Elton John described Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” as “one of the best songs ever written,” a statement which caused James Hetfield to well with tears.

The legendary heavy metal act appeared on The Howard Stern Show to discuss The Metallica Blacklist, a sprawling 53-song release, featuring a multitude of artists covering tracks from Metallica’s 1991 self-titled album (commonly referred to as the Black Album). John covered “Nothing Else Matters” alongside Miley Cyrus for the project, and the iconic singer surprised Metallica via Zoom during their interview with Stern.

“Listen, this is one of the best songs ever written, to me,” John explained of “Nothing Else Matters.” “It’s a song that never gets old. And playing on this track, I just couldn’t wait. The chord structure, the melodies, the time changes, it’s got drama written all over it.”

The Rocket Man further admitted that it was a “no brainer” to cover the track. “Metallica are probably the crème de la crème of those kind of bands,” Elton declared. “You can’t really define them. They’re not a heavy metal band. They’re a musical band. Their songs aren’t just heavy metal. They’re beautiful songs. This is such a melodic song. It’s fucking great, actually.”

Hetfield was visibly moved by John’s words, at one point covering his face. Cameras later caught the frontman with tears in his eyes as he digested Elton’s praise.

Drummer Lars Ulrich did his best to articulate the feelings he and his bandmates felt in that moment. “To be able to hear what you just said, Elton, sitting next to James, who’s been, we’ve been doing this for 40 years together. The reaction that I could feel in his body language when you said it was one of the greatest songs ever written. I know how much that means to [Hetfield]," Ulrich confessed. "This is just incredible to hear.”

Watch Elton John and Metallica on The Howard Stern Show below.

Metallica Albums Ranked

There are moments of indecision when compiling this gallery of Metallica Albums, Ranked Worst to Best. After all, we really could have had – for the first time ever – a three-way tie for first.

More From 107.7 WRKR-FM