Megadeth began life with one goal. To be become better than Metallica. As band founder, vocalist, and guitarist Dave Mustaine put it, "I wanted to be heavier and faster than them." Mustaine formed the band in 1983 with bassist Dave Ellefson, and in 1984 the band recorded their first demo.
In 1986 Megadeth completed their second studio album for Combat entitled Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? The album was positively received by critics and allowed for the band to be signed to Capitol Records. Today the album is considered a thrash classic and has been certified platinum by the RIAA in the United States.
By the time 1987 rolled around Megadeth were a band in turmoil. The drug habits of Poland and Samuleson had led to them being kicked out of the band. Chuck Behler took over for Samuelson while Poland's replacement on guitar, Jay Reynolds, was replaced during the recording of Megadeth's third album by his guitar teacher Jeff Young.
In early 1988 the band released their third studio effort entitled So Far, So Good... So What! The album was not as well received by critics as the band's previous efforts, however, the album is certified platinum in the U.S. for sales over 1 million. So Far, So Good... So What! also contains two Megadeth songs that have long been considered fan favorites; "In My Darkest Hour,"Mustaine's tribute to late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, and "Set The World Afire," a song about nuclear annihilation.
After the world tour supporting So Far, So Good... So What! both Behler and Young were fired from Megadeth. Their replacements were Behler's drum tech Nick Menza and ex-Cacophony guitarist Marty Friedman. In early 1990 the band recorded their fourth album, Rust In Peace. The album was both a critical and commercial success and featured the hits "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due," and "Hangar 18." The album would become Megadeth's third straight album to be certified platinum.
In late 1990 Megadeth would embark on a tour called "Clash of the Titans" with fellow big four acts Slayer and Anthrax, as well as thrash legends Testament. The next year their song "Go To Hell" would be featured in the movie Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.
Following the success of Rust in Peace, in 1992 Megadeth released their fifth album Countdown To Extinction. The album featured a more streamlined sound, not unlike what Metallica had done the year before with their self-titled album. Countdown debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and spawned three rock radio hits, "Sweating Bullets", "Foreclosure of a Dream", and "Symphony of Destruction." To date the album is Megadeth's best selling and is certified double platinum in America.
In 1994 Megadeth released Youthanasia. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 and would become Megadeth's fifth consecutive album to go platinum. The album would also yield two hit singles in "Train of Consequences" and "A Tout le Monde."
As the 1990's progressed and metal began to fall from the mainstream, Megadeth began to go for a different sound on their next two albums. 1997's Cryptic Writings was a more hard rock oriented album that unleashed the hits "Trust", "Almost Honest", "Use The Man", and "A Secret Place" and 1999's Risk was just that, a risk. It was an almost pop album that was not well-recieved by both critics and Megadeth fans alike. Following Cryptic Writings, long-time drummer Nick Menza was let go and replaced by Jimmy DeGrasso and after Risk Marty Friedman decided to quit the band.
After the 2001 release of The World Needs A Hero Dave Mustaine entered rehab. While there he injured his arm so badly that he was told that he would never play guitar again. Mustaine disbanded the band and focused on trying to re-learn how to play the guitar.
In 2004 Mustaine re-formed Megadeth, albeit without longtime bassist Dave Ellefson. The band once again became popular following the critically acclaimed releases of their next three albums; The System Has Failed, United Abominations, and Endgame. Following the release of Endgame, Ellefson decided to re-join the band. To date, Megadeth has sold over 25 million albums and is currently touring with Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax on the Big Four tour. The band are often cited as one of the most influential metal acts of all time and Dave Mustaine is frequently mentioned with the top metal guitar players of all time.