Manic Street Preachers Overview

Manic Street Preachers (often referred to as the Manics) are an alternative rock band from Blackwood Blackwood, Caerphilly , Wales, formed in 1986. They are James Dean Bradfield (vocals, guitars), Nicky Wire (bass, occasional vocals) and Sean Moore Sean Moore (musician) (drums, backing vocals, occasional trumpet). The band is part of the Cardiff music scene, most prominently during the 1990s.

The band were originally a quartet: lyricist and rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards mysteriously vanished on 1 February 1995. In November 2008, 13 years after his disappearance, he was officially declared presumed deceased.

The Manics released their debut album Generation Terrorists in 1992. Their combination of androgynous Androgyny glam punk imagery, outspoken
invective and songs about "culture, alienation, boredom and despair" soon gained them a loyal following and cult status. The band's later albums retained a politicized and intellectual lyrical style, while adopting a broader alternative rock sound. Enigmatic lyricist Richey Edwards gained early notoriety by carving the words "4 REAL" into his arm with a razor blade (narrowly missing an artery and requiring seventeen stitches) in response to the suggestion that the band were less than authentic. The dark nature of 1994's The Holy Bible The Holy Bible (album) reflected the culmination of Edwards' instability.

Following Edwards' disappearance, Bradfield, Moore, and Wire persisted with the Manic Street Preachers and went on to gain critical and commercial success, becoming one of Britain's premier rock bands. They have had eight top ten albums and fifteen top ten singles. They have reached number one three times, with their 1998 album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours and the singles "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" (1998) and "The Masses Against The Classes" (2000). They have also won the Best British Album and Best British Group accolades at the BRIT Awards in 1997 and 1999, and were lauded by the NME for their lifetime achievements in 2008. Their ninth studio album, Journal For Plague Lovers, was released on 18 May 2009 and features lyrics Edwards had left behind to the band weeks before his disappearance."


 
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Formation and early years (1986–1991)

The band was formed in 1986 in Oakdale Comprehensive School. During this time, Bradfield had tried writing lyrics, but this later changed and Wire wrote all their earliest lyrics. Flicker left the band in early 1988, reportedly because he believed that the band were moving away from their punk roots. The band continued as a three-piece, with Nicky switching from guitar to bass guitar, and in 1989 they recorded their first single, "Suicide Alley". Edwards joined the band on guitar and often made contributions to lyrics with Wire, designing record sleeves and other artwork, and driving the band to and from gigs.

In 1990, they signed a deal with label Damaged Goods Records for one EP Extended play . The four track EP New Art Riot attracted as much media interest for its attacks on fellow musicians as for the actual music. With the help of Hall Or Nothing management, the Manics signed to indie Independent record label label Heavenly Records. The band recordered their first single for the label, entitled Motown Junk.

The band released their next single, entitled You Love Us You Love Us (Heavenly Version) , and again displayed a huge cultural scope. The single sampled Penderecki's Krzysztof Penderecki Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima as well as Iggy Pop. The video featured Nicky in drag Cross dressing as Marilyn Monroe and contained visual references to Betty Blue and Aleister Crowley. In a now legendary interview with then NME journalist Steve Lamacq, Richey carved the phrase "4REAL" into his arm with a razor blade to prove their sincerity.

Generation Terrorists to The Holy Bible (1992–1995)


Their debut album, Generation Terrorists ( ), was released on the Columbia Records imprint. The liner notes contained a literary quote for each of the album's eighteen songs and the album lasted just over seventy minutes. The record contained six singles and sold 250,000 copies.

The second album, Gold Against the Soul, was released to mixed reviews but still performed well, reaching number eight in the UK album chart and displayed a more grungy sound. The nature of the lyrics also changed, with Edwards and Wire eschewing their political fire for introspective melancholy.

By early 1994, Edwards's personal problems became worse and began to affect the other band members as well as himself. He was admitted into The Priory in 1994 to overcome his problems and the band played a few festivals as a three piece to pay for his treatment.

The group's next album, The Holy Bible The Holy Bible (album) , released in August to critical acclaim, but sold poorly. The album displayed yet another musical and aesthetic change for the band, largely featuring army/navy uniforms. Musically, the band had shifted to a lofi post punk sound. In support of the album, the band appeared on Top of the Pops, performing first single "Faster Faster/P.C.P. ", which reached No.16. The performance was extremely controversial at the time, as the band were all dressed in army regalia. Bradfield wore a 'terrorist style' balaclava. At the time, the band was told by the BBC that they had received the most complaints ever.

Shortly after, on 1 February 1995, Edwards disappeared from the Embassy Hotel at Bayswater Road in London after checking out at 7:00am. His car was found abandoned February 17, 1995 at the Severn View service station Severn View services near the Severn Bridge, which has since its construction acquired notoriety for being a suicide spot. A car park attendant reported it had been there for three days; police search of the car revealed that it had been lived in for a few days. Edwards was never seen again, although the band have kept a percentage of the royalties aside should Edwards return. He was declared presumed dead on 28 of November 2008 by his family. The band commented that they respect their decision. Manic Street Preachers was put on hold for six months and finishing the group was seriously considered, but with the blessing of Edwards's family, the other members continued.


Everything Must Go to Know Your Enemy (1996–2003)

The first album without Edwards, Everything Must Go Everything Must Go (1996 album) , contained five songs either written or co-written by Edwards, was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews. The bulk of the lyrics were written solely by Wire including number two hit single "A Design for Life". The album was shortlisted for the 1996 Mercury Prize award for best album, and yielded the hit singles "Australia Australia (Manic Street Preachers song) ", "Everything Must Go Everything Must Go (single) " and "Kevin Carter Kevin Carter (single) ".


1998's This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours was just as successful across most of the world, and gave the band their first number one single in "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". ( ) It was written about the Spanish Civil War and was inspired in equal parts by George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia and The Clash's "Spanish Bombs". The album also included the hit singles "You Stole the Sun from My Heart", "Tsunami Tsunami (Manic Street Preachers song) " and "The Everlasting".

In 2000 they released the limited edition single "The Masses Against The Classes". Despite receiving little promotion, the single hit the number one position on the UK Singles chart.

In 2001 they became the first po***r western rock band to play in Cuba, (at the Karl Marx Theater) and met with president Fidel Castro. Their concert and trip to Cuba was documented and then released as a DVD entitled Louder than War.

In this concert they revealed many tracks from their sixth album Know Your Enemy Know Your Enemy (Manic Street Preachers album) . The song "Ocean Spray Ocean Spray (song) " was written by James about his mother's battle with cancer. The first singles from the album, "So Why So Sad" and "Found That Soul", were both released on the same day. Other singles included "Let Robeson Sing".

The greatest hits (plus remixes) album Forever Delayed was released in 2002, containing two new songs including the single "There By The Grace Of God". An album of B-sides, rarities, and cover versions album was released in 2003 - Lipstick Traces Lipstick Traces (A Secret History of Manic Street Preachers) , which contained the last song worked on with Edwards.


Lifeblood to Journal for Plague Lovers (2004–2009)

The band's seventh studio album, Lifeblood, was released on November 1 2004 and reached #13 on the UK album chart. Critical response to the album was mixed. Tony Visconti helped the band produce three songs on the album. The album was followed by a UK Arena tour in December 2004. A tenth anniversary edition of The Holy Bible The Holy Bible (album) was released on 6 December 2004 which included a digitally remastered version of the original album, a rare U.S. mix and a DVD of live performances and extras including a band interview.

In April 2005, the band played a number of shows as the 'Past-Present-Future tour' - announced as their last for at least two years. The band released an EP entitled God Save the Manics with only around 300 copies available and given out to fans as they arrived at the venue. After all the copies were gone, the band made the EP available as a free download on their website. In September, the band contributed the new track, "Leviathan Leviathan (song) ", to the War Child War Child (charity) charity album Help-a Day in the Life.

The band's eighth studio album, Send Away The Tigers Send Away the Tigers was released on 7 May 2007 on Columbia Records. It entered the official UK album charts at #2. Critical response to the album was largely positive, with some critics hailing the album as the band's best for a decade. A free download of a song entitled "Underdogs Underdogs (Manic Street Preachers song) " from the album was made available through the group's website on 19 March 2007. The first official single released from Send Away the Tigers was "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough", which features The Cardigans vocalist Nina Persson. Second single, "Autumn Song", and third single, "Indian Summer Indian Summer (Manic Street Preachers song) ", were released in August.

The band released a Christmas single in December. "Ghost Of Christmas Ghost Of Christmas (Manic Street Preachers song) " was available as a free download on their official website throughout December 2007 and January 2008. In February 2008, the band were presented with the God Like Geniuses Award award at the NME Awards ceremony.

The ninth Manics album, Journal for Plague Lovers, was released on 18 May 2009 The album was released to positive critical reviews, scoring 85 on Metacritic.


It's Not War - Just the End of Love

At the end of a recent October interview with the novelist John Niven for The Independent, conducted while the band were promoting Journal for Plague Lovers by touring America for the first time since the late 90's, Nicky Wire revealed to Niven that a current working title for the band's tenth album is It's Not War - Just the End of Love.In late 2005, both Bradfield James Dean Bradfield and Wire Nicky Wire announced that they intended to release solo material prior to a new album by the band. A free download of Nicky Wire's debut solo offering I Killed The Zeitgeist was posted on the bands website for just one day - Christmas Day 2005. The album of the same name was released in September 2006. It charted at #130 in the UK. The sound of the album, which Nicky referred to as his "nihilistic anti-everything album", was inspired by, among others, Neu!, The Plastic Ono Band, Einstürzende Neubauten, The Modern Lovers, Richard Thompson Richard Thompson (musician) and Lou Reed. Only one official single was released: Break My Heart Slowly charted at #74. Nicky toured small intimate venues across the UK with his band The Secret Society, affording fans the opportunity of seeing their hero at close quarters.

Bradfield's solo album, The Great Western was released in July 2006. It reached #22 in the UK. The sound of the album was inspired by, among others, Jeff Beck, Badfinger, Simple Minds and McCarthy McCarthy (band) . Two singles were released: That's No Way To Tell A Lie (#18) in July and then An English Gentleman (#31) in September. The latter is in remembrance of the first Manics manager Philip Hall, to whom The Holy Bible The Holy Bible (album) had been dedicated. James toured the album with a band that included Wayne Murray, who would subsequently play second guitar for Manics live performances. James' solo gigs featured covers of The Clash songs "Clampdown" and "The Card Cheat", both from the album London Calling.

In a later interview, when the band were collectively asked what they had learned from making a solo album, Sean Moore dryly quipped, "Not to do one".The band have released in 1992 a split single with Fatima Mansions (a rock cover of "Suicide Is Painless") which became their first UK Top 10 hit. They have recorded many cover versions of songs by other artists, primarily as b-sides for their own singles. Bands the group have paid tribute to in this way include The Clash, Guns'N'Roses, Alice Cooper, Happy Mondays, McCarthy McCarthy (band) , and Nirvana Nirvana (band) .

The band's first musical appearance since Edwards' departure was recording a cover of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" for The Help Album, a charity effort in 1995 in support of aid efforts in war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Lightning Seed's The Lightning Seeds song Waiting For Today To Happen, from their fifth album Dizzy Heights (1996), was written by Nicky Wire and Ian Broudie. That same year, James Dean Bradfield and Dave Eringa produced Northern Uproar's Northern Uproar first single Rollercoaster/Rough Boys. The 808 State song Lopez (1997) features lyrics by Nicky and vocals by James. It is featured on their greatest hits album 808:88:98. Kylie Minogue's Kylie Minogue sixth album Impossible Princess (1997) features two songs co-written and produced by the Manics. Some Kind Of Bliss (Bradfield/Minogue/Moore Sean Moore (musician) ) and I Don't Need Anyone (Bradfield/Jones/Minogue) were produced by James and Dave Eringa. James provided backing vocals, bass and production for the Massive Attack song Inertia Creeps (1998), which features on their chart-topping third album Mezzanine Mezzanine (album) . Patrick Jones' Patrick Jones album of poetry set to music, Commemoration And Amnesia Patrick Jones#Commemoration and Amnesia (1999), features two songs with music written by James: the title track and The Guerilla Tapestry. James plays guitar on both songs. Further, the track Hireath features a section called Spoken Word where Nicky talks about Welsh identity.

In February 2006, the band contributed a cover version of "The Instrumental" to the album Still Unravished: A Tribute to the June Brides Still Unravished .

In February 2008 the Manics covered Rihanna's Rihanna hit song "Umbrella Umbrella (Manics cover version) ". Their version appeared on a CD titled NME Awards 2008 NME Awards 2008 (album) given away free with a special souvenir box set issue of the NME magazine, which went on sale 27 February. Additionally, the Manics' version of the song has been available on iTunes since 5 March .. Despite being chart eligible (it reached number 47 in the UK ),), the release was not intended as an official single .. Two further versions (Acoustic and Grand Slam Mix) were later made available on iTunes and now comprise a three-track Umbrella EP.

The Manic Street Preachers contributed an original song 'The Girl from Tiger Bay' to Shirley Bassey's 2009 studio album The Performance.* Generation Terrorists (1992)
* Gold Against the Soul (1993)
* The Holy Bible The Holy Bible (album) (1994)
* Everything Must Go Everything Must Go (Manic Street Preachers album) (1996)
* This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (1998)
* Know Your Enemy Know Your Enemy (Manic Street Preachers album) (2001)
* Lifeblood (2004)
* Send Away the Tigers (2007)
* Journal for Plague Lovers (2009)
* It's Not War - Just the End of Love (2010)* One of The Writers' Best Albums (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - The Daily Telegraph
* Writers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Melody Maker
* Reader's Band of 1996 (Runner Up) & "Writers' Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996" - NME
* Writers' Best Live Band of 1996 - NME Brat Award
* "Writers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Vox
* Writers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - The Sunday Times The Sunday Times (UK)
* "Writers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Sky
* Writers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 & Readers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Select
* Readers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Q Awards
* Writers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Music Week
* One of Writers' Top Ten Albums (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Metal Hammer
* Writers' Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 (Runner Up) - Kerrang!
* One of Writers' Top Five Albums (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Independent On Sunday The Independent
* Readers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - Hot Press
* Writers' Best Album (Everything Must Go) of 1996 - The Guardian
* Best Album & "Best Group" - BRIT Awards, 1997
* Best Band In The World Today - Q Awards Q magazine , 1998
* Best Album & "Best Group" - BRIT Awards, 1999
* Best Live Act - Q Awards, 2001* Q Merit Award - Q Awards, 2006
* Best Track (Your Love Alone Is Not Enough) - Q Awards, 2007
* 'God Like Geniuses' - Shockwaves NME Awards NME Awards , 2008
* The MOJO Maverick Award 2009
 

 

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