If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

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"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (album).jpg
Single by Manic Street Preachers
from the album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Released24 August 1998
FormatCD, cassette
RecordedJanuary–May 1998 at Rockfield Studios, Wales
GenreAlternative rock, Britpop
Length4:51
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)Nick Jones, James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore
Producer(s)Dave Eringa
Manic Street Preachers singles chronology
"Australia"
(1996)
"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
(1998)
"The Everlasting"
(1998)

"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" is a song by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 24 August 1998, through Epic Records as the first single from their fifth studio album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. The track sold 156,000 copies in its first week and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in August 1998. Outside the United Kingdom, the song reached number one in Iceland and the top 20 in Norway and Sweden. It became the band's only song to chart in North America,[1][2] peaking at number 19 on the Canadian RPM Alternative 30 chart.

Background[edit]

A propaganda poster reading "Madrid − The 'military' practice of the rebels" at the top, and "If you tolerate this your children will be next" at the bottom; in the middle, a photomontage of a dead young child under a formation of bomber aircraft
The 1930s poster that inspired the song's title

The song's theme is inspired by the Spanish Civil War, and the idealism of Welsh volunteers who joined the left-wing International Brigades fighting for the Spanish Republic against Francisco Franco's military rebels. The song takes its name from a Republican propaganda poster of the time written in English and displaying a photograph of a dead young child killed by the Nationalists, under a sky filled with bomber aircraft, with the song's titular warning written at the bottom.[3]

Various real-life events from the Spanish Civil War provided inspiration for the lyrics. For example, the line "If I can shoot rabbits/then I can shoot fascists" is attributed to a remark made by a man to his brother who signed up with the Republican fighters. This was originally quoted in the book Miners Against Fascism by Hywel Francis. Another work George Orwell's first-hand account, "Homage to Catalonia". "I've walked Las Ramblas/but not with real intent" brings to mind the account in Orwell's book of fighting on the Ramblas, with the various factions seemingly getting nowhere, with the fighting and often a sense of camaraderie overriding the vaunted principles each side was supposed to be fighting for. Nicky Wire has also acknowledged that he was also inspired by a song by The Clash, "Spanish Bombs", which features a similar subject.[4]

Release[edit]

The single was released in August 1998 and it secured the number-one spot on the UK Singles Chart[5] despite competition from "One for Sorrow" by Steps, which was released the same day and topped the midweek chart.[citation needed] It has sold more than 400,000 copies in the UK and has been certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[6] It also became the group's biggest success on the Irish Singles Chart, reaching number three,[7] and is the only Manic Street Preachers track to be released as a single in the United States and Canada.[4] Although it did not make it onto any US Billboard chart, it became a moderate rock hit in Canada, peaking at number 19 on the RPM Alternative 30 chart for two weeks in August 1999.[8]

The single was also a success in Sweden where it reached number 21 and stayed in the chart for a total of 10 weeks.[9] In Germany it reached number 79[10] and in the Netherlands, number 62;[11] in both countries it remained on the charts for nine weeks. In Norway the song only charted for two weeks despite reaching number 19.[12] It also reached number 49 in Australia and number 44 in New Zealand.[13][14]

The recording was issued as two CD singles: the first included versions of "Prologue to History" and "Montana/Autumn/78", and the second featured a remix by Massive Attack and a mix by David Holmes.[4]

In March 2009, it was discovered that the song was used on the website of the British National Party as the soundtrack of an article describing "the violence, hatred, fragmentation and despair" wrought on London by the "great multicultural experiment".[15] The choice of this song was considered ironic by many, considering the song contains lyrics such as "So if I can shoot rabbits/Then I can shoot fascists". Record company Sony successfully had the song removed from the site on the grounds of unauthorised use.[15] The BNP later released a press statement claiming that "the song had mistakenly been automatically streamed on to its site and had nothing to do with the official party", and that "you can interpret the lyrics any way you want".[15]

"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" was nominated in the category of Best British Single at the 1999 BRIT Awards. However, the award was won by Robbie Williams for Angels.[16]

Music video[edit]

The melody of the socialist anthem, The Internationale can be heard at the start and end of the video, played on a musical box. This was a popular song on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War.

Wire praised the single's video, directed by W.I.Z.. It features a typical nuclear family but with their eyes, mouths and ears sealed over with a flesh toned applicant. The family seem to exist in a futuristic show room, fashioned into a highly clinical 'home' of sorts. Nicky Wire described the video as "surreal, mildly disturbing ... with a suffocating feel to it despite its brightness."[17] It was the fourth and final video directed by W.I.Z. for the band.[17]

Legacy[edit]

The song is in the Guinness World Records as the number one single with the longest title without brackets.[4]

The song was voted number 20 on Channel 4's "100 Greatest Number One Singles" list.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All music written by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore; except where indicated. All lyrics written by Nick Jones; except where indicated.

CD one
No.TitleLength
1."If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"4:51
2."Prologue to History"4:44
3."Montana/Autumn/78"3:12
CD two
No.TitleLength
1."If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"4:50
2."If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" (Massive Attack remix)4:54
3."If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" (David Holmes remix/The Class Reunion of the Sunset Marquis mix)10:02
Cassette
No.TitleLength
1."If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"4:50
2."Kevin Carter" (live at Manchester NYNEX, 24 May 1997) (lyrics: Richey James)3:22

Charts and certifications[edit]

Covers[edit]

The song was covered by David Usher on his 2003 album Hallucinations. DJ Eric Chase also recorded a cover of the song in December 2009.[4] Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke occasionally sang portions of the song during live performances of "Everything in Its Right Place" during Radiohead's 2001 tour.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Results: RPM Weekly – Manic Street Preachers". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  3. ^ An original print of this poster can be seen at the Imperial War Museum, London—Item IWM PST 8661—as well as at the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection at the University of California, San Diego.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Power, Martin (17 October 2010). Manic Street Preachers. Omnibus Press.
  5. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b "British single certifications – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  7. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – If You Tolerate This Your Children......". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 8368." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". Singles Top 100.
  10. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  12. ^ a b "Norwegiancharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". VG-lista.
  13. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  14. ^ a b "Charts.nz – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". Top 40 Singles.
  15. ^ a b c Jones, Sam (28 March 2009). "Manics' Tribute to International Brigades Crops Up on BNP Website". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  16. ^ "1999". brits.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  17. ^ a b Andy Johnson (10 May 2013). "[A100] 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next'". Manic Street Preachers: A Critical Discography. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Rocklist.net...Channel 4/HMV Best Music of This Millennium". rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  20. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (24.9–1.10. 1998)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 25 September 1998. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Best Sellers of 1998 – Singles Top 100". Music Week. 16 January 1999. p. 7.

External links[edit]