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Then There Were Three... - Smash Hits, 24th April 1996

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Title: Then There Were Three...
Publication: Smash Hits
Date: Wednesday 24th April 1996

Smash Hits 240496.jpg

It's over a year since The Manic Street Preachers released anything. It's been 13 months since their guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards disappeared without a trace. We've missed them both.

Now the Manics are back -sadly still without Richey -but they are now a trio and back on top form.

Their fab new single A Design For Life, their biggest hit to date, is one of the singles of the year.

Nicky Wire wrote the lyrics to the track, taking over the role previously held by Richey. James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore, as always, wrote the music.

The decision for the band to return without Richey was neither taken easily nor quickly. It was over six months before they returned to the studio, 10 months before they played further big gigs with The Stone Roses and Oasis last Christmas. and now they release their first single - without Richey.

A spokeswoman for the band explained the song was about: "Working-class rage, and anger at the stereotypes of them just being yobs down the pub. Nicky thinks the working class has been responsible for many of the best bands - Oasis for example - the best footballers, and the best sportsmen."

Richey disappeared on February 1. 1995. He was the band's lyricist and their most frequent spokesman.

Last seen leaving The London Embassy Hotel at 7.00 am, he is known to have taken his car and to have visited his house where his passport and credit cards were later found.

For two weeks before his disappearance he reportedly withdrew £200 a day from his account - leading friends and family to believe that his disappearance was planned. His bank accounts and credit cards haven't been used since.

On February 17, Richey's car was discovered at a service station near The Severn Bridge in Wales.

Despite extensive police enquiries and appeals, his whereabouts are still unclear. The Preachers had had 14 top-ten hits and released three albums, selling 300,000 copies.

They've now completed their fourth album. which will be released on May 13. Several tracks on the album feature lyrics written by Ritchie, including Elvis Impersonator.

James Dean Bradfield has been producing and singing backing vocals for indie urchins Northern Uproar.