On this date in 1995, Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers vanished leaving no clues to his whereabouts. He left The Embassy Hotel in London, England, at 7am, leaving behind his packed suitcase. Edwards & James Dean Bradfield (lead singer and lead guitarist of Manics) were due to fly to the United States on a promotional tour. His car was found on the Severn Bridge—a notorious suicide spot—outside Bristol, 16 days later.
Born in Monmouthshire, Wales, Richard James Edwards was the lyricist, rhythm guitarist, clothes designer of Manics. He was known for his dark, politicised and intellectual songwriting which, combined with enigmatic and eloquent character, has assured him cult status, as well as having been cited by some as a leading lyricist of his generation, leading a movement now known as Cool Cymru.
Edwards was initially a driver and roadie for Manics, but he soon became accepted as the band’s main spokesman & fourth member. Edwards showed little musical talent—his real contribution to the band was in their lyrics and design.
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, Philip Larkin, Yukio Mishima, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Arthur Rimbaud are known to have been among his favourite authors. Edwards’ lyrics have often been a highly poetic nature and at times they reflected his knowledge of political history.
Edwards suffered severe bouts of depression in his adult life. He also self-harmed, mainly through stubbing cigarettes on his body, and cutting himself.
There are many theories relating to Edwards, with many sightings placing him in Goa, India, & on the islands of Fuerteventura & Lanzaronte, Spain. However, none of these has proved conclusive & none has been confirmed by investigators.
Richey Edwards was declared dead in absentia on 23 November 2008. Stay beautiful, Richey!
Text & photos: Wikipedia, NME.
Video: “Stay Beautiful” written by Edwards and included in Manics’ debut album, released in 1991, Generation Terrorists.
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