Richey James Edwards wrote lyrics for the first three albums – Generation Terrorists (1992), Gold Against The Soul (1993) and most of the songs on the harrowing The Holy Bible (1994) – before he went missing on the day he and James Dean Bradfield were going to the US for a promotional tour.
On 1 February 1995 Edwards walked out of the Embassy Hotel in West London, climbed into his Vauxhall Cavalier car and was never seen again.
Two weeks later his car was found abandoned close to a well-known suicide spot at the Severn Bridge. No body has ever been found.
Following Edwards’ disappearance, Bradfield, Moore and Wire (pictured at right) persisted with the Manic Street Preachers and went on to gain critical and commercial success, becoming one of Britain’s premier rock bands.
A Design For Life (1996) sold 93,000 copies in its first week of release and entered the UK singles chart at #2. The album Everything Must Go (1996) became a huge commercial and critical success in the UK and Asia.
The Manics won both the Best Group and Best Album awards at the 1997 Brit Awards, before retreating to work on their next album. The single If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (an elegant account of Welsh volunteers in the Spanish Civil War) was released in August 1998 and went straight to the top of the charts.
Wales, its history and its people dominated This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (1998), the first album with no input from Richey. It was Nicky Wire who emerged as the new lyricist who shaped the Manics sound and psyche.
In November 1998 the band won Best Act In The World Today at the Q Awards, an event that brought a slightly embarrassed Nicky Wire face to face with a previously berated but forgiving Michael Stipe from REM. No champagne was spilt.
On 17 February 2001, the Manics became the first western band to play in Cuba. The 5,000-strong crowd at the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana paid just 17 pence each to see the band launch their new album, Know Your Enemy (2001).
James Dean Bradfield