Metallica - Enter Sandman - Meaning of the song
The song marked a shift from Metallica away from the more complex tracks with multiple time signatures that were in play on their previous album, ...And Justice For All. In an effort to build "shorter, to-the-point" songs, they used just two riffs on the track and based the rest of the song off those. The result was a straightforward hard rock song that helped seal the coffin on hair metal.
James Hetfield's original lyric was about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Crib Death), when a baby dies inexplicably in its crib. The line, "Off to never never land" was, "Disrupt the perfect family," and the "sandman" kills the baby. Pretty gruesome stuff, so their producer Bob Rock convinced him to change it to make it more accessible and meaningful. The band had a policy of not commenting on each other's individual contributions, but Rock was an outsider and felt free to speak up. To his surprise, Hetfield took it well and altered the lyric accordingly. Hetfield explains:
"I wanted more of the mental thing where this kid gets manipulated by what adults say. And you know when you wake up with that s--t in your eye? That's supposedly been put in there by the sandman to make you dream. So the guy in the song tells this little kid that and he kinda freaks. He can't sleep after that and it works the opposite way. Instead of a soothing thing, the table's turned."
Enter sadman - Lyrics
Say your prayers, little one Don't forget, my son To include everyone I tuck you in, warm within Keep you free from sin Till the Sandman he comes Sleep with one eye open Gripping your pillow tight Exit light Enter night Take my hand We're off to Never—, Neverland Something's wrong, shut the light Heavy thoughts tonight And they aren't of Snow White Dreams of war, dreams of liars Dreams of dragon's fire And of things that will bite Sleep with one eye open Gripping your pillow tight Exit light Enter night Take my hand We're off to Never—, Neverland Now I lay me down to sleep Pray the Lord my soul to keep If I die before I wake Pray the Lord my soul to take Hush little baby, don't say a word And never mind that noise you heard It's just the beasts under your bed In your closet, in your head Exit light Enter night Grain of sand Exit light Enter night Take my hand We're off to Never—, Neverland We're off to Never—, Neverland Take my hand We're off to Never—, Neverland Take my hand We're off to Never—, Neverland We're off to Never—, Neverland We're off to Never—, Neverland We're off to Never—, Neverland