The Man Who

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The Man Who
Four men standing in a snowy field
Studio album by
Released24 May 1999
Travis chronology
Good Feeling
The Man Who
The Invisible Band
Singles from The Man Who
  1. "Writing to Reach You"
    Released: 8 March 1999[1]
  2. "Driftwood"
    Released: 17 May 1999[2]
  3. "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?"
    Released: 2 August 1999[3]
  4. "Turn"
    Released: 8 November 1999[4]

The Man Who is the second studio album by the Scottish rock band Travis. The album was released on 24 May 1999 through Independiente. It saw a change in musical direction for the band, moving away from the rockier tone of their debut Good Feeling (1997). Four singles were released: "Writing to Reach You", "Driftwood", and the top 10 hits "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" and "Turn".

The Man Who initially received mixed reviews and sold slowly. Boosted by the success of "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" and the band's appearance at the 1999 Glastonbury Festival, it eventually spent a total of 9 weeks at number one on the UK Albums Chart and brought the band international recognition, with retrospective reviews being more positive. As of 2018, according to Concord Music, The Man Who has sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide. It was among ten albums nominated for the best British album of the previous 30 years by the Brit Awards in 2010, losing to (What's the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis.[5]

Background and recording[edit]

The Man Who was produced by Nigel Godrich and partially recorded at producer Mike Hedges' chateau in France. The majority of the songs were written before the band's debut album Good Feeling (1997) was released; "Writing to Reach You", "The Fear" and "Luv" were written around 1995–96, while "As You Are", "Turn" and "She's So Strange" date back as far as 1993 and the Glass Onion EP.[6] The band continued recording at studios including RAK Studios and Abbey Road Studios in London.[6] "[Good Feeling] was recorded with no trickery and it became this supposedly 'schizophrenic' record," said bass guitarist Dougie Payne. "[The Man Who] was recorded over six months in six different studios, using more instrumentation, and it's turned into this weirdly cohesive piece of work."[7]

The title The Man Who is derived from the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985) by neurologist Oliver Sacks.[8][9] The album's sleeve notes include a dedication to film director Stanley Kubrick, who had died a few months prior to the album's release.[9]


Professional ratings
Review scores
The Boston Phoenix[11]
Entertainment WeeklyA[12]
The Guardian[13]
Los Angeles Times[14]
Rolling Stone[17]
USA Today[18]
The Village VoiceB−[19]

The initial reception of The Man Who was mixed, with some publications that had previously praised the band's more rock-oriented album Good Feeling criticizing the shift towards melodic and melancholic material.[20][21] Stuart Bailie of NME expressed dissatisfaction with the band's decision to move away from the "rowdy" elements of Good Feeling and create an album filled with ballads. Despite acknowledging some good songs, he suggested that Travis would be better off if they moved away from making sad classic records.[15] Danny Eccleston of Q magazine noted that The Man Who loses its momentum after the first four songs, and the rest of the album is excessively tasteful, missing some of the enchanting qualities found in Good Feeling.[22] However, Steve Lowe of Select found the album to showcase the band's ability to create pretty music, describing them as ordinary guys crafting extraordinary melodies and being good songwriters without trying too hard.[23]

Although The Man Who initially appeared to follow the success of Good Feeling by entering the UK Albums Chart at number five, it faced a decline in the charts due to limited radio play of its singles and its lukewarm critical reception. However, the third single from the album, "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?", gained significant popularity and helped raise awareness of the band.[24] Travis' performance of the song at the 1999 Glastonbury Festival, where rain began to fall as soon as the first line was sung, garnered media attention and increased word-of-mouth interest.[25] Coupled with radio play of "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" and the album's other singles, The Man Who eventually climbed back up the charts and reached the number one spot on the UK Albums Chart. It went on to become the third best-selling album of the year in the UK.[26][27]

By the end of the year, the album's critical standing had improved dramatically.[21] Select named The Man Who the best album of 1999,[28] and the album also placed on the year-end lists of publications such as Melody Maker,[29] Mojo,[30] NME and Q.[31][32] The Man Who won the award for Best Album at the 2000 Brit Awards, with Travis being named Best British Group.[24] At the Ivor Novello Awards, Travis frontman Fran Healy won the awards for Best Songwriter(s) and Best Contemporary Song for "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?"[33] The Man Who received a belated American release in early 2000, and the same year Travis undertook an extensive 237-gig world tour, including headlining the 2000 Glastonbury, T in the Park and V Festivals, and a US tour leg with Oasis.[24]


In 2006, The Man Who was named the 70th greatest album of all time by Q.[34] At the 2010 Brit Awards, it was nominated for the Best Album of the Past 30 Years award, losing to Oasis's (What's the Story) Morning Glory?[35] The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[36] As of May 2016, The Man Who has sold 2,687,500 copies in the UK.[37]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Fran Healy, except where noted

Standard edition
1."Writing to Reach You"3:41
2."The Fear"4:12
3."As You Are"4:14
5."The Last Laugh of the Laughter"4:20
7."Why Does It Always Rain on Me?"4:25
9."She's So Strange"3:15
10."Slide Show" ("Slide Show" ends at 3:34, and followed with hidden track "Blue Flashing Light" which starts at 6:48)10:30
Japanese bonus tracks[38]
11."Be My Baby" 
12."Writing to Reach You" (The Deadly Avenger's Bayou Blues Mix) 
13."Writing to Reach You" (The Deadly Avenger's Instrumental Mix) 
14."Blue Flashing Light" (hidden track)3:43
American bonus tracks[39]
4."Driftwood" (alternative version)3:11
11."Blue Flashing Light" (hidden track)3:43
12."20" (hidden track)3:01
13."Only Molly Knows" (hidden track)2:56
Special 'Live' edition bonus tracks[40]
7."Coming Around"4:05
12."Blue Flashing Light" (hidden track)3:53
13."Driftwood" (Live at the Link Cafe, Glasgow) 
14."Slide Show" (Live at the Link Cafe, Glasgow) 
15."More Than Us" (Live on Italia Radio) 
Limited edition bonus tracks[41]
11."Blue Flashing Light" (hidden track)3:43
12."Writing to Reach You" (video) 
13."Driftwood" (video) 
Numbered Limited Edition Collector's Boxset, CD 2 – The Man Who (B-Sides)
1."Green Behind the Ears"3:40
2."Only Molly Knows"3:22
3."Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah"3:49
4."High as a Kite"2:33
5."Be My Baby"5:16
6."Where is the Love?"4:18
7."Village Man"3:19
8."Driftwood" (Live at The Link Cafe, Glasgow)3:55
9."The Urge for Going"6:05
10."Slide Show" (Live at The Link Cafe, Glasgow)3:14
12."Days of Our Lives"5:44
13."We Are Monkeys"3:07
14."Baby One More Time" (Recorded live on The Mark Radcliffe Show from The Bay Tavern, 06.08.99)3:32
15."Coming Around" 
16."Just the Faces Change" 
17."The Connection" 
18."Rock 'n' (Salad) Roll" 
19."The Weight" (The Band cover, written by Robbie Robertson) 


Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Singles (UK CD album booklet). Travis. Independiente. 2004. ISOM 46CD, 50997 518877 20.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ "New Releases – For Week Starting 17 May, 1999: Singles". Music Week. 15 May 1999. p. 23.
  3. ^ "New Releases – For Week Starting 2 August, 1999: Singles". Music Week. 31 July 1999. p. 27.
  4. ^ "New Releases – For Week Starting 8 November, 1999: Singles". Music Week. 6 November 1999. p. 31.
  5. ^ Wilkinson, Matt (16 February 2010). "Liam Gallagher snubs Noel as Oasis win Brit Album of 30 Years award". NME. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Discography – TRAVIS". Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  7. ^ MIKE HEDGES: Recording Travis 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?' (
  8. ^ NME (15 February 1999). "TOURING TO REACH YOU". NME. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  9. ^ a b Sheppard, David (2010). "Travis The Man Who Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  10. ^ Sendra, Tim. "The Man Who – Travis". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  11. ^ Laban, Linda (24 April 2000). "Travis: The Man Who (Epic)". The Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on 4 March 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  12. ^ Browne, David (7 April 2000). "The Man Who". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  13. ^ Simpson, Dave (21 May 1999). "Travis: The Man Who (Independiente)". The Guardian.
  14. ^ Cromelin, Richard (7 April 2000). "Travis, 'The Man Who,' Epic/Independiente". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  15. ^ a b Bailie, Stuart (18 May 1999). "Travis – The Man Who". NME. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  16. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (4 April 2000). "Travis: The Man Who". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  17. ^ Sheffield, Rob (27 April 2000). "Travis: The Man Who". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  18. ^ Gundersen, Edna (25 April 2000). "Travis, The Man Who". USA Today. Archived from the original on 15 August 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert (28 November 2000). "Turkey Shoot: Where the Action Isn't". The Village Voice. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  20. ^ Loundras, Alexia (21 October 2004). "Travis: When the going gets tough...". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  21. ^ a b Murphy, Peter (26 April 2001). "The rebirth of the uncool". Hot Press. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  22. ^ Eccleston, Danny (July 1999). "Travis: The Man Who". Q (154): 116.
  23. ^ Lowe, Steve (July 1999). "Travis: The Man Who". Select (109): 86.
  24. ^ a b c "Travis: All-weather favourites". BBC News. 21 February 2002. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  25. ^ Hawksley, Rupert (27 January 2016). "Travis, The Lexington, review: 'uplifting, if predictable'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  26. ^ Zaleski, Annie (3 June 2014). "Travis' The Man Who paved the way for Coldplay's sensitivity". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  27. ^ a b "End of Year Album Chart Top 100 – 1999". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  28. ^ "The Men Who Won". Select (115): 74–75. January 2000.
  29. ^ "1999". Melody Maker. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  30. ^ "Best of 1999". Mojo (74). January 2000.
  31. ^ "1999". NME. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  32. ^ "50 Best Albums of 1999". Q (160). January 2000.
  33. ^ Hunter, Nigel (10 June 2000). "Ivor Novello Awards Bestows 1st Fellowship on McCartney". Billboard. p. 90. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  34. ^ "Xfm's 10th Birthday Documentaries: This Sunday – QOTSA – Xfm". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  35. ^ "Vote for Travis at the BRIT Awards". 21 January 2010. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  36. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  37. ^ a b Jones, Alan (6 May 2016). "Official Chart Analysis: Drake's Views tops Official Albums chart". Music Week. Intent Media. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  38. ^ "Travis (90s) The Man Who Japanese Promo CD album (CDLP) (172062)".
  39. ^ "Travis (90s) The Man Who US CD album (CDLP) (155126)".
  40. ^ "Travis (90s) The Man Who – Live Bonus CD UK Promo CD single (CD5 / 5") (347341)".
  41. ^ "Travis (90s) The Man Who Canadian CD album (CDLP) (195056)".
  42. ^ Information from the album booklet.
  43. ^ " – Travis – The Man Who". Hung Medien.
  44. ^ " – Travis – The Man Who" (in German). Hung Medien.
  45. ^ "Travis Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard.
  46. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH.
  47. ^ " – Travis – The Man Who". Hung Medien.
  48. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  49. ^ " – Travis – The Man Who". Hung Medien.
  50. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  51. ^ "Travis Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  52. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Albums for 2000". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  53. ^ "Year in Focus – European Top 100 Albums 2000" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 17, no. 52. 23 December 2000. p. 9. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 19 January 2019 – via American Radio History.
  54. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 2000". Official New Zealand Music Chart. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  55. ^ "End of Year Album Chart Top 100 – 2000". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  56. ^ "The Official UK Albums Chart 2001" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  57. ^ "UK Year-End Charts 2002" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  58. ^ "The Official UK Albums Chart 2003" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  59. ^ Copsey, Rob (4 July 2016). "The UK's 60 official biggest selling albums of all time revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  60. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2000 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  61. ^ "British album certifications – Travis – The Man Who". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type The Man Who in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]