Kevin Carter (song)

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"Kevin Carter"
Kevin Carter (single).jpg
Single by Manic Street Preachers
from the album Everything Must Go
Released 30 September 1996
Format CD, cassette
Genre Alternative rock, Britpop
Length 3:25 (Edit)
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire, Sean Moore, Richey Edwards
Manic Street Preachers singles chronology
"Everything Must Go"
"Kevin Carter"

"Kevin Carter" is a song by Manic Street Preachers, released as the third single from their album Everything Must Go in 1996. The song peaked at number 9 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]


The subject of the lyric was the 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, Kevin Carter who was awarded for his photograph of the vulture and the little girl taken in South Sudan.[2]

Photojournalist Kevin Carter, was the first to capture a public execution by 'necklacing' in South Africa in the mid-1980s. He later went on to say "The question that still haunts me is 'would those people have been necklaced, if there was no media coverage?" Pulitzer Prize winner Carter was always troubled by his professional responsibilities vs. moral considerations. Carter committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in Johannesburg at the age of 33. His pickup truck was parked near a small river where he used to play as a child, a note left on the passenger seat read: "The pain of life overrides joy to the point that joy no longer exists."[3]

To Bradfield this song was described as awkward, because he was not sure if he was doing justice to Richey's words, Sean replied: "Why don't you put that down and write something else?", to which Bradfield quickly answered: "But I can use this conflicting energy". It was also Sean's debut at the trumpet.[4]


The song reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart on 12 October 1996, giving them a third straight top-ten hit, remaining in the charts for 8 weeks.[1] The single discography printed in back of the 1998 book Everything - A book about Manic Street Preachers incorrectly lists its UK chart position of number 7, it reached number 9. The song's lyrics were written solely by missing band-member Richey Edwards.[3]

The CD included "Horses Under Starlight", "Sepia" and "First Republic", while the cassette included an acoustic version of "Everything Must Go".[5]

The second of the three other tracks, "Sepia", is a reference to the final scene of the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where the two main characters are shown in freeze frame, which then is colourised to sepia tone.[6]

The lyrics also appear to reflect some of Nicky Wire's raw emotion following the disappearance of his close friend and bandmate. The Butch Cassidy connection is also referenced in their song "Australia" (which is where the characters from the film say they will go next, directly before the 'Sepia' sequence), and the decision to record "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" for the War Child charity compilation The Help Album.[3] This track was replaced by a single release of the track "Further Away" in Japan.

The trumpet instrumental, by Sean Moore, has been used as the theme music to the ITV Wales current affairs programme Wales This Week.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All music written by James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore and Nicky Wire, except where indicated. All lyrics written by Richey James, except where indicated.

CD one
  1. "Kevin Carter" – 3:28
  2. "Horses Under Starlight" – 3:09 (Instrumental)
  3. "Sepia" (music: Bradfield, Moore. lyrics: Wire) – 3:54
  4. "First Republic" (music: Bradfield, Moore. lyrics: Wire) – 3:48
CD two
  1. "Kevin Carter" – 3:26
  2. "Kevin Carter" (Busts Loose) – 7:45 (Remixed by Jon Carter)
  3. "Kevin Carter" (Stealth Sonic Orchestra Remix) – 6:40
  4. "Kevin Carter" (Stealth Sonic Orchestra Soundtrack) – 6:37
  1. "Kevin Carter"
  2. "Everything Must Go" (acoustic version) (music: Bradfield, Moore. lyrics: Wire) Epic 663775 4


Chart (1996) Peak
UK Singles Chart[1] 9

UK Chart Performance[edit]

UK Top 40
Week 01 02 03


  1. ^ a b c "Manic Street Preachers - Official Single Charts". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ Price 1998.
  3. ^ a b c d Power, Martin (17 October 2010). Manic Street Preachers. Omnibus Press. 
  4. ^ Manic Street Preachers (2006). Everything Must Go: Tenth Anniversary Edition. Epic Records. 
  5. ^ "Manic StreetPreachers". 
  6. ^ Heatley 1997.