The Masses Against the Classes

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"The Masses Against the Classes"
Single by Manic Street Preachers
Released January 10, 2000
Format CD, Vinyl record (10")
Recorded Rockfield Studios, Wales and Rak Studios, London; Autumn 1999
Genre Alternative rock, punk rock
Length 3:23
Label Epic
Producer(s) Dave Eringa
Manic Street Preachers singles chronology
"The Masses Against the Classes"
"Found That Soul"

"The Masses Against the Classes" is a song by Manic Street Preachers, released as a limited-edition single in January 2000. It was a stand-alone single, not featured on any studio album, (although it appeared as a bonus track on international releases) and was deleted (removed from wholesale supply) on the day of release.

The single sold 76,000 copies in its first week and reached number one in the UK Singles Chart on 16 January 2000,[1] being the first new number one of the 21st Century and their second number-one single (the first was "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"), and knocked Westlife's "I Have a Dream" / "Seasons in the Sun" off the top spot after four weeks.[1]

"The Masses Against the Classes" was released both as a CD single and numbered 10"; each version also featured the songs "Close My Eyes" and a cover of Chuck Berry’s "Rock and Roll Music". It was included on the Manic Street Preachers' Greatest Hits album, Forever Delayed. A live version of the song has also appeared as a B-side on "Found That Soul".

The title of the song is derived from a quotation from the nineteenth century British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone ("All the world over, I will back the masses against the classes").[2] The single begins with a Noam Chomsky quotation and ends with a quotation from Albert Camus. The record sleeve features the Cuban flag albeit without the star, a mark of the band's socialist political ideology. They were to play in Havana in February 2001 to a sold-out Karl Marx theatre with Fidel Castro in the audience, whom they met when he arrived just thirty minutes before they were due to play.

"The Masses Against the Classes" is considered a return to the alternative rock style of music produced by the band in the early to mid-1990s, while the lyrics reply to criticism of the This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours album, which had featured a softer, more pop-oriented sound. The song was debuted on the festival circuit late in the summer of 1999.

Track listing[edit]

CD / 10"[edit]

  1. "The Masses Against the Classes" - 3:23
  2. "Close My Eyes" - 4:27
  3. "Rock And Roll Music" (Chuck Berry cover) - 2:53

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2000) Peak
UK Singles Chart 1
The Official Finnish Charts 4
Irish Singles Chart 7
Norwegian Singles Chart 12

UK Chart Performance[edit]

UK Top 40
Week 01 02 03 04


  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 642. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Martin Clarke, Manic Street Preachers: Sweet Venom (Plexus, 2009), p. 181.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"I Have a Dream" / "Seasons in the Sun" by Westlife
UK number one single
22 January 2000
(one week)
Succeeded by
"Born to Make You Happy" by Britney Spears