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Manic Street Preachers' Trip To The Top - The Times, 3rd May 1997

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Title: Manic Street Preachers' Trip To The Top
Publication: The Times
Date: Saturday 3rd May 1997
Writer: Shaun Phillips

The Times 030597.jpg

Following their success at this year's Brit Awards, Manic Street Preachers are playing Manchester's Nynex Arena on May 24. Shaun Phillips tracks their rise to the top.

1966 Richard James Edwards (Richey) born in Blackwood, Wales.

1969 Nicholas Jones (Nicky Wire) and James Dean Bradfield born.

1970 Sean Moore, James's cousin, born.

1977 The year of punk and the Queen's Silver Jubilee. The eldest Manics are at Pontypridd Junior School, with Sean close behind.

1984 Nicky captains the Welsh Under-16s football team and has a trial for Arsenal. Writes his first poetry and, inspired by the Miners' Strike, his first political song with James.

1986 Richey gets straight As at A levels and goes to Swansea University to study Political History. He later graduates with a 2:1.

1987 Nicky goes to Portsmouth Polytechnic but transfers to Swansea three weeks later to study Politics.

1988 James, Sean and Nicky and a guitarist named Flicker form a band called Betty Blue. Richey is the band's driver.

1989 The band record their first, self-financed single, 'Suicide Alley'. They make 300 copies. Richey is promoted to sleeve designer then joins the band, renamed Manic Street Preachers, when Flicker leaves.

1990 Media interest begins and the band get their first Single Of The Week in 'NME'.

1991 The band sign to Sony for £650.000. Brawls between bands and audience break out at gigs at Cambridge University and Readings After Dark Club. At Norwich Arts Centre, Richey shocks everyone by carving '4 Real' into his arm to make a point to a journalist.

1992 The band releases its first album, 'Generation Terrorists'. Richey doesn't play on the album! A tabloid runs a story about the band's addiction to fruit machines.

1993 They release their second album, 'Gold Against The Soul'.

1994 Richey spends three months in a psychiatric clinic.

1995 Richey disappears. His car is recovered near the Severn Bridge.

1996 The band continue with the single 'Design For Life'.

1997 They win two Brit Awards, for Best Group and Best Album (for 'Everything Must Go').