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Richey Edwards

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Richey Edwards
Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns

On 1st February 1995, Richey Edwards, guitarist with the Manic Street Preachers, vanished, leaving no clues to his whereabouts. He left the Embassy Hotel in London at 7am, leaving behind his packed suitcase. His car was found on the Severn Bridge outside Bristol, England 16 days later. Edwards has never been found, despite constant searching, and in November 2008 he was declared officially dead.

This unsolved mystery of what did happen to Richey has never been resolved; many theories abound but the facts are that no one knows what did happen to the guitarist on the first of February in ’95.

Edwards (often referred to as ‘James’ during his years with the Manics) grew up in Blackwood, Caerphilly in Wales, where he attended Oakdale Comprehensive School. From 1986 to 1989, he attended the University of Wales in Swansea and graduated with a 2:1 degree in political history. Edwards was initially a driver and roadie for the Welsh group but he soon became accepted as the band’s main spokesman and fourth member.

On 15 May 1991, after a gig at the Norwich Arts Centre in England, Edwards made headlines following an argument with NME journalist Steve Lamacq, who had questioned the Manics’ authenticity and values. He questioned Edwards’ seriousness and commitment towards his art, and Edwards responded by carving the words “4 Real” into his forearm with a razor blade. The injury required 18 stitches. It later transpired that Ritch had a history of self-harming, mainly through stubbing cigarettes on his body and occasionally cutting himself.

Edwards also suffered severe bouts of depression in his adult life and had been 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.” After the release of the band’s third album The Holy Bible, he checked himself into the Priory psychiatric hospital, forcing the band to appear as a three-piece at two major UK festivals, the Reading Festival and T in the Park in Scotland.

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 prompted by Edwards’ destruction of his guitar towards the end of set-closer “You Love Us.”

On 1 February 1995, James and Manics singer James Dean Bradfield were due to fly to the US on a promotional tour. As the mystery unfolded, events running up to this day were noted: In the two weeks before his disappearance, Edwards withdrew £200 a day from his bank account, which totalled £2800 by the day of the scheduled flight.

He checked out of the Embassy Hotel in Bayswater Road, London at seven in the morning, and then drove to his apartment in Cardiff, Wales. In the two weeks that followed, he was apparently spotted in a passport office and a bus station, both in Newport, Wales. On February 7, a taxi driver from Newport supposedly picked up Edwards from the King’s Hotel and drove him around the valleys, including Blackwood (Edwards’ home as a child). The passenger got off at the Severn View service station.

On February 14, Edwards’ Vauxhall Cavalier received a parking ticket at the Severn View service station and on February 17, the vehicle was reported as abandoned. Police discovered the battery to be flat, with evidence that the car had been lived in. Due to the service station’s proximity to the Severn Bridge (which has been a renowned suicide location in the past, sadly), it is widely believed that he took his own life by jumping from the bridge.

Finally, in November 2008 Richey’s parents were granted a court order for him to be declared presumed dead, despite alleged sightings all over the world many believed to be Edwards — whose car was found near the Severn Bridge, where he was thought to have taken his own life at the age of 27.

Important Dates In The Life Of The Manic Street Preachers:

On this day in music
29 Mar 2022
A televised concert fundraising money for the humanitarian appeal in Ukraine raised more than £15 million. Held at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham the show featured Ukrainian Eurovision winner Jamala, Manic Street Preachers, Ed Sheeran, Cabello and Nile Rodgers and Chic.
2 Jan 2021
Record producer Steve Brown died age 65. He produced many acts including U2, The Pogues, Big Country, Elton John, The Cult, Manic Street Preachers and Simple Minds as well as producing Wham!’s debut album Fantastic.
19 Jul 2019
Crowds dancing at a festival triggered minor earthquakes. The biggest tremors were recorded during a headline set by indie band Two Door Cinema Club at Tramlines Festival in Sheffield, England. Manic Street Preachers, Lewis Capaldi and Nile Rogers and Chic were also on the bill.
26 Nov 2008
The parents of missing Manic Street Preachers guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards were granted a court order for him to be declared presumed dead, after he disappeared nearly 14 years ago. Despite alleged sightings all over the world many believed to be Edwards, whose car was found near the Severn Bridge, where he was thought to have taken his own life at the age of 27.
28 Feb 2008
Arctic Monkeys won three prizes, including best British band at this year's NME Awards held at the O2 in London. The band's single 'Fluorescent Adolescent' won them best track and they won best video for 'Teddy Picker'. Best album went to Klaxons for Myths of the Near Future while Kate Nash won best solo artist. Muse were presented with the best live band award and US group The Killers took best international act. The Manic Street Preachers, who performed at the ceremony, were awarded the NME's Godlike Genius honour and Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty was voted hero of the year. Britney Spears's Blackout was voted worst album and The Hoosiers were named worst band.
14 Feb 2005
Kerrang! magazine announced the results of its readers’ poll for the best British rock albums ever. The Top 10 were: No.1, Black Sabbath’s Black Sabbath; No.2, Iron Maiden’s Number Of The Beast. Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollock's, Here's The Sex Pistols; No. 4, Led Zeppelin IV; No.5, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid; No.6, Muse’s Absolution; No.7, The Clash's London Calling; No.8, Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack; No.9, Iron Maiden’s Iron Maiden and No.10, Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible.
22 Jan 2005
One of the biggest charity concerts since Live Aid raised £1.25 million ($2 million) for victims of the tsunami disaster in Asia. The concert held at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff featured Eric Clapton, Manic Street Preachers, Keane, Charlotte Church, Snow Patrol, Embrace, Feeder, Craig David and Liberty X, who appeared before 60,000 fans at the sold-out concert.
5 Jul 2003
The Daily Star ran a front-page story claiming that the body of Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards had been found. Fishermen in an angling contest discovered bones half buried in mud on the riverbank near Avonmouth. Edwards disappeared in Feb 1995, his car was found at a service station at the Seven Bridge a well-known suicide spot.
25 Mar 2002
The seven-year mystery of missing Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards took a grisly twist when human feet were found near where he vanished in 1995.
29 Oct 2001
Winners at this years 'Q' awards included, Ash, best single for 'Burn Baby Burn', Starsailor won best new act, Travis won best album for 'The Invisible Band', Manic Street Preachers won best live act and John Lydon won the Inspiration award.
16 Jul 2000
The Corrs presented a petition to the European Commission demanding legislation to end piracy on the Internet. The Manic Street Preachers and The Spice Girls also added their names to the petition.
31 Dec 1999
The Manic Street Preachers performed to 57,000 fans at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. The Guinness Book of Records confirmed that the concert set a new record as the biggest indoor show ever staged in Europe, tickets £30.
29 Sep 1999
The Manic Street Preachers were given a bill for £28.000 after smashing up equipment during their show at Scotland's T In The Park festival.
16 Feb 1999
Robbie Williams won three awards at this year's Brit's. The singer won Best British solo artist, Best Single for 'Angels' and Best Video for 'Millennium.' Manic Street Preachers won Best British Group, Natalie Imbruglia won Best International Female artist and Best Newcomer, Best International Group went to The Corrs.
27 Sep 1998
The Manic Street Preachers scored their first UK No.1 album with their fifth album 'This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours'.
5 Sep 1998
Manic Street Preachers scored their first UK No.1 single with 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next'. The group's 19th hit and the first Welsh act to have a No.1 single since Shakin' Stevens in 1985. The song is in the Guinness World Records as the longest title for a No.1 single without brackets.
29 May 1997
The Manic Street Preachers won the best song award for 'A Design For Life' at the 42nd Ivor Novello awards. Other winners included The Spice Girls for Hit of the year with 'Wannabe', Elvis Costello for Outstanding contribution to music, George Michael won Songwriter Of The Year and Most Performed work for 'Fastlove.'
24 Feb 1997
The Spice Girls won best single with 'Wannabe' at this year's Brit Awards held in London. Other winners included, Best Group for Manic Street Preachers, Best Dance Act went to The Prodigy, George Michael won Best Male, Best Female went to Gabrielle, Best Newcomer was won by Kula Shaker, International Male was Beck, International Female Sheryl Crow and Best International Group was The Fugees.
1 Feb 1995
Richey Edwards guitarist with the Manic Street Preachers vanished leaving no clues to his whereabouts. He left The Embassy Hotel in London at 7am, leaving behind his packed suitcase. His car was found on the Severn Bridge outside Bristol, England sixteen days later. Edwards has never been found, despite constant searching, and in November 2008 he was declared officially dead.
19 Dec 1994
The Manic Street Preachers played the first of three nights at The Astoria, London, the last shows Richey Edwards made with the band before disappearing. Edwards vanished on February 1st 1995 leaving no clues to his whereabouts and has never been seen since.
6 Aug 1994
Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards booked into a private clinic to be treated for nervous exhaustion.
7 Dec 1993
Manic Street Preachers co-manager Phillip Hall died from cancer. Hall was a former Record Mirror journalist and had also worked in PR for Stiff Records. Represented many acts including The Stone Roses, The Pogues, James, The Waterboys, The Beautiful South and Radiohead.
16 Jul 1993
The first of the three day Phoenix festival in England started, featuring Sonic Youth, Faith No More, The Black Crowes, Julian Cope, Pop Will Eat Itself, Radiohead, Living Colour, Manic Street Preachers, Pulp, tickets £49.
30 Aug 1992
Appearing at this year's Reading Festival, England, Suede, Ride, Pavement, Public Enemy, Manic Street Preachers (bassist Nicky Wire smashed his guitar in two and hurled it into the crowd, hitting a security guard who needed 16 stitches). This was one of the most famous in the festival's history. Nirvana played what was to become their last UK concert, and one of their most famous. Kurt Cobain took to the stage in a wheelchair pushed by music journalist Everett True, parodying speculations about his mental health.
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