwork, based on the band's concept, represents an electric chair in the midst of a thunderstorm. The album title was taken from a passage in Stephen King's novel The Stand. The overall recording cost was paid by Metallica's European label Music for Nations because Megaforce was unable to cover it.
Metallica promoted the album on the Bang That Head That Doesn't Bang European tour in late 1984, and on its North American leg in the first half of 1985. The band performed at a few major music festivals, such as Monsters of Rock and Day on the Green later that year. Two months after its release, Elektra Records signed Metallica to a multi-year contract and reissued the album. Ride the Lightning peaked at number 100 on the Billboard 200 with no radio exposure. Although 75,000 copies were initially pressed for the American market, the album moved half a million by November 1987. It was certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2012 for shipping six million copies in the United States.