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The Manic Street Preachers are a three-piece band from Wales and are known for their left wing image and politically motivated songs. Their current line-up is James Dean Bradfield (Vocals/Guitar), Nicky Wire (Bass Guitar) and Sean Moore (Drums). They started as a quartet in 1986 with Nicky Wire writing much of their early work. When original bassist Miles Woodward left, Wire continued to write lyrics but switched from guitar to bass. Richey Edwards joined after being a roadie and became their rhythm guitarist as well as contributing to lyrics with Wire. In 1995, Edwards mysteriously disappeared and after deliberation, the Manics continued as a three-piece. They have had eight Top 10 albums and fifteen Top 10 singles, including two Number 1s.

Band Biography[]

Early Years[]

The band was formed in Oakdale Comprehensive School, Blackwood, in 1986. Bradfield originally wrote lyrics however these duties switched to Wire, with Bradfield and Moore writing the music. Woodward left in 1988 as he felt the band were moving away from their roots. Later that year, the Manics recorded their first single, Suicide Alley, and it was at this point that Edwards joined the band, on rhythm guitar, contributing to lyrics and driving the band to and from gigs.

In 1990, they signed with Damaged Goods and released the four-track EP New Art Riot. It gathered attention not necessarily for the music but its lyrics and attacks on other musicians. After this they signed with Heavenly and released their first single, Motown Junk. Their next single You Love Us was released in 1991 and was also included on their debut album Generation Terrorists. In an interview with NME's Steve Lamacq, Edwards carved the words 4EVER onto his arm to prove that they were serious. He was later taken to hospital and needed stitches on the arm. Afterwards they signed with Columbia and began recording their next album.

Generation Terrorists[]

The Manics first full length album was released on 10 February 1992. Despite being credited in the album notes, Edwards did not play guitar in any of the albums 18 tracks, as Bradfield played it on all tracks.

The Generation Terrorists artwork.

The U.S release was slightly different, with the more politically motivated tracks dropped and some replaced. In most other places, the album was released uncensored. The album cover is of Edwards' left arm and chest with a tattoo on his upper arm of a rose with the words Generation Terrorists on it.

The album produced 6 singles; Stay Beautiful, Love's Sweet Exile/Repeat, You Love Us, Slash 'n' Burn, Motorcycle Emptiness and Little Baby Nothing. All of the singles reached the UK top 40 charts, with You Love Us performing the best at 16. The album itself charted at Number 13. Inbetween these releases, the band also released the single Suicide Is Painless, which was a cover of the theme for the BBC show M.A.S.H. Slightly shortened versions of You Love Us, Motorcycle Emptiness and Little Baby Nothing were featured on their first compilation album Forever Delayed while all 6 singles were featured on their second compilation National Treasures. An alternate version of Spectators of Suicide was included in Lipstick Traces, a b-side compilation album.

Gold Against The Soul[]

The Manics next album was released a year later which featured a more calmer sound and featured less politcally motivated songs. Although the album recieved mixed reviews, it did peak higher than its predecessor in the UK album charts charting at Number 8. The album however has only been classified as Silver based on sales, while Generation Terrorists sold as Gold. The album spawned three singles, From Despair To Where, La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) and Roses In The Hospital. The latter reached 15 in the charts, which was at that time the highest album single by the Manic Street Preachers. Bradfield has criticised the album calling it his least favourite and saying that "All we wanted to do was go under the corporate wing. We thought we could ignore it but you do get affected."

The Holy Bible[]

Between the release of Gold Against The Soul and The Holy Bible, Edwards' condition was getting worse, physically and mentally. In early 1994, Edwards was admitted into The Priory to deal with his condition, with the rest of the band playing gigs to pay for his treatment.

The Manic Street Preachers performing on Top Of The Pops in 1994. This performance set a new record for complaints recieved by the BBC.

The majority of the album was written by Edwards, and his state of mind was evident in the lyrics. Upon being given the lyrics to 'Yes', Bradfield said "How am I supposed to write music for this?" Edwards was drinking regularly during the recordings and at gigs, he would come onto the stage cut and wounded. During tours in the Autumn of 1994, the band believed Edwards heavy drinking was now under control, but he was still drastically underweight and he continued to self-harm. The album was released in August to critical acclaim and despite it charting higher than previous albums, sales were disappointing.

During a performance of their single Faster on Top Of The Pops, Bradfield wore a balaclava which was associated with terrorism to promote their new militant image. This stirred up a lot of anger and the BBC recieved over 25,000 complaints, a record amount by far for the BBC. Two other singles were released from this album; Revol and She Is Suffering. All three reached the top 40, however none could match Roses In The Hospital in terms of chart position, with Faster/P.C.P. coming closest at 16. Despite its name, Ifwhiteamerica was not necessarily an anti-America song, as Wire said it was more about "how the most empty culture in the world can dominate in such a total sense". This would be the last album to feature Richey Edwards, as he disappeared on Febraury 1 1995, and presumed dead in 2008.

Everything Must Go[]

A year after Edwards' disappearance, the Manic released their next album, Everything Must Go. It was released to commercial and critical acclaim, and propelled the Manic Street Preachers into the higher charts. Despite Edwards no longer a part of the band, 5 songs from the album were written by him, and he did play rhythm guitar on No Surface Feeling At All. This was only he second song with rhythm guitar credited to him, with the other being La Tristesse.

The album featured a more commercial sound, with strings and snyth being embraced and used regularly. The album reached Number 2 in the charts and has been certified 2x Platinum. The album was produced four top 10 singles in A Design For Life, Everything Must Go, Kevin Carter and Australia. A Design For Life became the Manics best selling single so far, reaching Number 2 in the charts and spending a total of 80 weeks in the charts. This song also started a chain of 18 consecutive top 20 singles by the Manic Street Preachers. This album also gave the band two BRIT awards in Best British Album and Best British Band. All four singles were included in the compilation album Forever Delayed.

This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours[]

Two years later, the Manic Street Preachers released their fifth album, and it went straight to the top of the charts, and stayed there for 3 weeks. It has been certified 3x Platinum and is the best selling Manics album to date. It also reached Number 1 in two other countries, Finland and Sweden respectively.

This was the first Manics album to featured Wire as the sole lyricist, with Bradfield and Moore still writing music. Although commercially a success, it drew minor criticism from fans for the band abandoning their rock origins for creating a more accessible pop sound. The album again spawned four hit singles including the Number 1 If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, selling almost 150,000 in its first week. Other singles included The Everlasting, You Stole The Sun From My Heart and Tsunami. The band again won the Best British Album and Best British Band at the BRITs.

In early 2000, the band released another non-album, The Masses Against The Classes which went straight to Number 1.

The Masses Against The Classes artwork.

This was seen as a surprise by many as the song recieved little promotional aid by the band and did not feature a music video. It became the first new Number 1 of the millenium, knocking Westlife's I Have A Dream/Seasons In The Sun off top spot after being there for four weeks. This was seen by many as a response to fans criticism of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours as the single was very agressive and reminiscent of the bands early work. The single was removed from supply upon the day of release. The artwork was the Cuban flag minus the star, to show that they still had a socialist mindset.

Know Your Enemy[]

The Manics next album was released in early 2001 and reached Number 2 in the album charts. The album featured two firsts, Bradfield's debut as a songwriter on Ocean Spray and Wire's debut in lead vocals on Wattsville Blues. The album spawned four singles, all of which charted in the top 20, Found That Soul, So Why So Sad, Ocean Spray and Let Robeson Sing.

A year later, the Manic Street Preachers first compilation album, Forever Delayed, was released and featured 18 previous singles, as well as two new tracks, Door To The River and the Number 6 single There By The Grace Of God. Although the album has reasonable chart success, it was criticised by fans by only having their higher charting songs and focusing on the mainstream singles only. All singles from both Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours are featured while only one single from The Holy Bible and Know Your Enemy featured.

A year later, the band released another compilation album, Lipstick Traces, which featured b-sides from the past several years. It was a double disc CD with the first disc filled with self-written songs while the second disc had covers instead, including a few live versions.


Three years after their last studio album, the Manic Street Preachers released their seventh album, Lifeblood. The album saw a dramatic change in musical style, with the album centred around an electronic sound. Because of this, many fans became disillusioned by the new sound and percieve it to be the figurative black sheep in the Manics' library. Despite having a softer sound, the band did not sway away from political songs, with Emily being about the suffragette Emely Pankhurst.

The album charted poorly, peaking at Number 13 and staying in the top 75 for only a further week. This was their worst chart position since their debut album Generation Terrorists, which also peaked at Number 13. Despite the album chart performance being poor, both of the two singles, The Love Of Richard Nixon and Empty Souls both reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart. The Love Of Richard Nixon mainly praises the former US President, and is seen by some as an attack on the American government, as the single was released two weeks before the US election. The band have said that the song itself contains no guitars, another indication of how different in musical style the album was. Empty Souls is said to be about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America in 2001. The album version features the lyrics "collapsing like the twin towers" however this was cut for the single edit. The backing vocals still say the original lyric, however this was most likely kept in by mistake. The album missed out on being the 1,000th UK Number 1 single to an Elvis Presley re-release.

Send Away The Tigers[]

Following a three year break, both Nicky Wie and James Dean Bradfield released solo albums. Bradfield released The Great Western in July 2006, where it reached Number 22 in the charts. Wire had less chart success with his solo effort, I Killed The Zeitgeist failing to trouble the top 100.

The Manics returned in 2007 with the Number 2 album Send Away The Tigers. It missed the Number 1 spot by only 690 copies. In March 2007, the band released a free download from their webstie entitled Underdogs as a thanks for the fans supporting them throughout the past years. The album spawned three singles, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, Autumnsong and Indian Summer. Your Love Alone Is Not Enough was a duet with Nina Persson of The Cardigans, and was their third consecutive Number 2 single. This has been touted by fans as being the Manics greatest pop song and it also won Best Track at the 2007 Q Awards. Autumnsong reached Number 10 while Indian Summer failed to hit the top 20. Some people have said this was the start of the Manics declined popularity, as they have not had a top 20 single since Autumnsong. The album was praised by critics as being a return to their rock roots, and featured a hidden track at the end of Winterlovers, being a cover of John Lennon's Working Class Hero.

Journal For Plague Lovers[]

Following former lyricist Richey Edwards being officially confirmed dead on November 23rd 2008, the band decided to release an album composed solely of lyrics left by Edwards before his disappearance in 1995. The lyrics came from a folder given to Nicky Wire weeks before his disappearance, which contained songs, poems and drawings. Wire said the folder contained 28 songs, 4 of which made it onto the band's fourth album Everything Must Go. Songs which had not appeared at all were said to be 'too impossible' by Wire to make into music

The artwork for Journal For Plague Lovers, deemed inappropriate by supermarkets.


No singles were taken from the album, as Bradfield said this album was to secure the legacy of Edwards. Peeled Apples and Jackie Collins Existential Question Time did receive radio play however. The album reached number 3 in the charts, despite some supermarkets stocking the album in an opaque slip since the album artwork was said to be 'inappropriate'. The artwork came from Jenny Saville, who also contributed to The Holy Bible artwork.

Postcards From A Young Man[]

The Manics tenth studio album was released in September 2010 and became their eighth top ten album reaching Number 3 in the charts. Bradfield described the album as being "unashamedly pop" and going to radio hits. Three albums were released from the album, (It's Not War) Just The End Of Love, Some Kind Of Nothingness and Postcards From A Young Man reaching 28, 44 and 54 in the UK Singles charts respectively. It's Not War was the last in a string of 20 consecutive top 40 hits.

A year later, the band released their third compilation album, National Treasures, containing of almost 40 singles. The album reached Number 10 in the UK Album Charts. This album was played in its entirety at the O2 Arena in London in December 2011.

Following the release of National Treasures and a mini European tour, the band said they would be taking some time off to write for their next album which Wire described as being "indulgent". The album is scheduled for a Easter 2014 release.

Rewind The Film[]

In a further interview, the band stated they had two albums in progress; one of which would be heavy, the other mellow. It was not said which would be released first, but the band made that clear in mid-2013 with the unveiling of the new song Rewind The Film, featuring Richard Hawley. The new single was announced as Show Me The Wonder, but despite frequent airplay on Radio 2 amongst others, it charted poorly at Number 77.

The album was released a week later on 16th September and was released to general critical acclaim. However the album split the band's fanbase, with some saying it further neglected the band's roots, whereas others said it proved that the Manics could diversify more. The album charted at Number 4, to become their 11th top 10 album.



Year Album Name UK Chart position
1992 Generation Terrorists 13
1993 Gold Against The Soul 8
1994 The Holy Bible 6
1996 Everything Must Go 2
1998 This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours 1
2001 Know Your Enemy 2
2002 Forever Delayed 4
2003 Lipstick Traces 11
2004 Lifeblood 13
2007 Send Away The Tigers 2
2009 Journal For Plague Lovers 3
2010 Postcards From A Young Man 3
2011 National Treasures 10

EPs and Singles[]

Year Singles/EP Name UK Chart position Album
1989 Suicide Alley - Non-album Single
1990 UK Channel Boredom -
New Art Riot EP 136
1991 Motown Junk 94
You Love Us (Heavenly Version) 62
Feminine Is Beautiful -
Stay Beautiful 40 Generation Terrorists
Love's Sweet Exile/Repeat 26
You Love Us 16
1992 Slash 'n' Burn 20
Motorcycle Emptiness 17
Stars And Stripes EP -
Suicide Is Painless 7 Non-album Single
Little Baby Nothing 29 Generation Terrorists
1993 From Despair To Where 25 Gold Against The Soul
La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) 22
Roses In The Hospital 15
1994 Life Becoming A Landslide EP 36
Faster/P.C.P. 16 The Holy Bible
Revol 22
She Is Suffering 25
1996 A Design For Life 2 Everything Must Go
Everything Must Go 5
Kevin Carter 9
Further Away -
Australia 7
1998 If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next 1 This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
The Everlasting 11
1999 You Stole The Sun From My Heart 5
Tsunami 11
2000 The Masses Against The Classes 1 Non-album Single
2001 Found That Soul 9 Know Your Enemy
So Why So Sad 8
Ocean Spray 15
Know Our B-Sides EP - Non-album Single
Let Robeson Sing 19 Know Your Enemy
2002 There By The Grace Of God 6 Forever Delayed
2004 The Love Of Richard Nixon 2 Lifeblood
2005 Empty Souls 2
God Save The Manics EP - Non-album Single
2007 Underdogs - Send Away The Tigers
Your Love Alone Is Not Enough 2
Autumnsong 10
Indian Summer 22
The Ghosts Of Christmas - Non-album Single
2009 Journal For Plague Lovers Remixes EP - Non-album Single
2010 (It's Not War) Just The End Of Love 28 Postcards From A Young Man
Some Kind Of Nothingness 44
2011 Postcards From A Young Man 54
This Is The Day 144 Non-album Single

Further Away and Know Our B-Sides were Japan release only, while Journal For Plague Lovers Remixes EP was a download release only.

Appears On[]


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Mix CDs[]

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Further Reading[]

(links to websites, label biographies, fansites, books, periodicals or any additional information on the artist)