Lunatic Fringe (song)

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"Lunatic Fringe"
Lunatic Fringe single.jpg
Single by Red Rider
from the album As Far as Siam
Released 1981
Format 7"
Genre Rock
Length 4:23
Label Capitol
Songwriter(s) Tom Cochrane
Producer(s) Richard Landis

"Lunatic Fringe" is a song by the Canadian rock band Red Rider from their 1981 album, As Far as Siam. Guitarist Tom Cochrane wrote the song after becoming concerned about a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the 1970s, and was also inspired after reading a book about Raoul Wallenberg, who rescued Jews from The Holocaust during World War II.[1] Some sources[example needed] have incorrectly cited the murder of John Lennon as the song's primary inspiration; Cochrane had already written the song before Lennon was killed, but recorded the song's first demo the evening of the murder. He has stated that his feelings about the event, and how it echoed the theme of his song, galvanized him to release the song as a single despite advice from the record label that the song wasn't commercial enough.[2]

The song starts with a sinister, low keyboard tone, punctuated by a "double tap" of two medium-pitched short notes. The song then progresses with its main theme, ending dramatically with ambulance sirens and final guitar riffs. Throughout the body of the song is a low, powerful bassline.

The song is a radio favourite, and has received regular airplay in the United States and Canada. It reached No. 11 on the Rock Radio Airplay Chart in Billboard in September 1981,[3] and was awarded a SOCAN Classic award in 2009 by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada for reaching the 100,000-airplay mark on (Canadian) domestic radio.[4]

In 1997, Tom Cochrane re-recorded the track for his album, Songs of a Circling Spirit, which charted on the RPM Top 100 Singles chart for four weeks, peaking at No. 70.[5][6]

The song was such a big influence for the iconic Cincinnati rockradio station WEBN that it began using the slogan "The Lunatic Fringe Of American FM" in 1984. Then decades later, the slogan inspired professional wrestler and Cincinnati native Jon Good, currently[when?] performing in WWE as Dean Ambrose, to begin using "The Lunatic Fringe" as a nickname, based on the character's unstable on-screen personality.

The song is used as walkout music for heavyweight UFC fighter Jared Rosholt and has been previously used for Dan Henderson and Randy Couture.

The song was also used in the movie Vision Quest and is on the movie's soundtrack.

The song was featured in the video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.


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