“Manic Street Preachers: A Critical Discography” uses a cataloguing system to help navigate the recordings of the band. The system is largely based on the one devised by the late Ian MacDonald for his book on the records of The Beatles, Revolution in the Head. Each song is given a unique code which consists of up to three parts. Firstly, an upper-case letter indicates the type of official release on which a song first appeared. Secondly, a number indicates the song’s place in the overall sequence. Songs are covered in order of release, not recording; the lower a song’s number, the earlier it was first released. In some cases, a song was only released some years after it was recorded (for example [C156] ‘Judge Yr’self’). In these cases, the time of original recording will be made clear in the text. Lastly, songs which were written by an artist other than Manic Street Preachers have a code ending with a lower-case “c” indicating that they are covers: for example, [O212c] ‘Umbrella’.
What Is Included
- A-sides: These are the songs that were originally released as A-sides on a Manics single. Typically, these songs later appear on the albums they were released to promote; this will be indicated in the release information at the top of the post. A-sides are identified by the letter “A” (e.g. [A122] ‘Found That Soul’).
- B-sides: These are songs released as the B-side to a Manics single. Most of these songs were never made part of another official release; those songs which were selected to appear on the 2003 Lipstick Traces compilation will have that fact indicated. B-sides are indicated by the letter “B” (e.g. [B188] ‘Boxes & Lists’).
- EP tracks: These songs were first released on an extended play or “EP” record. Due to few Manics EPs having been released, they are small in number. They are indicated by the letter “E” (e.g. [E7] ‘Teenage 20/20’).
- Album tracks: These songs were first released on a full-length Manics studio album. They are identified by the letter “T” (e.g. [T49] ‘Nostalgic Pushead’).
- Other releases: Not released on a single, EP or album, these songs found an official release through another channel. Examples include contributions by the band to charity compilations, contributions to CDs given away free with magazines, or tracks released for free via the official Manic Street Preachers website. They are identified by the letter “O” (e.g. [O153c] ‘Out of Time’, a Rolling Stones cover).
What Is Not Included
- Remixes: a very large number of remixes of Manic Street Preachers songs by other artists have been released over the years, mainly as B-sides on singles during the 1990s. Although a selection of these was released on an additional disc of the 2002 Forever Delayed compilation, Manics remixes tend to have a poor reputation (with a few rare exceptions). Most importantly, they are not the work of the band themselves. There is one exception in the case of [T27] ‘Repeat (Stars and Stripes)’ which is a remix of [A18] ‘Repeat (UK)’ by Public Enemy production team The Bomb Squad. This is included in the discography, because it was very specifically included on Generation Terrorists by the band and is arguably a distinct recording in its own right.
- Live recordings: Although the Manics have never released a live album (only live DVDs such as 2001’s Louder Than War), many live recordings have also appeared as B-sides over the years. Sometimes, these are recordings of covers which the band have never recorded in the studio. In any case, including live recordings would add little to the project but would make it balloon rapidly in size. Consequently, they are excluded.
- Early demos: At least nine early demo tracks are known to have been recorded in the 1986-8 period, when Miles “Flicker” Woodward played bass guitar for the band and before Richey Edwards became a member. Although these have circulated for some time on bootlegs, they are not officially released recordings and do not reflect the way the band wanted to be heard.