The Info List - Richey Edwards

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James "Richey" Edwards (22 December 1967 – disappeared c. 1 February 1995) was a Welsh musician who was the lyricist and rhythm guitarist of the alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. He was known for his dark, politicised and intellectual songwriting which, combined with an enigmatic and eloquent character, has assured him cult status, as well as having been cited by some as a leading lyricist of his generation.[1][2] Edwards disappeared on 1 February 1995.[3] On 24 November 2008, it was announced that Edwards' parents had obtained a court order, issued by the Probate Registry of Wales, naming them as executors of his estate and further stating that he died "on or since" 1 February 1995 (see declared death in absentia).[4][5] The ninth album by Manic Street Preachers, Journal for Plague Lovers, released on 18 May 2009, is composed entirely of songs with lyrics left behind by Edwards.[6] Up to 2005, the remaining members of Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
still paid 25% royalties into an account in his name.[7]


1 Biography 2 Disappearance

2.1 Fan identification

3 Literature and other cultural influences 4 Books about Edwards 5 Discography and writing credits 6 See also 7 Citations 8 References 9 External links

Biography[edit] Richey Edwards
Richey Edwards
(often referred to during his years with Manic Street Preachers as Richey James) was born and raised in Blackwood, Caerphilly, Wales. He has one younger sister, Rachel, who was born in 1969. Edwards attended Oakdale Comprehensive School. From 1986 to 1989, Edwards attended University of Wales, Swansea
University of Wales, Swansea
and graduated with a 2:1 degree in political history. Edwards was initially a driver and roadie for Manic Street Preachers, but he soon became accepted as the band's main spokesman and fourth member. Edwards showed little musical talent—his real contribution to Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
was in the words and design. More often than not he was miming on the guitar during early live performances, but was, along with bassist Nicky Wire, principal lyricist. Edwards is said to have written approximately 80% of the lyrics on The Holy Bible.[8] Both are credited on all songs written before Edwards' disappearance, with Edwards receiving sole credit on three tracks from the 1996 album Everything Must Go, and co-writing credits on another two. Despite Edwards' lack of musical input, he nevertheless contributed to their overall musical direction, and according to the rest of the band on the Everything Must Go DVD, he played a leading role in deciding the approach of the band's sound. It is possible that had he not disappeared, the album that would have followed The Holy Bible would have been dramatically different from the melodic, accessible rock heard on Everything Must Go. Edwards expressed a desire to create a concept album described as " Pantera
meets Nine Inch Nails meets Screamadelica".[9] However, Bradfield has since expressed doubts over whether the band would have produced such an album: "I was worried that as chief tune-smith in the band I wasn't actually going to be able to write things that he would have liked. There would have been an impasse in the band for the first time born out of taste..."[10][11][12]

Edwards with 4 Real carved into his arm. The NME
discussion as to whether to publish this image was a bonus track on "Suicide Is Painless".

On 15 May 1991, he gained notoriety following an argument with NME journalist Steve Lamacq, who questioned the band's authenticity and values, keen to ensure the punk ethic was not abused, after a gig at the Norwich Arts Centre. Lamacq asked of Edwards' seriousness towards his art, and Edwards responded by carving the words "4 Real" into his forearm with a razor blade he was carrying.[13] The injury required eighteen stitches. Edwards suffered severe bouts of depression in his adult life,[14][15] and was open about it in interviews: "If you're hopelessly depressed like I was, then dressing up is just the ultimate escape. When I was young I just wanted to be noticed. Nothing could excite me except attention so I'd dress up as much as I could. Outrage and boredom just go hand in hand."[16] He also self-harmed, mainly through stubbing cigarettes on his body, and cutting himself: "When I cut myself I feel so much better. All the little things that might have been annoying me suddenly seem so trivial because I'm concentrating on the pain. I'm not a person who can scream and shout so this is my only outlet. It's all done very logically.".[3] After the release of the band's third album The Holy Bible, he checked into The Priory psychiatric hospital, missing out on some of the promotional work for the album and forcing the band to appear as a three piece at the Reading Festival and T in the Park. Following release from the Priory, Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
as a four-piece band toured Europe with Suede and Therapy?
for what was to be the last time. Edwards' final live appearance with the band was at the London Astoria, on 21 December 1994. The concert ended with the band infamously smashing their equipment and damaging the lighting system, prompted by Edwards' violent destruction of his guitar towards the end of set closer "You Love Us".[17] Disappearance[edit] Edwards disappeared on 1 February 1995, on the day when he and James Dean Bradfield were due to fly to the United States
United States
on a promotional tour.[18] In the two weeks before his disappearance, Edwards withdrew £200 a day from his bank account, which totalled £2,800 by the day of the scheduled flight. Some speculated that he needed the money for the American trip, and it was also mentioned he'd ordered a new desk for his flat from a shop in Cardiff. However, there was no record of the desk having been paid for, and this would have explained only half of the money withdrawn.[19][20] According to Emma Forrest, as quoted in A Version Of Reason, 'the night before he disappeared Edwards gave a friend a book called Novel with Cocaine, instructing her to read the introduction, which details the author staying in a mental asylum before vanishing'. Whilst staying at the Embassy Hotel in Bayswater Road, London, according to Rob Jovanovic's biography, Edwards removed some books and videos from his bag. These included a copy of the play Equus. He wrapped them carefully in a box with a note that said "I love you". He then decorated the box like a birthday present and decorated the outside of it with collages and literary quotations. These included a picture of a Germanic-looking house and Bugs Bunny. The package was addressed to a "Jo". The next morning, Edwards collected his wallet, car keys, some Prozac and his passport. He checked out of the hotel at 7 o'clock in the morning; leaving his toiletries, packed suitcase, and some of his Prozac. He then drove to his apartment in Cardiff, Wales.[19][21] In the two weeks that followed, Edwards was apparently spotted in the Newport passport office[22] and the Newport bus station
Newport bus station
by a fan who was unaware that Edwards was missing. The fan discussed a mutual friend, Lori Fidler, before Edwards departed.[19][23] On 7 February, a taxi driver from Newport supposedly picked up Edwards from the King's Hotel in Newport, and drove him around the valleys, including Blackwood (Edwards' home as a child). The driver reported that the passenger had spoken in a Cockney
accent, which occasionally slipped into a Welsh one, and that he had asked if he could lie down on the back seat. Eventually they reached Blackwood and the bus station, but the passenger reportedly said "this is not the place", and asked to be taken to Pontypool railway station. It was later ascertained, according to Jovanovic's account, that Pontypool did not have a telephone. The passenger got out at the Severn View service station near Aust, South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire
and paid the £68 fare in cash.[21][24] On 14 February, Edwards' Vauxhall Cavalier
Vauxhall Cavalier
received a parking ticket at the Severn View service station and on 17 February, the vehicle was reported as abandoned. Police discovered the battery to be dead, with evidence that the car had been lived in.[18][19][25] Due to the service station's proximity to the Severn Bridge
Severn Bridge
(which has been a known suicide location in the past)[26] it was widely believed that he had taken his own life by jumping from the bridge.[27] Many people who knew him, however, have said that he was never the type to contemplate suicide and he himself was quoted in 1994 as saying "In terms of the 'S' word, that does not enter my mind. And it never has done, in terms of an attempt. Because I am stronger than that. I might be a weak person, but I can take pain."[28] Since then he has reportedly been spotted in a market in Goa, India and on the islands of Fuerteventura
and Lanzarote. There have been other alleged sightings of Edwards, especially in the years immediately following his disappearance.[29] However, none of these has proved conclusive[30] and none have been confirmed by investigators.[31][32] The investigation itself has received criticism. In his 1999 book Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers), Simon Price states that aspects of the investigation were "far from satisfactory". He asserts the police may not have taken Edwards' mental state into account when prioritising his disappearance. Price also records Edwards' sister Rachel as having "hit out at police handling" after CCTV footage was analysed two years after the disappearance.[33] Price records a member of the investigation team as stating "that the idea that you could identify somebody from that is arrant nonsense".[34] While his family had the option of declaring him legally dead from 2002, they chose not to for many years, and his status remained open as a missing person[13][31] until 23 November 2008, when he became officially "presumed dead".[35][36] Fan identification[edit] Edwards' disappearance attracted a great deal of media attention. Caitlin Moran, writing in The Times, commented that Edwards became "a cause celebre among depressives, alcoholics, anorexics and self-mutilators, because he was the first person in the public eye to talk openly about these subjects, not with swaggering bravado and a subtext of "look how tortured and cool I am", but with humility, sense and, often, bleak humour."[37] Moran dismissed the news agenda of the mainstream media, which was geared towards the idea that Edwards inspired copycat actions in fans. Pointing towards the edition of 8 April 1995 of Melody Maker, Moran wrote of her distaste of the mainstream media treatment: "Arms were flung aloft and tongues tutted two weeks back, when the first anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide coincided with the two-month anniversary of Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards' disappearance, and Melody Maker
Melody Maker
instigated a debate on escalating teenage depression, self-mutilation and suicide."[37] The magazine had received a number of letters from fans distressed at both the death of Kurt Cobain and the disappearance of Edwards. The 8 April edition saw the publication assemble a panel of readers to discuss the issues related to both cases. Moran argued "that Cobain's actions and, to a greater extent, Richey Edwards's actions, have legitimised debate on these subjects".[37] The 8 April issue was released in conjunction with the Samaritans,[38] with the then-editor Allan Jones placing the inspiration for the special nature of the issue firmly in the hands of the readers: "Every week the mailbag is just full of these letters. Richey's predicament seems to be emblematic of what a lot of people are going through."[39] Jones saw the debate as focusing on the notion of whether "our rock stars are more vulnerable these days, and is that vulnerability a reflection of the vulnerability of their audience? And if so, why?"[39] Literature and other cultural influences[edit] As well as an interest in music, Edwards displayed a love for literature. He chose many of the quotes that appear on Manics record sleeves and would often refer to writers and poets during interviews. This interest in literature has remained integral to the band's music and lyrics. Albert Camus,[40] Philip Larkin, Yukio Mishima
Yukio Mishima
and Fyodor Dostoyevsky are known to have been among his favourite authors. In a dressing room interview, he also mentioned admiration for Primo Levi. Edwards often quoted Arthur Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud
in interviews as being one of his favourite writers. Edwards also wrote selected quotes of Rimbaud on his clothing. Edwards' lyrics have often been of a highly poetic nature, and at times they reflected his knowledge of political history. Books about Edwards[edit] In 2009, Rob Jovanovic's book A Version of Reason: The Search for Richey Edwards
Richey Edwards
of the Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
was published. A Version of Reason was written with the goal of providing an authoritative factual account, pieced together through testimonials from those close to Edwards before his disappearance.[41] A novel by Ben Myers entitled Richard: A Novel was published on 1 October 2010 through Picador. Richard
purports to be a fictionalised account of Edwards' life "as he might have told it."[42] A 2015 novel by Guy Mankowski, entitled How I Left The National Grid, was heavily informed by Edwards and his disappearance.[43][44] Howard Marks
Howard Marks
has also written a book about Richard, although his name has been changed to fictionalise the story. The book is called Sympathy for the Devil.[44] In 2011, Scottish band Coholic featured a song about Edwards entitled "Escape Artist" on their debut album "Blue Volt and the Noise". Discography and writing credits[edit] Main article: Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers

With Manic Street Preachers

Generation Terrorists
Generation Terrorists
(1992) Gold Against the Soul
Gold Against the Soul
(1993) The Holy Bible (1994) Everything Must Go (1996) Journal for Plague Lovers
Journal for Plague Lovers

See also[edit]

List of people who disappeared mysteriously 27 Club


^ Owen, Paul, "The Manics' Lyrics Were Something Special", The Guardian, 27 November 2008 ^ Clash Music, "Manics Member Officially Dead", Clash Music ^ a b BBC Wales, " Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
– Richey Edwards",BBC Wales ^ Evans, Catherine Mary "Missing Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards declared legally dead, 13 years on", 24 November 2008, Western Mail. Accessed on 11 February 2009. Archived on 11 February 2009. ^ "Richey Edwards". Telegraph.co.uk. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.  ^ "Journal for Plague Lovers"''". Manicstreetpreachers.com. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2011.  ^ "The remaining Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
members continue to pay a quarter of the band's royalties into an account held in his name". 2005-02-01. Retrieved 2017-10-02.  ^ Sullivan, Caroline; Bellos, Alex (26 January 1996), "Sweet Exile", The Guardian, London, pp. T.010  ^ Bailie, Stuart. "The Art of Falling Apart". Mojo (February 2002) .p.85. ^ Hill, Claire (3 November 2006). "Manics frontman talks of artistic differences with missing Richey". Western Mail (Cardiff). p. 7.  ^ Maconie, Stuart "Everything Must Grow Up" Q Magazine
Q Magazine
October 1998 ^ O'Connor, Rob (Producer & Director), Bradfield, James Dean (interviewee), Moore, Sean (interviewee), Wire, Nicky (interviewee) (6 November 2006). The Making of Everything Must Go (DVD). Sony BMG.  ^ a b Jinman, Richard
(1 February 2005). "Fans keep hopes alive for missing Manic". The Guardian. p. 7. Retrieved 2 February 2007.  ^ Leonard, Marion. Gender in the Music Industry (2007), Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p.71. ISBN 0-7546-3862-6 ^ Young, Andrew & Constable, Nick. "After 13 years, the parents of missing rock star Richey Edwards
Richey Edwards
admit he's dead". The Daily Mail, 22 November 2008. ^ Smith, Richard
(1995) Seduced and Abandoned: Essays on Gay Men and Popular Music, London: Cassell. ^ Boden, Sarah (21 January 2007), "25 of the greatest gigs ever (part 2)", The Observer, p. 41  ^ a b Price (1999), pp. 177–178. ^ a b c d Beckett, Andy (2 March 1997). "Missing street preacher". The Independent on Sunday.  ^ Price (1999), p. 178. ^ a b Price (1999), p. 179. ^ Price (1999), p. 183. ^ Price (1999), p. 180. ^ Bellos, Alex (26 January 1996). "Music: Desperately seeking Richey". The Guardian. pp. T.010.  ^ BBC staff reporter (1 February 2005). "Ten-year tragedy of missing Manic". BBC. Retrieved 30 January 2008.  ^ Pidd, Helen. " Richey Edwards
Richey Edwards
case closed: how 14 years of hope ended", The Guardian. 29 November 2008. ^ "Amy Winehouse joins iconic stars who died aged 27". BBC. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.  ^ "The Last of Richey Edwards?". Richeyedwards.net. Retrieved 3 April 2010.  ^ Sullivan, Caroline (28 January 2000). "The lost boys". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2007.  ^ Wills, Colin (2 June 1996). "Is Richey the wild rebel of rock alive or dead?". The Sunday Mirror. p. 62.  ^ a b Helan, Stephen P. (30 January 2005). "Living With Ghosts". Sunday Herald. p. 10.  ^ Price (1999), pp. 183–185. ^ Price (1999), p. 186. ^ Price (1999), p. 187. ^ BBC staff reporter (24 November 2008). "Missing guitarist 'presumed dead'". BBC. Retrieved 24 November 2008.  ^ Cartwright, Garth (26 November 2008), "Obituary: Richey Edwards", The Guardian, retrieved 30 October 2012  ^ a b c "Cries that won't go away" The Times (London); 21 April 1995; Caitlin Moran; p. 1 ^ "Pop paper responds to fans' cry of grief;Melody Maker" The Times (London); 22 March 1995; Dalya Alberge; p. 1 ^ a b "Is this music to die for? When the postbag at Melody Maker
Melody Maker
is opened these days, out pours a bleak litany of angst and agony. Andrew Smith looks at the dangerous, unprecedented trend of young pop music fans identifying closely with the torment of their heroes" The Guardian; 31 March 1995; ANDREW SMITH; p. T.002 ^ Moran, Caitlin (17 December 2004). "Grow up, for Pete's sake". The Times. Retrieved 10 August 2010.  ^ " Rob Jovanovic - A Version of Reason - Orion Publishing Group". Orion Publishing Group. Retrieved 2015-11-05.  ^ "January+2010+032.jpg (image)". 1.bp.blogspot.com. Retrieved 3 April 2010.  ^ Daniel Lukes (14 May 2017). "Archives Of Pain". 3am Magazine. Retrieved 9 September 2017.  ^ a b Rhian E. Jones; Daniel Lukes; Larissa Wodtke (16 February 2017). Triptych: An examination of the Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
Holy Bible. Watkins Media. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-910924-89-1. 


Price, Simon (1999). Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers) (first ed.). Virgin Publishing. ISBN 0-7535-0139-2. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Richey James Edwards

The Last of Richey Edwards? Archives of Pain Richey Edwards
Richey Edwards
fan site

v t e

Manic Street Preachers

James Dean Bradfield Sean Moore Nicky Wire

Miles Woodward Richey Edwards

Studio albums

Generation Terrorists Gold Against the Soul The Holy Bible Everything Must Go This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours Know Your Enemy Lifeblood Send Away the Tigers Journal for Plague Lovers Postcards from a Young Man Rewind the Film Futurology Resistance Is Futile

Compilation albums

Forever Delayed Lipstick Traces National Treasures – The Complete Singles


New Art Riot
New Art Riot
E.P. Life Becoming a Landslide
Life Becoming a Landslide
E.P. God Save The Manics


"Suicide Alley" "Motown Junk" " You Love Us
You Love Us
(Heavenly Version)" "Stay Beautiful" "Love's Sweet Exile"/"Repeat" "You Love Us" "Slash 'n' Burn" "Motorcycle Emptiness" "Theme from M.A.S.H. (Suicide Is Painless)" "Little Baby Nothing" "From Despair to Where" "La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)" "Roses in the Hospital" "Faster" "Revol" "She Is Suffering" "A Design for Life" "Everything Must Go" "Kevin Carter" "Further Away" "Australia" "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" "The Everlasting" "You Stole the Sun from My Heart" "Tsunami" "The Masses Against the Classes" "Found That Soul" "So Why So Sad" "Ocean Spray" "Let Robeson Sing" "There by the Grace of God" "The Love of Richard
Nixon" "Empty Souls" "Underdogs" "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough" "Indian Summer" "(It's Not War) Just the End of Love" "Some Kind of Nothingness" "Postcards from a Young Man" "This Is the Day" "Show Me the Wonder" "Anthem for a Lost Cause" "Walk Me to the Bridge" "Futurology" "Together Stronger (C'mon Wales)" "International Blue" "Distant Colours" "Dylan & Caitlin"

Other songs

"4st 7lb" "Peeled Apples"

Video albums

Everything Live Leaving the 20th Century Louder Than War Forever Delayed

Related articles

Discography Music of Cardiff Culture, Alienation, Boredom and Despair

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 162754033 LCCN: no2009148886 ISNI: 0000 0001 1499 6230 GND: 139442316 MusicBrainz: 2b249e2f-e65e-4e30