You remember this thread, right? Where I post a song which mentions the name of a famous person in the title? Course you do.
Manic Street Preachers are currently embarking on their tour to
Make Jez Feel Really Old mark the 20th anniversary of the release of their “Everything Must Go” album. I would imagine there are very few of you who don’t know that this was their first release after the disappearance of founder member, rhythm guitarist, lyricist and shareholder in Rimmel mascara, Richie Edwards.
When he went missing, I can’t have been alone in thinking it spelled the end of the band, such an important component was he in their creative output and, perhaps even more importantly, in their image.
But the release of “Everything Must Go”, I’m happy to concede, proved me utterly wrong.
The Manics had always positioned themselves as outsiders, battling the odds, railing against the system, but with the release of “Everything Must Go”, and the disappearance of Edwards, it was as if the remaining members (James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore) were galvanised into producing their most defiant, polished, grown-up and above all popular album yet.
And commercially successful it was too, reaching Number 2 in the UK album charts and racking up sales in the UK alone in excess of 900,000 (that’s triple platinum, shiny disc fans!) whilst spawning hit singles “A Design For Life” (a #2 hit in the UK), “Everything Must Go” (#5), “Kevin Carter” (#9) and “Australia” (#7).
Since it was the last time that Richie featured on a Manics record (he’s there, contributing rhythm guitar on “No Surface All Feeling”) and the last time (until the release of 2009’s “Journal for Plague Lovers”) that his lyrics would feature, it is easy to consider the album and it’s success as Richie’s farewell gift to his former school friends and bandmates.
So to the tunes, and having mentioned it already, it would be remiss of me not to post the aforementioned Kevin Carter:
The lyrics to this one were actually written by bassist Nicky Wire, and the eponymous lead was the 1994 Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, who was always troubled by his professional responsibilities being weighed up against his moral considerations. He was the first to photograph a public execution by ‘necklacing’ – a practice where a rubber tyre, filled with petrol or some other inflammable is forced around the victim’s chest and arms, and setting it on fire – in South Africa in the mid-1980s. Carter later said: “The question that still haunts me is ‘would those people have been necklaced, if there was no media coverage?”
Just weeks after winning the Pulitzer, Carter committed suicide in 1994.
Richie Edwards’ body has never been found and he was declared ‘presumed deceased’ in November 2008.
Cheerful this, innit?
But wait; Edwards’ parting gift can’t have been the lyrics and rhythm guitar that he contributed to “Everything Must Go”, for that honour surely must go to a folder with the word “Opulence” and a drawing of Bugs Bunny on the front cover which he handed to Wire days before his disappearance, and which contained songs, haikus, collages and drawings which in 2009 became the Manics’s ninth studio album “Journal for Plague Lovers”, which featured exclusively lyrics lifted from the Rymills folder Edwards presented to his old school friend.
It contained, amongst many others, this piece of Edwards brilliance:
Seriously, nobody writes titles (or lyrics) like Richie could write titles (or lyrics).
To round things off for now, in January 2010 the band released a limited edition, two-disc vinyl, version of the album, entitled “Cooking, Cleaning, Flower Arranging: Journal For Plague Lovers Remixes”. If you’ve never heard it, seek out a copy, for it features each song from “Journal…”remixed by a clutch of renowned producers and musicians (that is the collective noun for renowned producers and musicians, isn’t it?), such as British Sea Power, Four Tet, Andrew Weatherall (of course), Fuck Buttons and this, which claims to be a remix by Saint Etienne, but in truth is their cover version of it:
Oh, okay, I’ll ‘fess up.
Whist I’ve been meaning to resurrect this thread for a while, I must admit I was prompted to do so now by a visit to Charity Chic’s place where I see he has started a thread where he talks about songs which name-check other recording artists in either the title or the lyrics.
As with pretty much everything Charity Chic posts, it’s well worth a look. Please do, here.
Now Charity Chic is one of my favourite blogs, and CC a much valued commenter and visitor to these shores, and its such a long time since I posted on this thread I can’t, and won’t, moan. (Hoisted by my own idleness.) Especially as CC will doubtless make a far better job of it than I.
So I figured I’d ditch the songs I had intended to post here which involve anything that would qualify for CC’s thread, and focus on the songs which involve non-musical folks. That’s fair enough, right? Right…..?
So CC: I doubt you’ll need them, but if you want any suggestions for songs for your thread, give me a shout. More than happy to give you the few I’d thought of which you’re welcome to use if you want them.