Motorcycle Emptiness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Motorcycle Emptiness"
Motorcycle Emptiness.jpg
Single by Manic Street Preachers
from the album Generation Terrorists
Released 1 June 1992
Format CD, vinyl (7", 12"), cassette
Recorded October 1991
Length 5:06 (edit)
3:35 (short edit)
6:09 (album version)
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire, Sean Moore, Richey Edwards
Producer(s) Steve Brown
Manic Street Preachers singles chronology
"Slash 'n' Burn"
"Motorcycle Emptiness"
"Theme from M.A.S.H. (Suicide Is Painless)"
"Slash 'n' Burn"
"Motorcycle Emptiness"
"Theme from M.A.S.H. (Suicide Is Painless)"

"Motorcycle Emptiness" (About this sound sample ) is a single by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 1 June 1992, through Columbia Records. It was the fifth single to be released from their debut album, Generation Terrorists.


The track is slower paced than most others on the album. Its lyrics are inspired by S.E. Hinton's book Rumble Fish, about biker gang culture. The lyrics have been interpreted by the band as an attack on the hollowness of the consumer lifestyle offered by capitalism, describing how society expects young people to conform.

The song was derived from the early Manic Street Preachers songs "Go, Buzz Baby, Go" (with which it shares the chord structure and the phrase "Motorcycle Emptiness" late in the song over the verse chords) and "Behave Yourself Baby", a rough demo with a similar structure, that has the lines "All we want from you is the skin you live within", similar to "All we want from you are the kicks you've given us" in this song.

Some of the lyrics are taken from the poem "Neon Loneliness" (the first line of the chorus, "Under neon loneliness", is a direct lift) by Welsh poet Patrick Jones, the brother of Manics bass guitarist and lyricist Nicky Wire. "Motorcycle Emptiness" was also included on Forever Delayed, the Manics' greatest hits album, in October 2002, and released as a reissued single from the compilation in February 2003.


"Motorcycle Emptiness" was released on 1 June 1992 by record label Columbia. The song reached number 17 in the UK Singles Chart on 13 June 1992. It remained there for another week and spent a total of eight weeks in the top 75, two weeks longer than any other Generation Terrorists single, and a record not surpassed by the Manics until 1996's "A Design for Life".[5]

In 2003, a re-issue CD containing the title track, "4 Ever Delayed" and "Little Baby Nothing (Acoustic)" was released in Europe as promotion for the band's Forever Delayed greatest hits compilation.

Music video[edit]

The video was filmed during a promotional visit to Japan[6] in various locations, including the Shibuya Crossing and Cosmo Clock 21. It features the whole band, but with Bradfield appearing most, standing stationary and performing the song as crowds surge around him. The band appear in non-sequential shots, exploring the sites of Japan. At one point, Edwards appears trying to gain the attention of a tortoise.


The song was remixed by Apollo-440 under their alternative name Stealth Sonic Orchestra as a piece of classical-style music. This remix was available as a track on the single "Australia" (taken from their seminal 1996 album Everything Must Go), and was also used by T-Mobile for an advertising campaign in 2003.


In 2006, Q magazine readers voted the song as the 88th best song ever.[7]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Motorcycle Emptiness" 5:06
2. "Bored Out of My Mind" 2:57
3. "Crucifix Kiss" (live) 3:10
4. "Under My Wheels" (live) 3:01


Chart (1992) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[8] 35
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[9] 21
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 35
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[11] 17


External links[edit]