Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?
|Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?|
|Studio album by Megadeth|
|Recorded||October 1985, February 15 – March 20, 1986 at Music Grinder Studios, Track Records and Rock Steady Studios in Los Angeles; Maddog Studios in Venice, Los Angeles|
|Producer||Dave Mustaine, Randy Burns|
|Singles from Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? is the second studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released in October 1986. The project was originally handled by Combat Records, resulting in the first mix of the album by co-producer Randy Burns. Capitol Records then bought the rights to the album and another producer, Paul Lani, was hired to mix it himself. In 2004 the album was remixed and remastered by Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, with extensive liner notes detailing the album's background. In 2011 the three different versions were reissued as part of the album's 25th anniversary celebration. All of them, besides the 2004 mixes, feature new remastering.
Peace Sells... has been listed as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and is highly regarded as a thrash metal classic. It is the last album to feature Gar Samuelson on drums, and the last until The System Has Failed to feature Chris Poland on lead guitar.
Professional rock critic Steve Huey noted the album's combination of "punkish political awareness with a dark, threatening, typically heavy metal worldview." For instance, the album's cover makes an ironic statement about the Cold War. On the backdrop of a red and orange sky, it shows the UN General Assembly building soon after a nuclear attack. In the foreground is the band's mascot, Vic Rattlehead, who is leaning against a sign reading "For Sale" ("Vic Realtors" appearing on the bottom of the sign on some editions), implying that the United Nations Organization is for sale. The cover and title suggest that while peace is a popular theme, it has become commodified. These themes carry into the title track, with its strong themes of youth disillusionment. Dave Mustaine lifted the title from a Reader's Digest article, which was titled "Peace Would Sell But No One Would Buy It".
"As long as people keep stealing, hurting and mistreating people, there's always going to be something that you can pick up on and say: 'Look, this is wrong.' Granted, we sing about it, but we take a negative approach to what we do sing about. 'Hey the devil is there, but he's a moron. That's why he's buried in dirt.'" (Mustaine, 1987)
The recording of the album was very difficult for the band, as guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson would not show up for hours because of their extreme heroin addictions. Shortly after the band finished the final recordings of the album for Combat Records, they were approached by an A&R person Tim Carr of Capitol Records. After securing the contract, the label hired producer Paul Lani to remix the original mixes done by Randy Burns, the previous producer.
"There was even a time when we were considered black metal! When people heard 'Black Friday' and 'Bad Omen', they thought we were satanic. The worst thing is, like, going to a truck stop in Des Moines, Iowa, and having someone go [imitates southern redneck voice], 'You guys in Megadeth? I heard you are satanic.' They expect us to have dead goats and babies in our buses. You couldn't get any further from the truth!" (Mustaine, 1997)
This is one of the early examples of an album to contain the Parental Advisory label, developed by the Parents Music Resource Center, an organization created to censor music that was deemed "inappropriate." On the 1986 Capitol Records pressing on vinyl record, it says on the back of the sleeve, "Explicit Lyrics — Parental Advisory." 'Hook in Mouth' on their next album would reflect Mustaine's opinion of the PMRC & Censorship.
On July 12, 2011, the band re-released the album in both a 2-Disc reissue and a special 5-Disc + 3-LP box set, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the album. The re-release contains liner notes written by Mustaine and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. The 25th anniversary re-release sold just under 2000 units in its first week of release.
"Wake Up Dead" features lyrics which describe a man who has been cheating on his wife or girlfriend and is sneaking into his house, knowing that if his wife finds out about his other lover, she will kill him.
"I read the Satanic Bible and all that stuff, but it was so adverse to what I wanted, and it hasn't been until the past couple of years that all that stuff's been shaken. I've had to go through a lot of spiritual healing to get clean. I don't think people really realize how intense that stuff is and the marks it can leave on you. There was one time where I did some witchcraft on this guy who had punched me, and it physically affected him, and to this day I regret it. That will never leave my mind - the power of that stuff. I would rather light a candle than curse the darkness. There was a time when I was very comfortable being part of the darkness because I didn't understand the light. But now I like seeing people smile more than watching them wrinkle up their forehead and make the devil's sign. If half these kids only knew that the way they make the devil's sign really means 'I love you' in sign language anyway." (Mustaine, 1995)
Ellefson has stated that during the tour prior to recording the Peace Sells... but Who's Buying album that the band "could tell then that the song "Peace Sells.." was a going to be a hit".
"I remember the day it was written. Dave and I were picking up Gar on our way to rehearsal... you remember that old van we used to have? Anyway, Dave asked me, 'What do you think about 'Peace Sells...' for a song idea?' We then went to our rehearsal studio and he wrote the chorus, we rehearsed it a couple of times and - bam! Within a couple hours the song was pretty much done... It was one of those magical moments." (Ellefson, 1998)
The video for the title track became an MTV mainstay and the opening bass guitar lines could be heard on MTV News broadcasts. However, Mustaine has stated that they received no royalties because the song is cut a second before MTV would have to pay them for its use.
"Devils Island" expresses the thoughts of a prisoner about to be executed in the notorious former French penal colony on Devil's Island. In the song, the prisoner's life is spared by God right before he is about to be killed, but he is condemned to spend the rest of his life on Devil's Island.
Lyrically, Mustaine has described "Black Friday" as being about "a homicidal madman who goes on a killing spree." The song has also been described as being inspired by Dijon Carruthers, who was briefly the band's drummer prior to the hiring of Gar Samuelson.
"[Dijon] was a very talented, but strange person. He used to hang out with an even stranger guy that was definitely into the occult; this guy was fully wacked! Dijon's friend seemed to know a lot of the occult, he wrote a lot of strange things and symbols down on paper. Although Dijon did get credit for inspiring those two songs "Bad Omen" and "Black Friday", that was the extent of it." (Mustaine, 2001)
"I Ain't Superstitious" was written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Howlin' Wolf in 1961. The most notable cover version was recorded by Jeff Beck in 1967, which was released on his album Truth.
In 2003, Capitol Records re-released the album on DVD-Audio, with the original tracklist, in 96k/24-bit resolution for both surround and stereo mixes, and music videos for "Wake Up Dead" and "Peace Sells".
The 25th Anniversary edition box set features five discs. Discs 1–3 all feature the original album, with disc 1 having the original mix, disc 2 featuring the 2004 remixes, and disc 3 featuring the Randy Burns mixes (several examples of which appear as bonus tracks on the album's 2004 release). Disc 4 features the same 1987 show available on the 2-disc set. Disc five contains both the original album, and the above listed 1987 show in hi-resolution audio. The 25th anniversary 2 CD edition features the original album on disc one and a previously unreleased 1987 concert on disc two.
In popular culture
The song "Peace Sells" ranked #11 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs; the bassline at its beginning was used for years as the theme for MTV News. It also appeared as part of the soundtrack in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and is featured in the music video game Rock Band 2. The rest of the album was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series on September 16, 2008. The song also appears on the setlist of EA Sports' NHL10, and the soundtrack to True Crime: Streets of LA.
|1.||"Wake Up Dead"||3:40|
|5.||"Good Mourning/Black Friday"||6:41|
|7.||"I Ain't Superstitious"||2:46|
|8.||"My Last Words"||4:57|
|2004 remixed/remastered edition bonus tracks|
|9.||"Wake Up Dead" (Randy Burns mix)||3:40|
|10.||"The Conjuring" (Randy Burns mix)||5:01|
|11.||"Peace Sells" (Randy Burns mix)||4:00|
|12.||"Good Mourning/Black Friday" (Randy Burns mix)||6:39|
|25th Anniversary 2-CD reissue: Disc two|
|2.||"Wake Up Dead"||3:38|
|6.||"Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good"||3:14|
|7.||"Looking Down the Cross"||4:29|
|8.||"My Last Words"||4:42|
|10.||"These Boots Were Made for Walkin'"||4:07|
|12.||"Last Rites/Loved to Deth"||5:19|
Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.
|Japanese Albums Chart||182|
|US Billboard 200||76|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? liner notes (2004 rerelease). Capitol Records. 2004. pp. 4–12.
- "メガデス-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
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- "Canadian album certifications – Megadeth – Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?". Music Canada.
- "British album certifications – Megadeth – Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
- "American album certifications – Megadeth – Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- Mustaine, Dave (2010). Mustaine: A Life in Metal. New York, New York, USA: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-732410-3.