The Love Of Richard Nixon

Album: Lifeblood (2004)
Charted: 2

Songfacts®:

  • The Manic's primary lyricist and rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards gained early notoriety by cutting the words "4REAL" into his arm with a razor blade. Since that episode and his later disappearance, now presumed dead, the band have been somewhat overshadowed by the events of Richey Edwards' troubled life. This provocatively titled single, is a sympathetic appraisal of someone else whose achievements were eclipsed by one event. "The main thrust of the song," bassist Nicky Wire explained to Repeat Fanzine, "is the idea of being tarnished with a certain part of your life forever. With us, people might think of Richey's disappearance or 4 REAL.

    With Nixon, people will always associate him with Watergate and being a crook, not the fact that he was the first president to go to China to build up relations. Or the way he de-escalated the arms race with the Soviet Union - quite admirable things."

    Wire added concerning his sympathy for the devil: "There's always been a ridiculousness to Manic Street Preachers. Not humour, not funny-ha ha, but a question of 'Do they really mean it?' But there's probably more empathy [with Nixon] than I should admit. Nixon wasn't a good president, but he wasn't George W Bush. He was a brilliant man, and not all Republican presidents have been. I do think he's a fascinating character, particularly in today's climate. He probably ended the Vietnam War. Whatever you think his reasons were - and conspiracy theories abound - he signed off at the end of it."
  • The timing of the single's release, two weeks before George W. Bush's victory at the 2004 US presidential elections, was most likely significant. Many suspected it was a statement by the Manics concerning the reputation of the USA's leadership at the time.
  • The song finishes with a sample of Nixon himself stating "I have never been a quitter." Wire explained to NME October 8, 2011: "We thought that applied to us as a band. I just find him really interesting and kind of like myself."
  • "The Love Of" peaked at #2 on the UK singles chart helped by a marketing ploy that was deliberately designed to encourage multiple purchases. The single came complete with a special offer whereby fans could purchase all three formats (2 track CD, 3 track CD and DVD) for just £5. You don't have to be a maths professor to work out what the effect of this was.

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