Source: Metal Wani
Cliff Burton‘s father Ray Burton talked about what got this son into playing bass, saying on Alphabetallica:
“When Cliff was 13, Scott – his older brother – died of a cerebral hemorrhage when he was 16.
“Shortly after Scott died Cliff came to his mother and me and said, ‘Mom and dad, I’d like to learn the bass guitar.’ This police comedy [show] that was on at that time, ‘Barney Miller,’ and they started out with a really great bass solo.
“I don’t know how many notes, probably a couple of bars, maybe more. But Cliff just loved it and he wanted to learn to play the bass so he could sound like that music on ‘Barney Miller.’
“That’s where it all started and we got a cheap bass and a cheap amplifier, and it was all uphill from there.”
Focusing on bass lessons that ensued, Ray added:
“[Cliff’s mother] Jen and I gave him guitar lessons from three different instructors.
“The first one lasted only about three months, and he came to us and said, ‘Mom and dad, don’t waste your money anymore, I’m going to quit this guy, he’s not teaching me anything.’
“Same thing with the second one.
“But the third kid, out of the Castro Valley, his name was Steve… God, I can never remember… Steve Doherty!
“He taught him about Bach, classical music, and Cliff just absolutely ate that up. He just thought that Johann Sebastian Bach was God! That kind of baroque music was predecessor of heavy metal. It’s kind of wild, but at the same time very controlled.”