On what would have been his 56th birthday, Cliff Burton's life and legacy were celebrated in his hometown of Castro Valley, Calif. Officially declared by the city as Cliff Burton Day, an intimate and heartfelt gathering took place at the Castro Valley School of Music, during which longtime friends, former band members, and fans shared their stories and memories.

Representing the Burton family was Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin, who had known Cliff since they were kids growing up in the San Francisco suburb. After explaining that Cliff's father Ray Burton couldn't be there but that he wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of his heart for being there, Mike was the first to express what everyone who spoke had to say about the late bassist. "He was a great guy. In death sometime people get larger than life, sometimes not rightfully so, it's not that way with Cliff. He was a great guy. He was a smart guy. He had compassion. And in death, he can still be even more revered than he is now. He's a legend now. Those of us that knew him will never get over it."

Longtime friend and Murder in the Front Row co-author Harald Oimoen spoke of how humble Cliff was, telling the crowd about going into a local bar with him during the Master of Puppets era, and how uncomfortable Cliff was with all the attention he was getting. "He didn't like the adulation, he was just the most down to earth guy."

Other speakers included Craig Locicero of Forbidden Evil, longtime photographer and metal historian Brian Lew, and Jim Chen, who along with Ray Burton helped broker the deal with Aria Guitars for the Cliff Burton Pro II signature bass.

Although this was only the first official Cliff Burton Day, it appears that it will now be a long-standing tradition of paying homage to someone who truly touched the lives of so many people.

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