Prologue To History – Manic Street Preachers

If ever a band (another band) deserved a theme week on SteveForTheDeaf and never got a fair shake of the stick, it was these guys. The Manic Street Preachers are so many things to so many people (including me) that I could have gone tangental on albums tracks that should have been singles, singles that should have been hits, cover versions and B-sides. They’ve got as awesome a back story as they’ve got a back catalogue. They still tour and release high quality rock and roll to this day and they look like they’ve crowned their career off at least 3 times before they just push on through to a new phase.

So While I spent a fortnight on Foo Fighters and never went near Black Sabbath on the old Theme Weeks. It’s MSP that I feel missed out. They’ve been with us since the dawn of the 1990’s. This was when they were skinny pretty pale boys in faux fur jackets with guyliner and some ideas about what constituted a proper punk pop sensation. They’ve grown into a band who can fill a stadium if they want to but fly lower than their star in the night sky to keep things interesting.

Prologue to History is a relatively early doors B-Side (Insert your own Light My Fire joke here if you must). A song which showcased a dimension to the band hinted at on tracks like Little Baby Nothing on the debut album. It ended up being swept onto the bands first compilation titled Lipstick Traces.

Lipstick Traces was a double CD full of all the B-Sides up to the end of the 20th century then named after a book by Greil Marcus about Dadaism and Punk. That’s a very Manic Street Preachers thing to do.

The bands first number one single, If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next was considered a bit of a watershed by the old school fans. A turning point where the band left behind some of their bluster and verve in favour of a smoothed off (some said toothless) AOR sound.

That may have been the case musically, but take into account the song title, the lyrical content, the white washed image looking like they’d gone over into David Lean’s Heaven Can Wait afterlife? Well, you didn’t need to be a philosophy major to get the joke.

Prologue was the number 1 records B-Side. It has been pretty much my favourite MSP song since it’s release. And I’ve been with them since Motown Junk.

So in some other time line if I had decided to give you the SteveForTheDeaf Alternative History Of Manic Street Preachers Week we would have opened with Prologue To History. It’s one of the great opening songs of all time.

Then I’d have probably gone for an early anthem. Maybe the previously mentioned Little Baby Nothing with it’s special guest vocals from popular 80’s teen actress Tracii Lords.

From there I might have plumbed for something nice and shiny from the second record like La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) before lunging straight past the buzzsaw bleach and bulimia of Revol or PCP from The Holy Bible

And into the Britpop break through albums’ darkest track Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky

We could jump forward again past the This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours era (we kinda just covered it) to the ‘return to the punk roots’ of stand alone single The Masses Against The Classes (resplendent with a controversial Cuban flag on it’s sleeve and released just in time for the band to play at Castro’s request)

Famous as they are for their political gestures (Let Robeson Sing) they’re also renowned for a timely cover version. Back in 2007 their Rhianna cover was boshed out for a laugh and ended up becoming an indie club staple.

Of their more recent output, since deciding they might be Depeche Mode in 2004 with Lifeblood (they weren’t) they’ve had Send Away The Tigers, Journal For Plague Lovers, Postcards From A Young Man, Rewind The Film, Futurology and last years’ Resistance Is Futile.

That’s quite the discography for a band who are meant to be taking it easy. So let’s finish up with something from that final album. Here’s People Give In from 2018

If there had been a theme week some of these songs might have featured 😉

4 thoughts on “Prologue To History – Manic Street Preachers

  1. Nice theme week… I mean… post. I love the Manics’ covers a lot, thinking Suicide is painless and Raindrops keep falling on my head. So much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for pulling this playlist with commentary together on this group. I listened to them all and looked up the lyrics. Another band I need to listen to. Little Baby Nothing is a powerhouse and commendable political statement. Small black flowers is gut wrenching. The Masses Against the Classes video wouldn’t play so I had to go to youtube to watch it.

    Liked by 1 person

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